By Rarzark Olaegbe
Do you remember that fifteen years ago it was impossible to make a phone call in your bedroom? For you to make an international call then, you needed two things: A dial tone. And the ‘operator’s’ approval. For a local call, you needed three things: you have to visit a friend’s office or home. Go and queue at Nitel’s office. Otherwise, you have to wear a pager. If your friend’s desk phone was “locked”, your next option was to purchase a Nitel call card.
With a Nitel call card, you had the license to make a call until the ‘units’ were exhausted. Mind you, the payphone was limited and far apart. One would not understand why those payphone were located at choice location of Allen Avenue, GRA, Apapa, Lagos Island, and few others. What this meant then, was that for you to make a call, you had to “travel” to any of these locations. Thinking about risks of travelling was never on your mind. The paramount duty was the call. The call was important. The call would change your life for the better. The call was everything to you.
As such, at the payphone joint, because you were not the only caller, you must endure the long queue of other callers. Meanwhile, you could have spent the waiting time on some other projects. Nonetheless, you had to queue to make the call. Done, your call was successful, and the recipient requested a proposal. Desktop and laptop computer was not ubiquitous then. Therefore, you did not have a laptop or a desktop to process the proposal. Your option was to visit a business centre where documents were exposed to the prying eyes of other customers. You had no choice.
Well, the document went through the snail post with an envelope and a stamp. With that method, you could not confirm the position of your proposal. So, what was the solution? You had to wait until the company reached you. However, you could not be reached. You had no email address. You had no mobile phone. You had no social media accounts. You had no laptop. You had no desktop. You had no… That was year 2000 before the advent of the GSM technology, before mobile telephone revolution.
Now, you have a laptop. You have just opened a Yahoo! email account. GSM technology is here. The new four GSM operators have rolled out their services. You have a mobile phone. You can make a phone call, and you do not need a dial tone. You can make funds transfer from your mobile phone. You do not need an operator before you can call your friend who resides in London. You do not need a call card to make a call anymore. You do not need to queue to make a call again. Today, you and over 150 million telephone subscribers can make calls right in your bedrooms, kudos to the people who ignited this revolution. They made us not to remember that time again…
Rarzark Olaegbe can be reached on +2348082477799