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30 Best Small Companies to watch 2019

‘Ensuring Seamless Interconnection’: Medallion Communications Limited, a Lagos-based Interconnect Clearinghouse and Co-location Data Service Company, Bridges Digital Divide Between Developing and Developed Economies of World

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“Medallion Communications was set up as the backbone supporting Nigeria’s ICT and telecommunications industry in the area of carrier-neutral infrastructure sharing and interconnectivity.”

Interconnection is the linking of the networks of two or more service providers thus enabling the subscribers on one network to access the subscribers of the other networks. In a multi-operator environment, seamless interconnection is the most important factor that could affect the growth of the industry. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) estimates that in most telecom environments, at least 60 percent of all traffic is interconnect.

In light of the above-mentioned scenario, we’re thrilled to present Medallion Communications Limited.

The company’s business involves setting up Interconnect Houses where operators not only have the opportunity to interconnect with multiple operators in one location but equally share the available telecom infrastructure thereby reducing overhead. While most interconnect operators focus on only transiting of calls, Medallion’s model offers full financial settlement and reconciliation of interconnect traffic. This would greatly eliminate interconnect indebtedness in the industry and lead to accurate and timely processing of interconnect charges. Medallion deploys a robust and efficient billing and settlement infrastructure that is transparent in the resolution of interconnect related billing issues.

The company was incorporated in 2004 and is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.

Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani, Medallion Communications Limited, President/CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?

The deregulation of the telecommunication industry in 2001 gave birth to the GSM revolution: The company’s introduction transformed the telecommunication system in Nigeria. As a result, the number of telecom subscribers has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 32 percent since 2002.The telecommunications industry is one of the fastest growing in Nigeria and remains a major driver of innovation and transfer of technology to the Nigerian economy contributing 8.7 percent to Gross Domestic Product. With a population of more than 192 million, Nigeria’s subscriber base represents a Teledensity of 114.66 percent.

Medallion Communications was set up as the backbone supporting Nigeria’s ICT and telecommunications industry in the area of carrier-neutral infrastructure sharing and interconnectivity.

Today, Medallion colocationcentres are the most connected facilities in Nigeria and across West Africa, offering interconnect and clearinghouse services to both the major Telcos and small players in the industry at affordable rates. No other facility in the West Africa region today has the same number and concentration (Eco-System) of all the International Fiber Operators in Nigeria (Mainone, Glo1, SAT3, WACs, ACE, etc.); Long Distance Operators in Nigeria (Phase3, Multilinks-Telkom, MTN, Airtel, Globacom, etc.); Metro Fiber Operators (Broadbased, 21st Century, VDT, IPNX, Suburban, etc.); Critical National Content Operators (Nigerian Internet Exchange, Google, Nigerian Internet Registration Agency, VAS providers, etc.); ISPs (Netcom Africa, Internet Solution, Vodacom, Layer3, Skyvision, etc.). Medallion is the number one go-to facility for fast, efficient, and cost-effective hosting service provisioning that is tailored to the specific needs of the region, while at the same time meeting all required international standards required of the class of services it offers, such as hosting and connectivity services when time to market and affordability is essential.

Q.There is nothing more important for a successful small business than a well-defined mission and vision statements. Can you explain your M&V statements in brief?

Medallion’s mission includes building technologically advanced and secure interconnect switching centers to enable the exchange of telecom traffic amongst the different operators in the market. The traffic to be exchanged would include voice, data (SMS/Fax), and video.

Medallion was founded with the vision of bridging the digital divide between the developing and the developed economies of the world. The company has an operational base in North America as well as across several African countries.

Q. How does your company contribute to the competitive global IT platform?

Medallion operates one of the most advanced data centers in Nigeria. Also called Nigeria’s Telehouse, the company’s data center is the most interconnected facility in the West African sub-region.

Medallion interconnect centers are designed as co-location centres where operators not only come to the facility for interconnection but can also install their network infrastructure at the facility at an affordable cost since critical network support items like power, cooling and security would be shared by all the parties at the center. This creates a great advantage for operators to interconnect and do businesses with other operators without going through the rigorous process of building independent interconnect links to each operator from various operating centers.

Operators and service providers (both big and small) rent space from Medallion for their co-location or hosting needs, and pay for power and transmission infrastructure at cost-effective rates.

Medallion hosts the Nigerian Internet Exchange, the Nigerian dot ng domain servers, all international fibres, all long-distance service providers in Nigeria, all GSM, CDMA, Fixed Line, and Fixed Wireless service providers, Value Added Service Providers and Premium Rated Service Providers.

Medallion enables these stakeholders in the Nigerian telecom industry to seamlessly interconnect with each other in a carrier neutral environment.

Q. Do you have any new products ready to be launched?

In line with the national license obligation issued by NCC, Medallion is embarking on a two-phased expansion programme; with the intention to expand its services to at least six additional cities (Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Ibadan, Asaba, and Enugu) in Nigeria by the 4th quarter of 2019. We are also into selected countries in West and East Africa. The expansion of the datacenter and interconnect service to other state capitals in Nigeria and across the Africa region will among other benefits, enable operators to expand their services to new cities; help existing operators in these cities to localize their calls thereby ensuring higher quality of service at cheaper cost; help operators reduce their operating cost by saving on the transmission cost; and ensuring prompt and efficient settlement of interconnect charges amongst operators.

Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani: An Entrepreneur Heart

Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani is the President and CEO of Medallion Communications Limited. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1996) and a Master’s degree from Tennessee State University, Nashville Tennessee, USA (2000).

Engr. Nnamani focuses on implementing the core network infrastructure that promotes, develops, and distributes local contents and ensuring a high quality of service is delivered to the subscribers at an affordable price. He has won several national and international awards for his contribution to the growth of the telecoms and ICT industry in the global information technology space. Most recently, he was named the 2017 E-Payment Man of the Year by the Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN). Engr. Nnamani was also named the 2018 ICT Entrepreneur of the Year at the Beacon of ICT Award.

With over 15 years of core telecom experience, Engr. Nnamani is very active in promoting forward-looking industry policies for the growth of the telecom industry across Africa working with both regulators as well as operators to achieve this goal. He currently acts as an executive of the premier telecom body in Nigeria – the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) as well as the Nigerian Internet Registration Agency (NIRA). He has also promoted the establishment of Interconnect Clearinghouses in Africa, working recently with the Ghanaian Telecom Regulator (NCA) on the creation of the Interconnect Clearinghouse license in Ghana.

“Medallion’s mission includes building technologically advanced and secure interconnect switching centers to enable the exchange of telecom traffic amongst the different operators in the market. The traffic to be exchanged would include voice, data (SMS/Fax), and video.”