After several years studying Biological sciences in Warwick United Kingdom, Aisha Abdulaziz, became a big fan of Information technology, fast paced lady with keen interest in how things work, becoming immersed in the opportunities therein after unlocking the key that gave her the breakthrough to be more efficient and productive. Very rooted and keen to seeing women excel if the environment is made conducive for tearing down barriers, she tells STANLEY NKWAZEMA that internet and broadband services in Nigeria are affordable when compared with others.
From Biological Science to IT
I studied Biological Science at Warwick University in the United Kingdom. I also studied programing for a year before heading out to university, which became useful in my second and third year of School and clearly later in life. I have always been fast-paced and had a keen interest in how things work. Information technology gives everyone the opportunity to be more efficient and productive, so it settled well with who I am.
Women tearing down walls in IT industry?
As I already mentioned earlier, I work with a number of women that are already creating solutions to the market need and if I see more women in the industry, the reality is that this is already happening. When a person has value and is given the right environment, nothing can stop the value from showing. This applies to both men and women. I have a number of female colleagues in my team ranging from hands on Engineers to HR and Operations Managers. And their performance rates are at par and in a number of cases higher than their male counterparts. So I think it is clearly time to put stereotypes behind us and focus on more substantial issues.
Do you see Nigerians embracing Legend in numbers?
We have several services that appeal to different segments of people and we are constantly trying to create more value to the customers. Once Nigerians realize that we are not just all talk but actually deliver on the promises we make and more, who wouldn’t want to join? The truth is that Nigerians appreciate excellent services and will stick to a particular service provider who satisfies them and gives them value for their money
Lowering costs on internet and other broadband services in Nigeria
Actually, the prices are fairly affordable compared to other countries. For example an unlimited residential Fibre service in Nigeria ranges between N15, 000 to 30,000. In the UK or the US they range between 30 to 50 pounds per month. The average price for 1 Gigabyte of Mobile Data in the US is 50 USD. In Nigeria the average price per GB of Mobile Data is $5.So in actuality, we are spoiled for price in Nigeria. I think the challenge has to do with our ability to optimize these resources and create the commensurate value to the benefit of our economy and people.
Who is Aisha and what is Legend all about?
My name is Aisha Abdulaziz, I am from Yobe state and I am responsible for the Strategy and Operations of Legend. Legend is a Multimedia Media service provider which in layman, means a retail provider of Internet, Voice and Video service directly to homes over a Fibre optic cable connection. Nigeria still struggling with quality and availability of reliable Internet service, Legend to the rescue You are right when you say there are quality and reliability issues with broadband services in Nigeria, but we at Legend have taken decisive steps to address these gaps. The issues are mostly caused by infrastructure gaps and distortions in the industry structure. On the infrastructure gaps, the country has a huge shortage of terrestrial ICT cable infrastructure which is the main foundation for reliable broadband. Though we have made progress in the Submarine and National Long Distance Cable infrastructure, we are lacking in FTTX infrastructure also referred to as the last mile. This coupled with an industry structure that is skewed heavily in the favor of Mobile operators, makes it difficult to achieve the type of focus that will bolster the growth of cable broadband which as I said above is the foundation for true broadband services. In Legend, we took the bull by the horn and deployed the right infrastructure to the right places at the right prices. We presently have deployed a purpose built Fibre to the Home (FTTH )network in the entire Abuja Metropolis and Suburbs to provide True Broadband to the residents. Presently, thousands of homes are connected to the Legend Network and the testimonials from the customers show that we can get it right in Nigeria if we put square pegs in square holes.
Do you have similar products to the Mobile providers or are they different?
Yes and no. Yes we all sell data, content and voice, and no because we sell them via different technologies which have very different outcomes from a quality, pricing and general customer experience perspective. The difference in the speed and capacity of a fibre optic cable compared to a radio microwave or mobile signal is very substantial. This means that features like unlimited internet access can be sold conveniently over fibre but this will be a struggle for a mobile network as they have to limit the users to preserve bandwidth across the limited radio frequency resources on the network. Also bandwidth intensive applications like HD video in large volumes will be a struggle for mobile networks because of limitations of the technology, while this is not experienced with the Fibre advantage. And also the influences from weather conditions are totally aliened to the fibre cable while satellite and radios are influenced by this. So like I mentioned, they might look similar on face value but the devil they say is in the detail. You provide TV services also, how exactly are you able to do that?
The huge bandwidth of the fibre cables makes it possible to carry video signals seamlessly without limits to the channels and the technologies like HD, 4K etc. Also we invested in new age TV technology which is a result of the convergence of Voice, Video and Data and the combination of this technology with our Fibre Advantage has made it possible for us to deliver TV Everywhere, TV, Device ,Mobile, Web.
From analogue technology to a digital and social media culture, do you have products and services in this space?
We have a well spelt out digital strategy and as you mentioned this has become mainstream in the world today and our Over the Top Technology (OTT) capability enables us launch multiple virtual products to customers delivered over the internet.
Where do you see Legend five years on and regional expansions
Legend will be the Cloud Platform that connects Africa to the world With Cloud infrastructure, Regional and Global are now local. So the short answer is yes, but this time, we will not have to physically leave our domain to do business, we will do over the Cloud, like Amazon. Interestingly, as the leading Fibre to the Home (FTTH) service Provider, Legend has formally doubled its speed on its TriplePlay and Dual Play Bundles from 8Mbps and 4Mbps to 16Mbps and 8Mbps respectively to serve clients better. The increase will be at no additional cost to the customers already on the service and to those joining the network. In our quest to deliver a fully immersive Multi Media experience at the quality of the most developed countries in the world to our customers in Nigeria, the company will continue to increase the speeds on its network and introduce innovative and exciting products that ensure its customers are satisfied and fulfilled with their TV, Internet and Digital services. Legend has also made history in the African Internet market by launching its Residential GE Gigabit Internet service. Gigabit Internet services are very rare even in the United States and were championed actively by companies like Google who set up Google Fibre to drive GE services to the home.We have built a network at par with the most advanced in the world, and are very eager to provide our customers with the services they deserve. Our GE services start at 0.1Gbps through to 1Gbps, over a single connection, suitable for UHD/4K Video streaming and other bandwidth intensive applications. They are also well priced and start at N150, 000, 00 per month. Our diverse product offerings ensure that the Legend experience is available to the broad spectrum of the market either through our Hotspot chain or our OTT products which can be accessed through the Google Playstore or App Store. We are very excited at the prospects and opportunities ahead”. Legend by Suburban is an exclusive service brand which offers distinctive value that enhances the lifestyle of its users. The service was launched in 2014 with a focus on providing access to unlimited premium video entertainment and connectivity to the public. The company provides direct fibre optic connections to individual locations to enable: ultra-fast internet access; unlimited HD video streaming via different models, including Subscription Video-on-demand & Transactional Video-on-demand; Home Automation and Security services; Wi-Fi hotspots set up across different locations; as well as a bespoke mobile app that enables video content consumption on the go.