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TMCNet:  Celebrating 10 Years of Resilience

[December 31, 2013]

Celebrating 10 Years of Resilience

(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) For Phase3 Telecom, there is every reason to end the year in grand style, if only for being the only neutral existing National Long Distance Operator in the country these past years. The memories of the 10th anniversary, which dovetailed into the Gala Night and End of year party will remain etched in the memories of the staff, stakeholders and those who graced the occasion for a long time to come. Within a span of 10 operative years, it has won the International Arch of Europe Award, Telecom Infrastructure Award and the best Broadband Education Company Award. This is no mean feat, as it has also succeeded in deploying over 5000km of optic fibre transmission with several points of presence with last mile connectivity to her fibre network across the country.


For a wholly indigenous IT company, Phase3 Telecom has threaded where other domestic IT players dread, being the only neutral National Long Distance Operator (NLDO) in the country. Phase3 therefore got more than it bargained for recently as they say success has many fathers: The Benue Hall on the first floor of the Transcorp Hilton 5 star hotel, Abuja, got filled up with who is who in the country's telecommunication landscape and beyond. Attendees though not exhaustive included, representatives from the Office of the Vice President, Arc. Namadi Sambo, the Minister of Communications and Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Tunji Olaopa, the former Minister of Communications, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, the Executive Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, represented by Executive Commissioner, Technical Standards, Mr. Ubale Maska, former EVC, NCC, Mr. Ernest Ndukwe, Mr. Ricky Terfa, SAN, Acting CEO Nigeria Minting, Security and Printing Company, Alhaji Ahmed Bamali and Mr. Temi Ogunbambi, representing Etisalat, MD, Startimes, Mr. Cheng and a host of distinguished personalities from across the country.

Before treating the crowd to an appetizing varieties of sumptuous foods and drinks, a short prayer was conducted and then the carol rendition of: Oh Come All Ye Faithful... the creatively wonderful voices blended with the background instrumentals ecstatically threw all into the unique Phase3 Christmas get together. It was indeed a night to remember! THISDAY's duo of Dele Ogbodo won the numero uno raffle draw prize of LG television while Sunny Aghaeze carted away bouquets of assorted items.

Brilliant, smart and good looking, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Mr. Stanley Jegede, walked briskly to the podium to tell the story of a company that has through innovation, hard work and determination survived the murky waters of the IT industry. There is no denying the fact that Jegede personifies the cliché: "Whatever a man conceives and believse that he will achieve." Even though there are more heights to conquer for the CEO, the attainment of 10 years of doing business for a company that started from his study and then to a modest building in Wuse 2 was indeed glamorous and a reason to give thanks.

Beaming with smiles, he said: "I can remember very vividly how my lovely wife, Mosunmola and I spent considerable amount of time deciding on the ideal name that suits the vision. It feels like a lifetime considering what we have through in 10 years and the great deal of strides taken and changes made since then." He admitted that the beginning was modest, but with big ambitions.

Why did the young man venture into the IT terrain, THISDAY sorted him out as guests were been treated to food and cultural renditions in the various Nigerian languages. Recollecting how the seed was sowed, he said: "We started out as pioneer providers of wholesale transmission services due to the gaps we identified in the market. The objective was straight forward, to add value to a sector that was going through the process of liberalization and the vision was clear. Transmission was wholly under the control of government-owned enterprises and had no basic template to adopt as it was embedded in other services." Johnson could not hide her feelings and assessment when she was given the microphone for a remark. Excited about the success of an indigenous long haul IT firm, she said: "It is important to celebrate, even if it is only one year, this is a remarkable achievement in celebrating 10 years of the success of a business. I'm deeply impressed by Phase3 Telecom, because of what we are trying to do in the telecommunications industry, one of the things that I realized since I took over this portfolio was the fact that despite that the industry was growing at about 30 percent year on year, we didn't have enough local Nigerian domestic companies participating in this growth and this success.

"And of course Phase3 Telecom has been a shining light and a company that I'm always proud to think about when it comes to domestic ICT industry. I think that you have done a tremendous amount of work, I congratulate you on what you have done particularly your innovation on fibre optic over PHCN Power line. Now as you celebrate 10 years of achievement, I know that this is just the beginning for Phase3, I hope I would come back to celebrate with you on 20th anniversary." Also joining in celebrating the strides of the firm, Ndukwe, the man who midwifed the country's revolution in the telecommunication landscape said: "I must say that I was there at the birth of Phase3. It is being a pleasure to watch the company grow. Each time I went up and came back again the company has grown a bit more. Today it has moved from a mustard seed to a big oak and a wonderful telecommunication organisation that is a force to be reckoned with in Nigeria's telecom space and so I think it is befitting for the company to mark its 10th anniversary this year and we are will continue to wish the company well. I will also be there to give advice and support any other thing I can do to whatever I'm able to do to support the company." Impressed with the company's deployment of optic fibre beyond the shores of Nigeria, he added: "I'm happy to hear about expanding the business to cover as many parts of the country as possible." Phase3, Ndukwe noted, has a unique advantage in that powerlines run through the hinterlands of the country. "And what that suggests is that it is possible using the fibre, even you have to tee-off in certain places, but may be as you install new fibre powerlines, may be you take into cognizance some rural communities in the far flung areas of the country which your network can serve perhaps better than any other network in the country," he added.

Seeing a brighter future for the company, he quipped: "I think if you continue in that direction I 'm sure the company will be the company to beat in the Nigerian telecommunications space as far as telecommunication infrastructure is concerned." He did not end without a word on corporate governance: "This is key for any company to survive and to be sustained over time, which means you must watch your cost, you must watch the development of staff to make sure that they are topnotch, you must employ the right people which you have done in the past and you spend more effort in making sure that you look at the market and see where the trend is going and if you have to adjust your strategies some of the time in order to meet market demands you must have to do that. Once you do those things, I'm sure we will also be here in another ten years to celebrate your successes." he said.

Acknowledging the company as partners in progress, Director, Network Engineering, Etisalat, Mr. Temi Ogunbambi attributed part of the company's success story to Phase3 as a reliable ally in backbone deployment. He said: "They are our key partners in helping us to achieve our goals and the key goal for us is to make sure that we offer quality services to our customers and the key enabler to enable us deliver that quality services is Phase3. I'm very happy that I have seen a lot of effort expended by Phase3 by their culture and shared common value to us in delivering quality service to our end-users." According to him, it remains the responsibilities of all stakeholders in the industry to create opportunities for the young ones, help them develop and give them a sense of purpose as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the way to do that is by investing in people, infrastructure and encouragement, adding that these are values which Phase3 shares and which Etisalat believes in. "And I hope that we can continue to work together in this frame of mind so that we can contribute positively to society and the country at large." he said.

Before the final departure, Jegede expressed his sincere appreciation to the leadership of the company's various departments for their hard work and dedication. He added: "So looking back over the past 10 years on this landmark occasion, there is an enormous amount for which I am grateful to God." Staff who did brilliantly well in their units were bountifully rewarded with various prizes which range from TV sets, fridges, freezers etc.

Copyright This Day. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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