Issue #25   •   Quarter 3/4 Edition   •   December 2018

 
itu-2012

CONTRIBUTORS
Hamadoun I. Touré
Secretary-General, International Telecommunications Union

Mohamed Bin Ahmed Al Qamzi
Chairman, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, UAE

Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar
CEO, Etisalat Group

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Saud Al-Thani
Chairman, Qtel Group

Launching the ITU Telecom World 2012 Conference, Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General, International Telecommunications Union, extended his thanks to the host city of Dubai, before setting out his vision for the role that ICT will play in facilitating the successful delivery of the UN’s Millennium Goals of creating long term sustainability and tackling the challenge of global climate change.

“The future that lies before us is promising, characterised by change as the only constant,” said Dr Touré. “I have not met anyone who questions the dynamic of the time. Mobile broadband, M2M, fibre optics and social networks define today’s networks. With six billion mobile subscribers and 2.3 million internet users, the stage is set for a technology-driven life.”

Dr Touré reiterated the ITU’s aim to roll out broadband to every corner of the world, using the transformative DNA of ICT solutions for a better, brighter, more prosperous world.

“I foresee the least wired regions becoming connected thanks to the miracle of wireless,” he said. “I call upon you to be courageous in setting out this brave new broadband world. Operators need to invest in infrastructure, governments and leaders must dream big. I would like to say that the leadership of Dubai has dared to dream big.”

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Dr Eugene Juwah, says that Nigeria has achieved a teledensity of 100 percent as at January 2015. Juwah, who was represented by the NCC's Director of Public Relations, Mr Tony Ojobo, announced this in Enugu at a forum during the 26th Enugu International Trade fair.

According to him, teledensity is calculated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to mean active line distribution of one telephone to a hundred of a population. This is a remarkable achievement compared to when we started from 0.4 per cent in 2001. The Nigeria network offers everything that is available in any other part of the world. Some people do not even know that this network is what is enabling other services like internet Banking, ATM services and Point of Sales (POS) that are used in hotels and other locations across the country. Online hotel reservations, flight bookings and flight management that we now enjoy from our homes and offices are delivered by telecommunication. We should remember that all these are made possible in a very harsh environment for the provision of the telecommunication services,'' he said.

The EVC who listed the challenges facing the industry to include poor power supply, said: "We all know how difficult it is to enjoy uninterrupted power supply since telecom operation is a 24 hour service. Service providers cannot afford to lose any minute as a result of power supply.''

Other challenges, Juwah said, were multiple taxation, multiple regulations that hamper deployment of services across the country as well as vandalisation of telecom infrastructure.

He appealed to all subscribers to assist in protecting telecom facilities in their various communities.

Juwah said the commission had introduced some services like mobile number portability which enable subscribers alternate between service providers.

Earlier in his remarks at the forum, Dr Ifeanyi Okoye, the President of the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), urged NCC to do more in protecting vulnerable customers.

Okoye, however, commended the commission for its achievements in spite of the numerous challenges being experienced in the country. (NAN)

Hon. Saheed Akinade-Fijabi (Chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications,) assures on legislative support for telecom stakeholders

Rating the Nigerian telecoms market

I think I’ll rate it well above average; it is an industry that is still growing. At least out of the GDP of Nigeria for the year, telecoms contributed 9 per cent which is an increase from last year and I think with the level of innovation in the industry there’s still room for improvement.

Now that we want the country to diversify, I think this is another sector we can look to, to create a lot of employment and other opportunities. Even in education, farming and the likes, telecom is needed. I can see the industry growing from where it is now to the highest point you can think of.

2013q4-editorials CATCO logoAfrican Telecommunication Regulators and other key industry stakeholders, among them telecommunication consumers, legislators, operators, for the first time met in Lagos, Nigeria on October 17-18 2013 to discuss ways of “Harnessing Regulatory Policies to Protect Telecom Consumers in Africa;” being the Theme of the Conference.

The Conference was held under the auspices of the Consumer Affairs Bureau of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) which hosted it.

It drew participants from over 15 African countries including Angola, Niger, Uganda, Sudan, Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa, Cameroun, Benin Republic and Nigeria, the host country, and African Telecommunications Union who provided varying and fresh perspectives to issues affecting telecommunication service delivery to consumers across Africa.

The conference noted that:

  • Deregulation of the telecoms industry has dismantled the monopoly structure and its attendant bottlenecks associated with customers’ frustrations and enhanced competitiveness among operators thus increasing value propositions for the customers.
  • Despite the laudable achievements in the telecoms industry across Africa, the challenges faced by consumers include Quality of Service (QoS), billing, adequate education on services, consumer and issues pertaining to seeking redress
  • The scope and complexity of telecom regulatory activities on the continent has not only shifted from licensing to consumer obligations, it has also increased in dimension and quantum.
  • Convergence and emerging technologies have placed new challenges before African regulators, made regulation more complex and has brought about the need for converged regulation
  • Multiple- taxations and multiple-regulations are major challenges in most African countries as they inhibit both operators ability to meet service obligations and full experience of consumers through service affordability and availability
  • In the telecoms space everyone is a stakeholder and the impact of the transformation in the industry has rubbed off in every sphere of lives of the people and also led to increased teledensity such that un-served and underserved areas in the continent are increasingly experiencing service provisioning.
  • The trajectory for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the telecoms industry is upwards, leading to exponential economic growth which has been manifested in direct and indirect jobs creation across the continent.
  • Countries on the continent have experienced general and peculiar challenges based on the culture, values, market principles, business model as well as laws and regulations specific to each regulatory jurisdiction.
  • There is need for a sustainable and veritable platform for regulators on the continent to engage in peer review mechanism that will give them ample opportunity to critically focus on the consumer interests in the different climes.
  • In order to deepen telecommunications services, regulators need to be responsive to the needs of the telecoms environment by being proactive. A number of regulatory initiatives such as the ones undertaken by the Nigerian regulators are germane including:
    1. The need for collaboration among other regulatory bodies in order to harmonise the existing policies in such a way that consumer interest is ultimately protected from multi taxation and multi-regulations.
    2. A strong need to establish compliant resolution mechanism that can effectively address challenges between the service providers and consumers as well as issues arising between operators that could impact on the quality of service delivery to the consumers.
  • Consumer is always King and pivotal to the growth of the telecoms industry, as such must be protected
  • With the frequent changes in the technology space and the need for the stakeholders to catch up with the evolving trends in the technology space, there is strong emphasis on regulators to focus on trainings and developmental plans
  • The regulatory issues concerning land locked states should be given urgent review in order to make such states benefit from the experiences of other African countries.
  • Despite the glut of undersea cable into some African nations, only single points of landing have been prevalent in most countries. There is a need for landing points to be diversified to other states for redundancy sake.
  • African regulators should come up with robust broadband model for national and regional strategies that would ensure strategic deployment and collaboration across the regions
  • Stakeholders across Africa need to work assiduously in collaboration to consummate on roaming agreements that will facilitate lower costs of service delivery to the people on the continent.
  • African regulators are encouraged to come together under a common platform to fine tune the standards, processes and procedures for dealing with regulatory issues on the continent
  • African Telecommunications Union should take over the conference and make it a fully continental affair, thereby rotating it among African countries, based on request by interested countries to host.
  • Universal Service Provision Funds (USPFs) play key roles in driving access to the underserved and the un-served.
  • There is need for comprehensive legislations to cater for the needs of physically challenged and people with special needs as equal stakeholders and consumers of telecom services on the continent
  • The Nigerian regulator, NCC, was commended for its exemplary role in telecommunication regulation in Africa
  • The near death of CDMA operation in some African countries is due to multiple regulation and taxation

The Delegates thus resolved:

  • To advocate for service neutral licensing that will enable an operator provide telephony, Internet and broadcast services on a single license in the converged ecosystem.
  • That telecoms infrastructure should be declared as critical national infrastructure and calls on legislators to pass enabling laws.
  • To canvass for a single regional license that will enable an operator in a particular country to operate in any other country within a region once it has a valid operating license from one of the countries in the region.
  • To push for equitable access to undersea cable by nations in the continent, particularly the land locked nations on the continent who by reasons of geographical location do not have direct access to the undersea cables
  • To encourage regional bodies including national and regional regulators, ATU, African Union Commission, Regional Economic Communities, States Policy Makers to work together to achieve harmonised regulatory document,
  • To continuously collaborate to ensure that regulators give priority to protecting consumers of ICT services; and to work with the ATU so as to provide the framework for regulators and all other stakeholders to advance consumers’ interest
  • That the first Conference of African Telecom Regulators is one good example of the collective efforts by Africans to establish unity, solidarity, collective self-reliance amongst African countries in building on the principle of pan-Africanism within the ICT space for Consumers
  • That effective regulatory framework must have the following key features i.e. independent power of the regulatory authority, decision and rule-making power, accountability, consumer protection, dispute resolution and enforcement powers.
  • That International and Regional Mobile Roaming Services can be best resolved through transnational cooperation between African governments and providers through appropriate bilateral, regional and/or international agreements.
  • To ensure that regulators ceaselessly motivate, sustain and improve competition within their jurisdictions using tools such as MNP and Determination of Dominance in the market-space.
  • That spectrum is universally recognised as a scarce resource and it is evidently being underutilised on the continent, and since spectrum is also borderless, therefore African countries must co-operate in this area to ensure that the dividends of the digital age is available to citizens
  • To encourage balanced regulation in order for citizens to enjoy the benefits of the New Media, and authorities should adopt suitable regulatory tools in response to new trends in the industry and the growing need for consumer protection.
  • As a result of the increasing challenges of cyber security and e-commerce, authorities must come up with regulation that must protect operator systems and information from cyber-attacks and cybercrimes.
  • To enjoin African states to enact legislation to protect minors and other vulnerable people within the society from cybercrimes, pornography and other illicit activities perpetuated over the internet.
  • That regional commitment is critical to liberalization and harmonization of regulatory frameworks; and collaboration across the region will also ensure uniformity of standards which will reduce transaction costs, enhance demand and competition.
  • That technology cannot be regulated, rather regulators should find efficient ways of regulating the services being proferred by technology.
  • The 2nd Conference of African Telecom Regulators on Consumer Affairs will be announced and made known to delegates later.

2014Q1-news open accessThe Nigerian telecom sector has been variously hailed as the fastest growing sector in the nation’s economy. From a $50 million industry in the days of state-run NITEL, it has grown to a $25 billion sector in investment with sundry multiplier effects in job creation, wealth creation, ease of living and doing business. Yet, in spite of this phenomenal growth, services have eluded some remote parts of the country. Plus, there has been intense debate over issues of cost, quality of service and internet penetration.

In thinking through these challenges, the federal government rolled out a National Broadband initiative. The initiative targets massive urban and rural deployment of all aspects of telecoms including data applications. This is expected to boost the economy and throw up a rash of opportunities for telecoms investors and consumers. Besides, it will trigger a wider dimension of enablement for commerce, education, agriculture, healthcare, banking, entertainment among other endeavours. To make good government’s expectations, the NCC has adopted Open Access Model to push Broadband into all nooks and crannies of the country as well as making investment in the emerging broadband frontier an attractive one for investors. Dr. Eugene Juwah, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC is upbeat about the positive transformation that Open Access model would bring to the economy. The model adopted was not an imposition by the regulator but the result of wide-range consultations with industry stakeholders. With this, the regulator hopes to unbundle the broadband infrastructure market to meet the Federal Government’s 80 per cent broadband penetration target by 2017.

by Editor

These are some of the top negative phone habits that we should strive to start breaking from this year. That's right, we're talking about how annoying and rude and antisocial we've all become with our smart phones and tablets.

1. Using the cell phone while driving.

This is a major safety issue for the driver, passengers, and others in the vicinity of the cell phone user. Concentration and vision is taken away from driving, which can be fatal.

Solution: Simply don't use the cell phone while sitting behind the wheel of the car. Quoting Oprah Winfrey, make your car a "No phone zone."

 

2. Drunk -tweeting, -texting, -Instagramming, etc.

Long gone are the days when the only witnesses to your inebriated ramblings were other bar patrons who also saw you stumble from your bar stool to the ground. Now you can literally embarrass yourself with drunken texting, posting on facebook, etc. Alcohol and mobile devices don't mix.

 

3. Not placing it on silent mode for specific occasions.

You know you're in a meeting or in church or the movies and yet your phone still remains on a loud mode. In the movies, they even play a quick video before a flick is about to play stressing the need to turn off your phone or place it on silent. In most meetings/forum it is advised that participants turn off their phones. Yet some of us are still so obnoxious and forgetful to adhere to this simple act of corporate decorum. And, believe it or not, no matter how hard you try to hide the glaring white display of your phone in a pitch black theater, you still blind everyone around you.

 

4. Loud Ring Tones.

Ever been embarrassed when your phone belts out P-Squares's 'Alingo' or Inyannya's 'Kukere' especially in a quiet/serious environment? The quick scramble by the phone owner to find it and switch it off and the funny looks they get from others makes you wonder why they bothered with such ring tones in the first place. If you are in a corporate environment for at least 9 or 10 hours in a day, then please use a corporate ring tone. Interestingly, the culprits are not just corpers of low ranking officers. Some high level workers are also guilty of this. Weird. Please stop.

 

5. Talking obnoxiously loud while on a conversation.

Can you hear me now? That is the normal question posed by loud phone users. Many of us have to suffer while they chat away on their phones, laugh like excited wind mills. They do this regardless of the environment. Remember that loud irritating solo voice just before a plane takes off, or that 2 hour loud chatter by your colleague while you are working on a serious memo? No we don't need to know what 'auntie', 'uncle' or 'sister' is saying or what they are having for dinner, so why don't you just tone down the volume just a little bit.

 

6. Speaking on the phone while there is someone in front of you.

rude-phone-001This is one of the worst phone habits. It reeks of rudeness, lack of culture and is totally devoid of basic manners. There are ways to courteously address the person in front of you while talking on the phone.

  • Signal with your hands or cover the phone, while you take a second to tell them that you will soon attend to them and offer them a seat if there is an available one.
  • If it’s a personal call and your colleague is in front of you with official matters, then cut the call and attend to business. You are in the office anyway and not in your living room.
  • If it’s an official call and you know it takes precedent over the person in front of you, ensure that your side of the conversation points this out and if it will be long, then kindly dismiss the person in front of you and tell them that you will call later.

 

7. Constantly taking calls while talking with a friend.

I was at a friend's house one day, the kids were playing, and my friend and I got to sit down for a drink and chat. Within 10 minutes, she took 7 calls. There was one work-related call, but the others consisted of no emergencies, just friends who wanted something or to say hi, and she answered every call. First, my feelings were a bit hurt (the cell phone won time over me!) and second, I was ticked off (how rude of her to choose the cell phone over a friend sitting at the kitchen table - six times!).

Solution: Be a good, true friend and don't answer calls if you're visiting with someone. If it is school, work or an expected call that warrants some urgency, then by all means take the call. Be respectful.

 

8. Fooling around on your phone whenever you have a spare moment.

As writer Austin Kleon writes in his alarmingly cute book, "Steal Like an Artist," we need unstructured time for creativity to foster, down time in which we mess around and let our disconnected thoughts gel into cool ideas.

If you turn every spare moment (a red light, a line at the salad station, a ride in the elevator) into an excuse to fiddle with your phone, then you are limiting the use of your brain in thinking and also losing the opportunity to appreciate the world around you. Reminds you of Einstein's quote: "I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots". Was he right?

 

9. Passive-aggressively whining for the whole world to see through social media pages on your phone.

Look, we all have our personal stock of World Problems, frustrated complaints with the minor injustices committed by a cruel, uncaring world. That's been true since the dawn of time. Now we just have myriad means of expressing them. Nobody cares about your thinly veiled railings against your ex or roommate or employer, OK? Unless you've scribbled it on a notepad, in which case you should share it with the world. So that we can laugh at you.

 

10. Chewing or eating while using the phone.

It's very irritating talking to someone on the phone and hearing the sounds of their munching food or worse still, chewing gum. The internal loud speaker of the phone magnifies sound and so the annoying chewing and guttural effect is intensified. When you talk on the phone, don't eat, drink, check your e-mail or do anything else that shows you're not giving your best effort to the caller. This is for your benefit as well -- you may miss key information from the caller simply because you're too busy with your chicken pie or instant messaging a friend.

 

11. Being on the phone during a meal at a restaurant with people.

rude-phone-002Maybe I'm old fashioned, but if I am meeting friends for a lunch or dinner date, I expect to have conversation with them, and I expect the same in return. Taking a call and talking on the cell phone for several minutes of casual conversation is disrespectful since I have made arrangements to spend time with that person.

Solution: When answering a call while on a date, unless it is urgent or an emergency, tell the person calling that they will have their call returned, thank them, and hang up.

 

12. Turning your friends into enemies with videos of them.

Camcorders have become tiny and discreet and as user-friendly as checking your e-mail. This is potentially bad news for those people you hang out with, as you hold in your hands a recording device that can humiliate them forever.

Set ground rules and roll the camera judiciously, lest you wind up publicly shaming a friend for her foul mouth, caught-on-film fart or unpopular political opinions.

 

13. Letting your seething anger leach out into the world at large.

Humans have always done stupid things when they're emotionally riled up. Now, those tantrums and rages and outbursts are shared and cached for the world to see. Take a deep breath and put down the Smartphone.

 

14. Texting while walking.

Rarely does this go well. Whatever's so urgent can probably wait a few minutes. Or you can, you know, actually call the person.

 

15. Observe the basics.

It's amazing how many people forget the basics, which can really make a big difference. Speak clearly into the mouthpiece. Don't talk to other people in the room when you're on the phone. If you tell someone to hold on, tell them how long you'll be. (You're not going to be "just a second," but probably at least a few minutes.)Say goodbye clearly, and make sure they have responded before you hang up.

 

While others' discourteous use of cell phones may get under my skin, I am no saint. I'm guilty of some pretty obnoxious behaviors myself, from time to time.

I use my phones as scapegoats, for instance. If I'm stuck in a conversation I don't want to be in, my consciousness will slowly drift away, my eyes glaze over and my phone slowly comes out of its sheath. "Go on, I'm listening," I'll say as I blankly stare at the empty notification shade on my phone and endlessly flick through my home screens, pretending to be busy. I do the same thing to avoid awkward situations. In a crowded elevator with other people? Checking the phone instantly makes it less awkward. Walking by someone who I think might want to stop me and talk? Act busy and check for notifications.

Recently, however, I have made it a point to be more mindful and aware of just how obnoxious I am when both of my cell phones start buzzing every couple seconds. I try not to be rude, even when someone will not stop talking and I'm trying to slip away. And when the notifications at dinner get to a certain point, I silence my phones, ignore the blinking light and enjoy the temporary disconnect. It's actually nice to enjoy the company of people and put the online world on hold on occasion.

Have you noticed your own bad habits with your cell phone? Have you tried to curb them? Or do you continually cut people off and ignore them to respond to the Facebook comment on the mirror self-shot picture you took this morning? Resolve to stop these habits this year.

By Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich, Special to CNN, October 8, 2012
http://www.phonedog.com
http://www.phonearena.com
http://voices.yahoo.com/bad-cell-phone-habits

Business Education Examinations Council (BEEC) has congratulated the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the recent platinum rating the regulatory body received from the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPRS).

In a letter signed by its President, Mike Okereke, the Council attributed the success to the leadership style of the commission’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta.

In keeping with its Corporate Governance Code which has become fully active for the telecom industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it is regularly conducting health-checks on the financial wellness of all telecommunication companies in the country. The measure is to avert a recurrence of the kind of financial storm that rocked the Etisalat which forced the exit of its UAE component.

In an interview with Bloomberg, the CEO and Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, said the commission is assessing the health of MTN Nigeria, Bharti Airtel and Globacom to ensure that they all do not fall into the same pit.  And if they have “issues that can be addressed”, we will try and resolve them.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says the country needs more than 120,000 kilometers of metropolitan fiber networks interconnected across the country to achieve its goal of pervasive broadband penetration. Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, said this in a statement issued in Abuja.

The EVC said this when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council led by Ms Edirin Akemu.

Following complaints by operators of interconnect clearing houses and Value Added Services licensees in the Nigeria telecoms industry over the huge indebtedness in their businesses the Nigerian Communications Commission says it has commenced the process for the introduction of a regulation to guide the activities of the VAS market which will substantially address the issues arising from VAS interconnect debt.

This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta at the Telecoms Executives and Regulators Forum held in Lagos.

edit-003-politicsArmed with documents including correspondences between it and political parties, letters to GSM operators and Value Added Service (VAS) providers, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has come out strongly to fault the claims of Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola that it deliberately banned the All Progressives Congress, APC, from using telecommunications service providers’ networks to raise money for the campaign of its presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammed Buhari. The commission said that Fashola has enjoyed such service in 2011 which he got through due process.

Spokesman for the commission, Tony Ojobo, displayed a letter from the NCC dated February 17, 2011 and addressed to Awareness Connect Limited, a VAS operator acting on behalf of Fashola. The VAS operator had applied for permission to use a short code for Fashola’s campaign in a letter dated February 15, 2011. That request was expeditiously granted.

According to the NCC, the ban came as a result of the APC breaching the commission’s laid down rules and regulations. Ojobo, in a press briefing clarified that there are stipulated rules and regulations for allocating short codes to VAS providers Such code, he stressed, must be used solely for the purpose intended as contained in its guidelines.

This according to the NCC was totally ignored by the APC Fund raising platform initiators. Ojobo said section 3 of the commission’s guideline provides that “ the commission shall receive written notification from the licensees for all advertisements for goods and services within the a minimum of seven (7) days of the proposed or planned publication of an advertisement, in order to ensure such advertisements meet the following minimum standards and requirements.”

The commission however said it has no problems with any political platform using the short code services for whatever purpose, but its challenge is with the telecommunication networks that flaunted it regulations which states that: “Network operators and content aggregators will be primarily responsible for the contravention of any of the provision of these Guidelines and will face appropriate sanctions where applicable.

“Network operators and content aggregators must ensure that service providers give the highest level of service to the consumer and those consumers: “A. Have sufficient information to enable them make informed decisions about using Short Codes.” To this, the NCC said it will deal appropriately with defaulting networks. Ojobo did not fail to mention that the mobile Fund raising platforms are not new especially to the APC and PDP alike, since the governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola, who is the APC campaign funds director, is familiar with the process of acquiring short codes.

“You are allowed to raise money, but you must conform to the rules of NCC. We didn’t make these rules looking at elections. We made these rules for the interest of development of telecommunications in Nigeria and we would keep those rules whether there are elections or not.” Ojobo reiterated.

In a letter dated Thursday, February 17, 2011, with the title “SHORT CODE ALLOCATION (35815)” the commission approved the same code despite the fact that there were no concrete existing regulations to back it. “the commission is currently in the process of developing regulatory guidelines for the operations and administration of short code in Nigeria, however, in the commissions spirit of supporting innovations and development in the telecommunications industry, we wish to inform you that you may temporarily use the short code 35815 for a maximum period of 90 days with effect from the date on this letter. Please note that this code must be used solely for the purpose of creating awareness and support for governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state campaign platform for April 2011 campaign as stated in your request.

“Please note that the commission reserves the right to withdraw this resource when necessary,” the letter read. The commission said the ban was not instigated by the government as it is been reported, but that it has continued to maintain a responsible independent regulatory agency and its independence has never been in doubt and that it remains non-partisan to any political party. Ojobo said the NCC is ready to lift the ban as long as the due process is followed strictly.

To buttress the level of fairness of the commission, Ojobo produced a letter which conveyed approval of the short code to Fashola through an agency for the same purpose during the 2011 election. Ojobo explained that in the case of the 2015 election, the VAS operator that the APC used did not apply and hence was not issued a short code for the purpose of raising funds. The Commission blamed the VAS operator for engaging in illegality and urged Fashola and other politicians to ensure that the VAS operators they intend to use are legally empowered by NCC to undertake such service with a duly signed approval letter.

ec-itanyi-iwg-multitaxThe successes recorded by the telecommunications industry in the last 10 years have reinforced the internationally acknowledged perception that communication is a powerful, progressive tool of socio-economic development. The continued boost to development (e.g. in terms of job creation, security, social cohesion), the impact upon culture and quality of life and the contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are gains which have been recorded by the industry as a direct result of the advent of mobile telephony in Nigeria.

Unfortunately, while the sector has been a major catalyst for socio-economic development, it has become apparent that majority of our national stakeholders have failed to recognize the pivotal role played by mobile telecommunications to the long term socio-economic development of this nation. These sections of stakeholders instead continue to perceive the successes of the industry as an opportunity to generate short term and other immediate pecuniary benefits. This skewed perception results in undue interference in the operations of communications networks by various strata of society and particularly agencies of government.

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC has said it will embark on a consultation for National Mobile Roaming licence in Nigeria. This was contained in a consultation paper on National Mobile Roaming to announce its intention and procedures for the consultative forum. The Commission requested all stakeholders to send in their comments.

According to the Commission, the National Mobile Roaming is the “ability of a cellular customer to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services, including data services, when travelling outside the coverage area of the home network, via a visited network”.

The paper further states that, “such arrangements effectively multiply a carrier’s ability to cover those areas where they do not have the presence of their own network, without actually having to deploy infrastructure. Prior agreement between operators enables the subscribers to roam into another network in case the home network is not available. It is believed to be simpler and less costly to manage than active infrastructure sharing and may also ensure effective competition through a greater degree of uniformity among operators’ retail offerings”.

Some regulators encourage roaming as a form of infrastructure sharing in order to discourage investment which do not make business sense, so that the existing network can be maximally utilised. It is said that domestic roaming, as is the case with international roaming, can be realised at no significant extra cost.

In some countries, roaming is used to bolster newer and younger operators to help them connect their subscribers to other networks even when they do not have their own facilities. It is usually a response to policies or rules and regulations in order to facilitate the provision of services by new entrants until they have rolled out their networks to significant number of places. It also helps to avoid duplication of networks at less populated and remote areas, provide seamless service in areas where movement of people is significant such as highways, provide emergency communication when home network is not available or when the quality of service of the home network is relatively low, thereby benefiting both the operators and the subscribers

The consultation for mobile roaming licence is in tandem with the policy of the NCC to always seek industry stakeholders’ input into a policy document to ensure their buy-in.

The Commission said it has taken note of the expert opinion that the implementation of National Mobile Roaming could bring in the following benefits:

  1. Extra source of revenue for both mobile network operators.
  2. Less investment costs since infrastructure sharing divides the investment burden among the operators rather than being shouldered by a single operator.
  3. Promote efficient use of resources.
  4. Easy market entry.
  5. Better choice of service.
  6. Less negative environmental impact.
  7. Promote universal service provision.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta has said that ICT is a veritable source of revenue for the revival of the country's dwindling economy.

Speaking at the third edition of the Nigeria Digital Agenda in Lagos, with the theme: ‘Beyond Oil – ICT, A Veritable Alternative,’ Danbatta stressed that the present administration is geared towards exploring other avenues for the creation of wealth for the nation rather than depending almost exclusively on obviously dwindling revenue from oil, more so in an era where wealth creation through application of human knowledge and creativity is steadily outpacing wealth creation through extraction and processing of natural resources.

According to him, to ensure that the country moves to the next frontier in ICT revolution, broadband Internet is crucial to the growth of the ICT industry. This, he said, would also encourage investors. “The country now has seven zones and each zone will have one operator which will deploy broadband services to every part of the zone. So far, two InfraCos licenses have been issued for Lagos and North Central Zones including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the process for issuing licenses for the other five zones has begun and will soon be completed”, he disclosed.

Danbatta added that the auction of 14 slots 2×5 MHz in the 2.6 GHz spectrum will enable winners to deploy wireless broadband services to complement existing services. He assured that regulatory framework has been put in place to ensure transparent licensing as the Commission intends to bridge this ‘digital divide.’

woman bossA few weeks ago, I was checking my box for new mails when I stumbled across a junk article titled, "5 Ways Women Are Better Bosses Than Men." I almost skipped it, but I was curious. 5 ways women are better bosses than men? I quickly clicked on the fascinating headline. And well, I can’t help but share my discovery.

It asserted "In the battle of the sexes, recent studies shows that women have certain characteristics that make them better leaders, though men still hold the majority of these positions." It then said "According to a survey conducted by Chris Bart, professor of strategic management at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, and Gregory McQueen, a McMaster graduate and senior executive associate dean at Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, women actually run better performing businesses than men.

Last year, Zeneger Folkman, a company that studies leadership, found that women rated higher than men on 12 out of 16 attributes tested. After analyzing 7,280 of their clients' performance evaluations, they found two traits where women outscored men significantly, taking initiative and driving results.

Here are five additional ways that women are more effective bosses than men." Wait for it...

  1. Better communicators. Women are better listeners than men, and this is exactly the skill that is most critical for managing employees and customers. According to Dr. Susan Sherwood, this is a result of women being more discussion oriented and men wanting to just take action. Men communicate through activities rather than conversations.
  2. Better community builders. Women are better consensus builders and don’t have the need like men to direct everyone in what to do. In this world of the connected Internet, “beta managers,” those that know how to build cooperative relationships, are becoming more successful than traditional “alpha managers.”
  3. Stronger business ethics. Bart and McQueen found that women, who are effective managers, “acknowledge and consider the rights of others in the pursuit of fairness … that is consistently applied in a non-arbitrary fashion.
  4. More patience. Women are far more patient with employees than men. They are less likely to jump to an immediate conclusion or make a quick decision or take action too soon. A study commissioned by myHermes shows that women are willing to wait longer for a desired result.
  5. Better at activating passion. According to Jay Forte, author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, women are “more astute about knowing how to activate passion in their employees. They watch the 43 muscles in your face and see how your emotions change.”

Do we all give in to these assertions? Or are some fellows having a few reservations? Well, whatever the case and irrespective of the sex, a boss is a boss and what makes a better boss is his/her leadership style.

  1. Facebook launches a payment platform for the youth.

    edit-001-facebook-paymentFacebook will democratize mobile payments by enabling its user base to make payments to each other using the Facebook Messenger platform, or to buy products marketed or advertised via Facebook. How exactly what Facebook is planning to integrate payments into its existing services remains uncertain. However, Facebook has hired PayPal president, David Marcus, as VP of Messaging Products, which should help the company launch a competitive offering


  2. WiFi calling on the rise as market evolves.

    WiFi has become a critical component of some carriers’ business models as they use the technology to offload traffic from their congested networks. However, WiFi’s availability is also opening the door to new competitors using unlicensed spectrum to challenge carriers’ services that are delivered over licensed airwaves. WiFi’s market impact will evolve during 2015 on multiple fronts, including a broader adoption of WiFi calling.


  3. Operators’ focus will return to securing the network core, as privacy concerns converge with security.

    Undoubtedly one of the biggest security stories of the year was the Edward Snowden leaks which firmly brought core network surveillance into the spotlight. The line between what represents an invasion of privacy and national security is blurred in the minds of most consumers. Mobile operators are coming under increasing scrutiny and consumers are starting to ask valid questions regarding their privacy. In 2015, we expect to see much greater focus on the part of MNOs in securing their own networks to deliver this reassurance to their subscribers.


  4. Chinese brands have increasing impact on smartphone UX trends.

    In 2015, Chinese OEMs are likely to launch more premium designed mobile devices that utilize differentiating materials or form factors to capture more consumer attention. This will push established OEMs to also deliver innovation in industrial design. Creative features and services that could improve the media and social experiences on the move are most likely to attract Chinese consumers, while features that bring better interaction experience on a large screen device will be critical. A more complete eco-system that covers devices across all screen sizes, from wearbles (2-inch) mobile devices (4-5”), tablets (7-9”) and televisions (40-60”), and that interact with smart home technology will help Chinese OEMs to establish their brand presence and build up their consumer loyalty. Top Chinese brands are moving rapidly from followers to innovators.


  5. Wearables and the connected home.

    Wearable tech is huge right now but, towards the end of 2015, we will be seeing the first real examples of wearables interconnecting with smart home devices, to enable users to personalise their home – so music follows them into every room they enter or lights turn on based on the homeowner’s preferences.


  6. IoT in 2015: An evolution from connected toothbrushes and Fitbits to Industrial data.

    In 2015, Splunk expects to see the conversation around IoT extend beyond consumer devices to the disruption this will cause in traditional ‘bricks & mortar’ industries like building, manufacturing and transportation. Ultimately the driving force behind IoT will be the value of the data produced from connected devices. Organisations will be looking at how that data can be used in real-time “business moments”. For example, manufacturing is an area that is increasingly benefitting from the combination of IoT and big data. By linking up sensors and robotics to automate processes, manufactures are becoming more efficient while also generating a massive amount of ‘machine data’ which can be indexed, monitored and analysed to provide real time problem solving, machine health monitoring and costs avoidance. Intel implemented this combination in its manufacturing facility in Malaysia with a view to improving productivity. By incorporating predictive machine health to reduce component failure, the pilot optimised the process to realise savings of $9 million.


  7. The streamed future.

    Media use patterns are globalizing. Viewers are shifting towards easy-to-use on-demand services that allow cross-platform access to video content. 2015 will be historic as more people will watch streamed video on a weekly basis than broadcast TV.


  8. 2015 – The year of NFC, at last.

    For several years now, NFC has been ‘the next big thing’ in payments. Finally, it may now be in a position to justify the hype. Notwithstanding the continuing reluctance of a number of US retailers to engage with NFC, we believe that the combination of Apple Pay and HCE (Host Card Emulation) should provide substantial impetus for NFC payments.

    Apple Pay’s combination of proximity and remote purchase capability should mean that usage of one cross-promotes the other. Meanwhile, the arrival of a model whereby the secure element no longer resides on the SIM card but instead is remote to the handset removes the necessity for MNO (Mobile Network Operator) involvement, making NFC more attractive to banks.

    In the US, Tim Cook has already confirmed that more than 1 million credit cards were activated on Apple Pay within 3 days of its going live in the US; in Europe, the first banks have now launched commercial HCE-based NFC services. The initial omens are good: expect to see substantial consumer adoption by the end of 2015.


  9. LTE Small Cells slowdown, while LTE-U picks up pace.

    The LTE Small Cell market will continue to develop very slowly as the industry struggles with business model issues around who pays for indoor deployments. Most of the excitement around LTE small cells has focused on the indoor market as that is where the people are, but the economics point toward venues having to pay for these deployments. That seems unlikely without a neutral host LTE small cell. LTE in the unlicensed bands (aka LTE-U) generated lots of discussion in 2014. The technology will be a success IF 3GPP implements Listen-Before-Talk so as to be a good neighbour for Wi-Fi. 2015 will see significant progress in this direction.


  10. The move to soft SIMs gathers speed.

    Northstream has historically been outspoken about operators’ need to reduce their dependency on legacy processes, systems and technologies. SIM cards are no exception. 2015 will be the year when the business case for operators to abandon SIM cards and move to soft SIM technology becomes impossible to ignore. The accelerating number of IoT installations with specialised SIM specifications, the cost-savings for operators, plus growing end-user demand for greater flexibility, will encourage the industry to widely adopt a soft SIM solution.


  11. More than 20 European operators launch commercial VoLTE services in 2015.

    The rash of launches is driven by a desire to improve network efficiency and generate cost savings rather than find new sources of revenue. A greater range of supporting devices including the iPhone 6 boosts early adoption. Operators quickly realise that they have underinvested in voice call quality and in parallel many launch voice-over-Wi-Fi services to tackle the challenges of poor indoor coverage. VoLTE finds favour among business customers, paving the way for the introduction of a range of new applications such as high-quality video conferencing.


  12. 3rd smartphone business model will establish itself.

    The smartphone industry is currently dominated by two business models: Apple’s of using unique software and ecosystem to drive hardware margin, and Google’s of using platform ubiquity to generate internet traffic to sell ads against. All smartphone vendors bar Apple are struggling, and that even includes Samsung, so something’s got to give.

    The solution is currently being exemplified by Xiaomi. In a mature handset market margins are inevitably tight, so why not give them up entirely in order to build up an installed base you can then sell mobile software and services to? This approach has vaulted Xiaomi to third place among global smartphone vendors and dramatically increased its value.

    Amazon is trying this approach, but while Xiaomi is targeting the mid-market with its competitively-priced handsets Amazon went for the top, and is now sitting on so much unsold stock it’s questionable even its many warehouses can accommodate it. Amazon will launch the Fire Mini, or some such concession to the mid-market, but it will still need to convince consumers to defect from regular Android.

    The biggest exponent of the third way will be Microsoft. It clearly gave up on the concept of making money from Windows Phone licenses when it acquired its biggest customer – Nokia Devices. Since then there has been the inevitable period of adjustment, during which Lumia devices haven’t exactly had a renaissance. Microsoft will use the Lumia range as hero products, much as it does Surface for tablets, but expect it to push software and services such as Mobile Office hard across all platforms in 2015.


The Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Tony Ojobo, has advocated for flexible and robust tax regime for operators of the nation’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector as a way of boosting growth and profitability.

Mr. Ojobo said this on the sideline at the recently held International Telecoms Union (ITU) Telecom World conference in Budapest, Hungary. He said: “unfriendly tax system is a disincentive to investment and so, if you have a friendly tax regime especially for investment, there will be no anxiety for investors and it will go a long way in creating jobs and also growing businesses.”

He said the commission has been working assiduously with various stakeholders in the country to make them understand the negative implications of multiple taxation on the inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the nation’s telecoms sector.

“We are talking with Governors and other stakeholders to reach a common ground in the way telecoms taxes are imposed so that it does not hurt the government, the investors and the consumers. At the end of the day, we expect a win-win situation for all the stakeholders including the government because if we have more investments coming in, it will translate to more subscribers across all platforms namely voice, data and video and this will in the long run aggregate to more tax paid to government”, he said.

edit-003-politics
Juwah Scorecard at a Glance
  • Number of telephone lines grew from 88million to 140 million
  • Foreign Direct Investments rocketed from $18billion to over $32 billion
  • Initiated and launched a National Broadband Strategy
  • Engendered more competition leading to drastic decrease in tariff and cost of short message service (SMS)
  • Revolutionised e-Governance making Nigeria gain 21 points on the Global ranking
  • Created more jobs in the sector than at any other time
  • Telecom now contributes 9.58 percent of GDP, the 4th largest contributor
  • Increased tele-density to over 100 percent from 68 percent in 2010
  • Nigeria now has over 11 terra bits per second (Tbps) bandwidth capacity landing at her shores namely: SAT3, Glo1, MainOne, WACS  and ACE
  • Broadband penetration now 8% from 6% in 2010
  • 1.4 million students in 27 Federal Universities now connected via NgREN courtesy of Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF)
  • 1,552 secondary schools equipped with ICT tools and 1,458,880 students estimated to have been introduced to ICTs through the USPF.
  • Enhanced International Profile for Nigeria:Out of 360 nominations from 74 countries, Nigeria  emerged winner in the 7th Category of  International Telecommunication Union (ITU) “ICT and Broadband strategies, policies and  frameworks that promote women's digital empowerment.”

When Dr. Eugene Juwah assumed office as the Executive Vice Chairman cum Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in July 2010, he listed six areas which, he stressed, would be the centre of his focus in the next five years. They are consolidation and integration of mobile wireless services; fixed line and broadband deployment for national development; enhanced competitive market, enhanced choice for the consumer; vigorous compliance monitoring and enforcement of regulations and directions; national connectivity for accelerated growth; and enhanced international relations.

Juwah’s agenda looked good especially in the dual area of broadband deployment and compliance monitoring and enforcement of regulations. Today, looking back and in view of the preponderance of evidence, it is safe to say that Juwah has achieved his six-point agenda and even much more. For five years, he showed a strong desire to fight for the telecom consumer. Six things have stood him out in this regard: The banning of promotions and lotteries by operators; slashing tariff on text messages from about N10 to N4, the downward review of interconnect rates among operators which had the direct consequence of reducing tariff on voice calls, the introduction of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) which empowers consumers to change their service provider without changing their number, the successful auction of the 2.3 GHz frequency spectrum and the adoption of Open Access model as a precursor to broadband rollout. These six bold moves, taking in context, have had the direct impact of improving quality of service, cutting the budget of consumers on both voice calls and text messages as well as improving the throughput of operators.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission’s functions and duties are set out in the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (the “Act”). Section 4 of the Act lists the Commission’s functions, which include the facilitation of investments in and entry into the Nigerian market for the provision and supply of communications services, equipment and facilities. It permits the NCC to ensure the protection and promotion of the interests of consumers against unfair practices including but not limited to matters relating to tariffs and charges and the availability and quality of communications services, equipment and facilities. The section also encourages the regulator to pursue the promotion of fair competition in the communications industry and protection of communications services and facilities providers from the misuse of market power or anticompetitive and unfair practices by other service or facilities providers. The last review of the interconnection rate was in 2009. Between then and now, a lot has happened in the sector including quantum growth in network throughput. Currently, Nigeria has over 140 million telephone lines. This has engendered more competition among operators.

And if you throw into this menu of tariff slash the introduction of Mobile Number Portability (MNP), what you get is a highly competitive marketplace where the customer is truly the king. Juwah recognizes that consumers make the network. In a media interview, he said: “At NCC, we realise that without the consumers, there would be no networks or service providers and without the service providers, the regulator has no job; so we will do all that is possible within the law to protect the consumer. Everything we do is geared towards the protection of the consumer but in doing so, we will also give room for the investors to grow their businesses”. Juwah’s five years at the NCC has translated to the sustainability of the mobile telecom revolution, improved infrastructure among operators resulting in improvement in quality of service, sustained aggression and strategic focus in the run up to broadband rollout, creation of more jobs, a bolstering of investors’ confidence in the Nigerian telecom market as reflected in the growing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector and a record contribution of 9.58 per cent of the nation’s GDP by telecom alone.

Juwah has consolidated the progress made in telecoms since 2001 when the GSM operators rolled out services. “If we start from the parameters, we’ve increased teledensity from 63 per cent in 2010 when I came in to more than 100 per cent in 2015. We’ve increased subscriber base from 88 million in 2010 to more than 140 million, this is an improvement of over 60 per cent in five years that I have been here. And you should remember that the 88 million was for 10 years before I came. So we’ve done remarkably well in this area.

“We’ve also done remarkably well in the contribution to the Nigerian economy in terms of contribution to GDP. We’ve increased it from 5 per cent when I came in to 9.58 per cent. And looking at investment in the sector, we increased it from $18 billion in 2010 to more than $32 billion today. The sector has created the most stable jobs and as investments grew in the past five years, more jobs, both direct and indirect, had been created and are still being created,” Juwah said in a media interview.

Under Juwah, Nigeria has made more inroads into the international telecoms circuit. Besides, the NCC has become the benchmark for regulatory excellence among emerging markets. Juwah puts it this way in an earlier media interview: “we’re taking part in all the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conferences, in fact the whole world know us because we organise what we call Leaders Launch in every ITU World Telecom event where all the big shots in telecoms come and listen to us, and remember that in the recent ones we had, people like Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world and a huge investor in telecoms came and we had the opportunity of explaining what we’re doing in Nigeria to him”.Without doubt, telecoms is one sector that Nigeria has out-performed many nations including some Asian and European nations. It has in fact become the chief public relations tool for Nigeria in terms of investor assurance and confidence in the Nigerian economy.

The telecoms sector has grown rapidly in recent years but there are still challenges, one of which is the issue of quality of service. Juwah never shied away from this: “I'm not comfortable with the position of QoS in Nigeria today. It hasn't reached where we want it to be, there are still issues that make it difficult for operators to attain our projected QoS. Principal among them is the issue of capacity; the voice market keeps on increasing; the operators are investing but they're not investing fast enough to meet that increase. And that is why we jab them by fining them. People feel that it is not good to fine them, but if we were not fining them it could have been worse; I can tell you. But apart from the issues from the operator side, there are many other issues that are not from their side; issues of vandalisation of their facilities and one thing you'll notice is that bad service at times is intermittent; for a few days it gets very bad and then it gets better. What that shows is that a key facility has been tampered with and when it is repaired good service recovers. There's also the issue of state government interference; they interfere by imposing all sorts of taxes on the operators and when they don't pay they lock up key facilities shutting off subscribers from getting good service. If you lock up a base station for example it will affect many states, so, we're appealing to state governments to be more reasonable since their actions do affect QoS. But having said all these I want to challenge any Nigerian to show me a service in Nigeria that is more efficient than telecommunications; is it electricity, banking services, airlines etc. There's no service in Nigeria that you expect to get 24 hours, notwithstanding that there're a few hiccups here and there, so I'll implore Nigerians to be patient with us. We're improving maybe not in evolutionary way, but slowly and slowly we'll get there”.

2014Q4-editorials-naija-broadbandThe Nigerian communications Commission, NCC, has said that it is set to complete the process of achieving the National Broadband Plan, NBP. It could be recalled that the NBP was instituted to help accelerate the broadband rollout plan from 2013-2018 which is the Federal Government target at getting broadband access to all in the country.

Speaking at the 3rd edition of the annual Telecoms Executives and Regulators Roundtable in Lagos, the Executive Vice Chairman, EVC, of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah blamed the inability of the regulator to complete the process that would have produced the first two licensees of infrastructure providers (InfraCos) on the Ebola scare which did not allow foreign consultants come to West Africa.

He lamented that the Commission was already behind schedule on its plans to accelerate the processes that would eventually bring cheap, fast, reliable and ubiquitous broadband to every nook and cranny of the country.

“We are already behind schedule (on licensing of the InfraCos) because we are using foreign consultants who refused to come to Nigeria because of Ebola. I will go and meet them in Dubai to evaluate the bids so that we can move forward,” he said.

Under its Open Access Model, the regulator intends to licence seven InfraCos, one each for the six geo-political zones of the country while the seventh would serve Lagos.

Juwah noted that meeting the five-fold target of broadband penetration in Nigeria from the current less than seven percent by 2018 remains a daunting challenge. He lamented that the process that would have added stimulus to the achievement of the target has been stalled because the foreign consultants hired by the NCC to handle the bid evaluation would not come to the country because of the fear of Ebola.

 

Local Content: A call for Competence

The issue of local participation in the country has be on for some time, with stakeholders calling for local content initiatives to further drive the economy. Speaking on the issue of local participation in content development the EVC of the NCC, queried the level of competence of indigenous companies operating in the Nigerian telecommunications industry and their overall contributions to the development of the industry saying that they need to brace up if they want to contribute meaningfully to the local content development agenda.

Juwah, while delivering his keynote address said it was critical for local companies to have a significant voice in the provision and supply of telecom service materials within the industry.

He added that the companies must develop the telecom sector on a sustainable basis in the long-term and provide more employment opportunities, stressing that local content service providers to the telecom operators may need to improve on their organization, co-ordination, competence and capacity to efficiently and effectively manage complex projects.

Juwah noted that operators in the country ordinarily choose vendors to provide them products and services on economic reasons without the technical or operational capacity to deliver such products and services. He however revealed that a policy on local content has been put in place and was being implemented by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) while also revealing that the result of the Infraco bidding exercise shall soon be announced. On the issue of spectrum, he reiterated that the policy of spectrum vending shall continue. Other issues deliberated upon were multiple taxation, right of way, vandalism, security and smart city initiatives.

 

An all-inclusive infrastructure development

Juwah also stressed that a fair and firm implementation of policies, regulations, codes and guidelines for the overall development of the industry and the continued encouragement of investment in the sector will continue to be emphasised.

He said: “Articulating and implementing effective frameworks aimed at achieving the objective of increased broadband infrastructure deployment, availability and effective utilisation of resources (like Spectrum) for the delivery of mobile broadband, deepening competition, encouraging sound corporate governance as well as providing opportunities for local enterprise becomes pertinent.”

The EVC maintained that the commission had taken several measures towards the attainment of these objectives. Some of them are: The introduction of the Open Access Model as specified in the National Broadband Plan of 2013, the introduction of the Corporate Governance Code for the industry and an initiative to encourage local participation in the industry through the introduction of the Wireless Wholesale Access Service Licence for the operation of the one slot of 30 GHz Spectrum.

“The Open Access model is meant to address the challenges that has plagued the sector in respect of access to transmission backbone infrastructure at an optimal price required to enable increased penetration of broadband services across the country. The Open Access Model aims at licensing different players to operate at different levels of the broadband ecosystem.

“The Infrastructure companies to be licensed will provide the dark fibre and transmission capacity. The InfraCos will provide access to transmission Infrastructure on an open access non-discriminatory and price regulated basis.

“This eliminates the need for a telecoms service provider to duplicate existing infrastructure by way of fibre backbones, reduces costs and time to market of telecoms services, promotes innovation by players who will concentrate on providing innovative services as a differentiating component in the market place, increases competition and expedites the increase in broadband penetration.”

He therefore challenged local operators to ensure that they acquire adequate skills and have access to finance, and also display the requisite commitment, in order to be taken seriously. The gradual demise of the CDMAs was “because of lack of adequate investment capital. Telecoms is not for small companies, be capable or you will die”, he said.

BlackBerry, once king of the Smartphone market, now finds itself considering 'strategic options.' Here's how it all came apart.

2013q3-editorial blackberryWatching BlackBerry stumble and fall during the last few years has not been pleasant. The company once stood at the top of the smartphone market. Its smartphones were carried by mobile professionals in the tens of millions. These devices were the envy of the office and the company helped push mobility in new and exciting directions.

And then everything went wrong.

The company made a number of mistakes along the way that led to its current position at the bottom of the smartphone market. It's still losing share. BlackBerry this week announced that it is exploring strategic options, including an outright sale of the company to investors or other third parties. BlackBerry is close to the end of the road and desperately seeking an escape route.

Here's how BlackBerry found itself trapped with nowhere to go.

  1. It wrote off the iPhone.

    Former BlackBerry co-CEO Mike Lazaridis scoffed at the original iPhone. He thought it was a toy. He derided its poor battery life and balked at the idea that anyone would want to type on glass when BlackBerrys offered full QWERTY keyboards.

    The original iPhone may not be impressive by today's standards, but there's no denying that it forever altered the smartphone paradigm. It offered a big screen, a capable browser, and the best music/video experiences available from a mobile device, something that BlackBerrys (and most other smartphones at the time) did not.

    As the saying goes, BlackBerry didn't adapt -- at least, not fast enough -- to the changes in the market. Classic Darwinism in action. (Nokia is guilty of this too.)

  2. It wasted resources on the PlayBook.

    The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is one of the biggest tech industry failures in in recent memory. The company introduced the tablet during the fall of 2010 (following the debut of the original Apple iPad tablet earlier that year), and brought the PlayBook to market in April 2011.

    BlackBerry's leadership probably thought it was responding to the Apple iPad is a timely manner, getting a competitive product to market as quickly as it could. It did this at the expense of its smartphones. BlackBerry pulled resources away from its smartphone development teams in the months leading up to the PlayBook's debut. Instead, it should have skipped the tablet altogether and focused on its core smartphone business, which was already in trouble. (Handset sales are historically responsible for 80% of BlackBerry's revenue.)

    The one thing BlackBerry did right with the PlayBook was to base the operating system on QNX, which it had purchased earlier. QNX and PlayBook OS eventually led to the foundation of today's BlackBerry 10 operating system. If BlackBerry had only skipped the PlayBook and begun work on BlackBerry 10 right away, it might have had a better chance.

  3. BlackBerry didn't fire Lazaridis and Balsillie soon enough.

    BlackBerry's former CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, are far more responsible for the company's position today than is current CEO Thorsten Heins. Lazaridis and Balsillie were bullheaded and unwilling to change with the market. They ignored competitive threats from Apple and Google, they frittered away time and money pursuing the PlayBook, and by the time they realized their mistakes it was too late.

    BlackBerry's board of directors should have recognized this sooner and done something about it. It was obvious to everyone else that Lazaridis and Balsillie didn't know how to handle the changing market.

    Why did the board not see it? Had BlackBerry's board noticed the writing on the wall 12 months earlier, the company might be in a much better place right now. Was the board scared of what would happen if it fired the two founders of the company?

    Lazaridis and Balsille stepped down from their co-CEO roles in December 2011, ceding control to Heins, who officially became CEO in January 2012. Heins hit the ground running, but BlackBerry was already too far behind to catch up.

  4. It didn't take BYOD seriously.

    One of BlackBerry's core strengths is the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The BES is the tool used by businesses to manage their fleets of BlackBerrys. It remains a capable and incredible service for mobile device management. Once the iPhone and Android were proven enterprise devices able to run business apps, some businesses began to let employees pick their own smartphones. Guess what they picked? iPhones and Android smartphones, not BlackBerrys.

    The problem is that BES was unable to manage the iPhone and Android devices in the way it can manage BlackBerrys. Enterprises began to allow mass adoptions of these competing products and had to choose other solutions to manage them. BlackBerry didn't add the ability to control the iPhone and Android smartphones to BES until BES 10 was released this year.

  5. It delayed BlackBerry 10 until 2013.

    BlackBerry debuted BlackBerry 10, its next-generation operating system, in January 2013. The first BB10 devices hit the market shortly thereafter. Of course, by this time, Apple's iOS was onto its sixth major generation, Google's Android was onto its fourth major generation, and even Microsoft's Windows Phone platform was on its third major generation. BlackBerry 10 would have been late to the game if it showed up in January 2012, let alone January 2013.

    Of course, building an operating system from scratch is no easy task. Had Lazaridis and Balsillie reacted to the iPhone immediately in 2007 (or even to Android in late 2008), it's possible they could have gotten something improved to the market by early 2010. That alone could have helped significantly. But they didn't. The company released two more iterative updates to its aging platform (BlackBerry OS6 and OS7). These were both significant improvements over BlackBerry OS5, but not nearly enough to compete with Android and iOS. Along with the iterative OS updates, the company stuck with iterative hardware updates, too. The Bold, Curve, and Pearl lines remained essentially unchanged for years, despite the interesting and new form factors being introduced by makers of Android devices.

At the end of the day, BlackBerry's current predicament traces back to poor leadership. It's truly a shame, because the company had plenty going for it. Now the company's fate is surrounded by questions. Will anyone buy it? If they do, what will become of the smartphone maker? Will it be sold in pieces, which seems likely, or as a single company? Will it be shut down or kept alive? There will be no fairy-tale ending for the former smartphone king.

Sources
Information Week
Eric Zeman
August 17, 2013 09:06 AM

For the benefit of clearer understanding of this presentation, we need to highlight the evolution of IPv6, from the base of IPv4. Just like you may be aware, telephone lines across the world have been designed in such a way that when you make a call, it is received by another phone line. In same way, Internet connectivity is achieved through Internet Protocol (IP) address system, which ensures that one computer connected to the Internet sees the other.

At the early development of the Internet, IPv4 Internet Protocol address space was developed with the capacity to accommodate 4.3 billion addresses. At that period, this was seen as a very huge capacity that was probably not envisaged to be exhausted in several years. The phenomenal growth of Internet is already seeing off IPv4. It is now known that sooner or later, there will be no IP address left on the IPv4 space. This is why the Internet Engineering Task Force, IETF, whose mission is to make the Internet work better, came up with a more efficient IPv6 address. IPv6 space is developed to accommodate 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000. The idea behind this huge capacity is to ensure that even if the demand for IP addresses doubled every year, IPv6 will not be exhausted in 96 years.

The good news is that the addresses already contained in the IPv4, which is widely in use today, would be able to shake hands with those of IPv6.

broadband-picIncreased growth of a highly skilled workforce, a technologically driven educational system and a business environment that can compete on a global platform, are some of the numerous benefits of broadband. This was the position of the EVC of the NCC , Dr. Eugene Juwah at the just concluded Nigerian Broadband Forum. In addition, research has shown that in developing countries every 10% point increase in broadband penetration accelerates economic growth by 1.38%. This is because of the positive impact of broadband on small businesses through the creation of new businesses and improving accessibility to existing ones.

The Telecom Sector remains one of the few in the country that has witnessed a remarkable revolution. From a subscriber base of 0.4M in 2000 to 101.8M as of May, 2012 and tele-density increasing from a mere 0.04% to a current figure of 72.72%, the sector has indeed grown in leaps and bounds. However, with a very low broadband penetration in the country, the story is far from being a perfect one. Stakeholders who were at the Forum were unanimous in their opinion that one of the major ways to significantly increase the economic stance of the country is through an advanced and reliable ICT infrastructure and a high level of ICT penetration in the country. This is part of the vision 2020 objectives for the ICT sector as presented by the EVC.  The major question is what are the challenges that the Nigerian ICT Sector are still battling with that is making the broadband dream not to be a reality? In the words of Will Foster, the Assistant Director, Communications of ATKINS, Commercial and Financial implications, Technical choices, Stakeholder expectations and Regulatory issues are some of the challenges that may be plaguing the Nigerian Broadband Dream.  This is notwithstanding the existence of International submarine cable landings, SAT3, Main1, GLO1 and WACS (ACE in Q4 2012) and abundant bandwidth at our shores and Over 30,000km long haul intercity fibre laid. The EVC believes that while distribution and last-mile connectivity constraints may be a big challenge, it is still an opportunity for investors. 

Following a Direction to the telecommunications service providers in the country, the operators, with effect from July 1, 2016, activated the DO NOT DISTURB facility which gives subscribers the freedom to choose what messages to receive from the various networks. With this Direction the operators have been mandated to dedicate a common Short Code (2442) which will enable subscribers take informed decisions.

Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in a statement, said this action was taken in order to protect subscribers from the nuisance of unsolicited texts, and therefore a direct regulatory response to the yearnings of the subscribers. By this action, he explained, the Commission has invoked a regulatory provision which had hitherto been overlooked by the operators.

Taking cognizance of the broad range of services which include: Banking/Insurance/ Financial Products, Real Estate, Education, Health, Consumer Goods and Automobiles, Communication/ Broadcasting/ Entertainment/ IT, Tourism and leisure, Sports, Religion(Christianity, Islam, others), the Commission directed the operators to give the necessary instructions and clarifications that will enable subscribers subscribe to a particular service/services /none at all. In fact, a Full DND which is SMS “STOP” to 2442 does not allow the subscriber to receive any unsolicited message from the operators at all.

Below are the various options;

  • “SMS 1” for receiving SMS relating to Banking? Insurance/ Financial products to 2442
  • “SMS 2” for receiving |SMS relating to real Estate to 2442
  • “SMS 3” for receiving SMS relating to Education to 2442
  • “SMS 4” for receiving SMS relating to Health to 2442
  • “SMS 5” for receiving SMS relating to Consumer goods and Automobiles to 2442”
  • “SMS 6” for receiving SMS relating to Communication/ Broadcasting Entertainment/IT to 2442
  • “SMS 7” for receiving SMS relating to Tourism and leisure to 2442
  • “SMS 8” for receiving SMS relating to Sports to 2442
  • “SMS 9” for receiving SMS relating to Religion to 2442

Mr. Tony Ojobo highlighted that the decision of the Commission does not affect personal messages or person to person messages which are private communication by individuals. He urged the operators to comply immediately with the Direction issued by the Commission and never again harass subscribers with unwanted messages.

 

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has once again re-iterated its commitment to the accessibility and affordability of broadband and data services across the country even as it has commenced broad-based engagement with stakeholders on appropriate pricing for retail broadband.

Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta, at a stakeholders’ forum on the study for the determination of cost-based pricing for retail broadband and data services in Nigeria said industry-wide consultation was necessary in determining what is appropriate, fair and competitive in terms of pricing.

Number Portability
by Amaka Agwaniru

Ijeoma Ronke Aliyu is an upcoming career lady working in a top organization in Lagos. Her job demands mobility and so she has to stay connected via phone all day. Two years ago, she discovered that she enjoyed the Blackberry services of one network, so she got a line from them, though she's not too keen on any of their other offers. Ijeoma loves the fact that she can make international calls cheaper on another network, so she gets their line too and because of the constant freebies offered on yet a different network, she also acquires that line.

Whoops! She has 3 mobile phones from 3 different networks. She gets enough strength exercises because her handbag weighs like a 2kg dumbbell(!), not to mention the inconvenience and expense of being on 3 networks!

At long last though, Ijeoma has discovered one network which would answer all her telecom needs. There is a problem though; the network is not part of the phones she presently carries and if she were to drop her three lines in favor of her new line, her many contacts would not be able to reach her. So how does she retain her main number even though she's switching to another network, without the challenges of losing contacts, the stress of informing everyone about her new line and other related issues?

The answer is Number Portability; one of the major projects of the NCC that will hopefully kick off towards the end of the year 2012. The major objective is to eradicate such scenarios like the one above and present solutions and qualitative choice for Ijeoma and millions other Nigerians like her.

___________________________________________________________

Local Number Portability (LNP)
for fixed lines.

Full Mobile Number Portability (FMNP)
for mobile phone lines.

Number Portability refers to the ability to transfer either an existing fixed-line or mobile telephone number assigned by a Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) and reassign it to another carrier. In most cases, there are limitations to transferability with regards to geography, service area coverage and technology.

In the United States and Canada, mobile number portability is referred to simply as WNP or WLNP (Wireless LNP). In the rest of the world it is referred to as mobile number portability, (MNP). Wireless Number Portability is available in some parts of Africa, Asia, Australia, Latin America and most European countries including Britain; however, this relates to transferability between mobile phone lines only. Canada, and the United States are the only countries in the world that offer full number portability transfers between both fixed lines and mobile phone lines, because mobile and fixed line numbers are mixed in the same area codes, and are billed identically for the calling party, the mobile user usually pays for incoming calls; in other countries all mobile numbers are placed in higher priced mobile-dedicated area codes and the originator of the call to the mobile phone pays for the call. Hong Kong also fulfills the criteria listed above (no area code in Hong Kong, call billings are identical no matter for calling to fixed or mobile, and mobile user pays for incoming calls). Although the government of Hong Kong has approved fixed-mobile number portability, this service is still not available (see below for details).

___________________________________________________________

Country Implementation Date Time To Port Price Comment
Bahrain 03/07/2011 3 Days Free Implemented by Systor Intereurope Systems.
Egypt ??/08/2008   Free NPC serves the centralized administrative and provisioning role of MNP. Number Portability Clearinghouse is handled by Telcordia Technologies, where Giza Systems is the system integrator.
Ghana 07/072011 1 Day Free Porting Access BV of the Netherlands (commonly known as PortingXS) along with their local partner CIS Ghana Limited are handling the central equipment for MNP in Ghana.
Israel 03/122007 3-4 Hours Free Services include landlines as well as mobile numbers. Additional restrictions may apply to "kosher" numbers. Service not yet implemented, but is still planned.
Jordan 01/06/2010 1 Day Free TRC started the process in 2005 and released the official bid to implement and operate the MNP during September 2009.
Kenya 01/04/2011 1 Day Free The Communications Commission of Kenya through and with Porting Access Kenya committed to roll out MNP for the four Mobile Operators in the country.
South Africa 10/11/2006 1-2 Days Free The three operators, Vodacom SA, MTN SA and Cell C formed an independent company for the implementation and management of a central solution. After delays, the implementation of this solution was awarded to local company Saab Grintek together with Telcordia Technologies.
Saudi Arabia 08/07/2006 1 Day Free Giza Arabia
United Arab Emirates 2012     Reported in media that UAE will implement number portability by end of 2012.
Nigeria 2012      

___________________________________________________________

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has concluded plans to issue a five-year license to operators of the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) project.  A consortium of three firms won the bid to operate the Number Portability Clearing House. The firms that make up the consortium are Interconnect Clearing House Nigeria (ICN), Telecordia Technologies of the USA and Saab Grintek of South Africa. The MNP scheme will allow telecoms subscribers to move to alternate networks when they are no longer enjoying the quality of services being obtained from their current operators, or when they are no longer happy with the tariffs offered by their current network operators. It will also enable them to retain their original numbers irrespective of the new network from which they may be obtaining services.  Subscribers will further save money, as they will not have to purchase SIM cards from each mobile operator, or maintain more than one mobile handset.

NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Dr Eugene Juwah, said after issuing the licence, the operators would be given six months to build infrastructure and an additional two months to test the MNP facility. The EVC believes that with the number portability scheme in place, the country’s telecoms operators would be forced to raise their service delivery standards, as dissatisfied subscribers would migrate easily to operators who offer better service. While some of the network operators, especially the GSM operators are perceived as heavy laden with subscribers and sometimes experience network congestion, as has been often attested to by the NCC, the smaller operators, including the CDMA, appear less congested. As at June 2011, according to NCC figures, MTN had 40.5 million subscribers, while Globacom had 19.4 million; Airtel had 15.9 million and Etisalat had 7.8 million.

In this interview with The Communicator, NCC Head of Enforcement, Compliance and Monitoring, Efosa Idehen, gives insight into why equipment vendors should submit their products for type-approval by the Commission.

Enforcing Type - Approval of Equipment

On the issue of type-approval we've done a lot, we've been able to bring those who don't want to type approve their devices to come to understand that all ICT devices are supposed to be type-approved. We're looking to collaborate with some government agencies because we found out that sometimes some of them go the Customs and Standards Organisation of Nigeria to get certificates and we've consistently told them that those certificates do not stand for NCC type-approval because any device that you're supposed to connect to the telecommunications or communication network in Nigeria must pass through a type approval test, that guarantees the quality of the network and integrity of the network.

So that is why we're this year looking at collaborating with government agencies that one way or the other impact on our own activities, because we don't clear those equipment from the ports; it is the duty of the Nigerian Customs.

If they know that you must have a type-approval certificate for ICT equipment for sure they'll begin to ask relevant questions. But for most of the non-type approved phones mostly brought in by people who are not actually OEMs; they just go and bring in any kind of phones as long as it is selling.

How Do You Monitor?

What we do is aggressive monitoring of their advertisement space to see any of them that are advertised for sales. For anyone we find that is not in our database, we cross reference them and see if we've type-approved it and if we've not we write to our other unit that is responsible for technical standards and network integrity to give us information on that particular phone and if it's not in their database we normally write to the address that is on the advert to inform them they do not have a type approval certificate.

We do this because ignorance is not an excuse in law and we also do not want to crush a lot of these people, so we just tell them they can't bring in those phones into Nigeria without type approval and most of them have actually come to type approve their devices; so we collaborate with other agencies and being on the watch out to find whichever one is there and sometimes our monitors go round especially when our offices go for their survey and intelligence gathering exercise nationwide. Beyond arrests, what actions are taken?

We do not have prosecutory power, so for every offence you commit against the law that set up NCC or any of our regulations, it is the police or law enforcement agents that are supposed to prosecute for us and we've handed over the people we picked that violated our SIM card regulation over to our police.

At every time we facilitate the prosecution but we cannot push it; it is a crime against the state so it is the police that is supposed to be diligent in their prosecution. We're working in-house to actually see if we can ask for a fiat from the Attorney General to use our legal regulatory services within the commission to see if they can give us the procedural power for us to be able to hire prosecutors to prosecute some of these cases, so that the police will just hold the suspects for us and then we prosecute them. We're working on so many issues to send some deterrent message to those that constantly violate our laws.

How easy is the process?

Type-approval is handled by the technical standards and network integrity team and I don't think they're slow, you know there are processes to follow but I won't speak on their behalf. If they were slow how would they have type-approved all the devices we have on our website. It is just that some people have this penchant of dodging, they see it as another tax for their business activities, so they just want to evade it and take the easiest route.

Tecno today is celebrated but they have NCC to thank for whatever they are within the Nigerian space because when we had a run against them, most of their devices were not type-approved. But since we approved their devices and they started putting ‘NCC type-approved’ on their products, the marked surged. The space is big enough, so what we're saying is that most of them should type-approve their equipment and let them have that opportunity to sell freely instead of bringing it through the back door and not letting the commission know.

Risks and Harassment

These are part of the challenges we face in our job; we receive some strange calls but we've put our cards on the table. We don't unnecessarily want to taunt anybody, it becomes more difficult when you use your position to taunt somebody but our job is to tell people to do the right thing and that is the philosophy - just do the right thing - even when we catch you doing the wrong thing we tell you the benefit of the doing the right thing and the harm in doing the wrong thing and we put the cards before you. It is your choice. If you choose the wrong one we deal with you according to the law and if you decide to do the right thing we encourage you to do the right thing. It's the risk we face every day but we thank God we haven't faced any major issue.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has lauded the performance of the nation’s telecommunications industry in the Quarter 1, 2016 he highlighted there will be  improvement in the subsequent quarters of the year. In monetary terms, this would translate to over N1.4trillion in first quarter, he said.

Speaking while receiving a consortium of international investors led by UBS South Africa, Prof Umar Danbatta also disclosed that the commission would soon meet with operators over the recent auction of 2.6GHz spectrum, which saw only MTN Nigeria, bid for 6 out of 14 available slots.

“I think we are happy with the level of compliance to regulatory stipulations in general, minus the MTN incident, which cast some sort of shadow in our regulatory drive to ensure sustainability and stability of the industry.

“I am happy, we are putting that behind us, and this is attested to by recent statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the industry recorded a growth of 0.5 per cent to GDP in comparison to the same period last year.

“In monetary terms this is going to translate to over N1.4 trillion, only in the first quarter of this year.

“While other sectors of the economy are recording negative growth, the telecom industry has been recording positive growth and it poised to grow even further in the subsequent quarters of the year,” he explained.

 Answering question on the 2.6.GHz Spectrum Auction, the EVC said: “We are doing a post mortem.  And we have not yet met with the operators to find out why they did not bid, except one operator.”

“The intention is to be able to know their reasons, and to know in what way the regulator can come in to relax some of the conditions in the process, if this relaxation can lead to more operators going for the remaining 8 lots.

“I am sure the commission will be disposed to looking at the reasons that prevented other operators from coming forward to bid, except only one,” he further noted.

He said, the commission incorporates elements of flexibility in its dealing with operators, in order to continue to sustain the growth in the sector, which he said, “has the potential to provide an alternative to oil and gas”.

critical national infrastructureThe Federal Government of Nigeria recently sponsored a bill before the National Assembly which when passed into Law would ensure that Telecoms Infrastructure all around the country is protected and identified as an important national asset. Some of the challenges facing the industry in the country include: Man-made national disasters, criminal vandalism of infrastructure, theft & digging up of cables for sale in the black market or for other purposes, destruction of telecom facilities due to road construction, community interference and oversight functions from other governmental agencies.

In the USA and the EU, Telecommunications infrastructure is covered by Acts because of the important role the ICT industry plays in National Security and the Economy as a whole, which is why this bill before the National Assembly is very important and needs to be signed into Law as soon as possible.

Critical Infrastructure Protection in the USA has been in place since 1996. The Patriot Act of 2001 defines Critical Infrastructure as those systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of these matters. (Wikipedia)

The NCC on its own part has been making use of various avenues such as the Consumer Outreach Programme (COP), Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) as well its most recent project, a TV programme entitled “Telecom Today” to educate Nigerians as well as to create awareness about the dangers associated with vandalism of Telecom infrastructure and this is due to the fact that without these infrastructures there will be no telecom services.

In Nigeria, the systems and structures that make up these infrastructures are often taken for granted to the point that certain state governments and government agencies move in with their agents to shut down BTS sites thereby causing disruptions to network services and in the process affecting Quality of Service (QoS) delivery in areas linked with those masts.

Cases of vandalism by criminals and terrorists as well as denial of access to overhaul or upgrade BTS sites by local residents demanding levies, have had dire consequences on the industry, affecting other sectors like banking & finance, emergency services, air traffic controls and local businesses.

There is no area in the Nigerian society that can be productive or perform optimally without telecoms services either directly or indirectly and it is our duty as Nigerians to protect these infrastructures if this nation is to make progress and compete with first world countries.

The Commission, Ministry of Communication Technology and Telecom Operators are working together to achieve the goal of ensuring the Telecoms Industry is well managed and our telecoms infrastructure remain secure and resilient. The Critical Infrastructure Protection bill when passed into law in Nigeria will recognize Telecoms infrastructure as critical to national and economic security of the country as well as its citizens and this will make the destruction or theft of telecom facilities a criminal offence.

NCC mounts road-show to raise public awareness

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has commenced a rally via a road show to mobilize Nigerians to create awareness for the protection of telecommunications infrastructure in the country. Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC seized the opportunity of the "Road Show Against Vandalism of Telecom Infrastructure" in Lagos to appeal to Nigerians to rise and protect the infrastructure considered the core of effective telecommunications services delivery.

Danbatta who was represented by Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs of NCC, stressed the need for Nigerians to collectively stop vandalism of telecoms infrastructure so as to save the industry from possible collapse. According to him, telecoms infrastructure has democratised the ability of citizens to communicate with one another.

"Most of us now shop online because of the advancement that we have attained with the telecoms industry. Some of us book hotels, buy air tickets and even check traffic situations on our telephones. "We share and exchange information, send photos, videos, text messages to our friends, families and social friends," he said.

"We are all aware that the telecoms industry is one of the biggest dividends of our democracy in Nigeria. The telecoms industry has also provided this nation with the opportunity to sell herself creditably among the committee of nations.

"Today, we are ranked among the fastest growing telecoms countries in the world," Danbatta said, adding that the industry was a major contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and had enhanced economic growth by complimenting government’s efforts towards diversification of the economy from oil.

Danbatta noted that thousands of citizens were directly employed by the telecoms industry and earning income as a result of the level of development in the industry. According to him, the benefits and the useful services being enjoyed from the industry are now threatened by the spate of vandalism of telecoms infrastructure across the country.

The Commission, according to him, was worried that vandalism of the infrastructure was slowing the pace of growth, and contributing to poor quality of services. "Vandalism of infrastructure comes in several ways. Some vandals cut or destroy cables that provide services across geopolitical distances or communities.

"Some engage in destruction of facilities at mobile telephone base stations. Some engage in stealing of generators or diesel which are to power base stations that make services available at all times.

"We have situations where local communities or individuals bar technical staff from the service providers from installing equipment or carrying out repairs on existing systems," Danbatta noted.

"We also have situations where people engage in willful destruction or damage of telecoms infrastructure, in order to extort money from service providers. "The industry has continued to lose huge sums of money as a result of vandalism of telecoms infrastructure, and more importantly, the nation has lost a lot of services as a result of this menace," he said.

Danbatta said that the reason for the campaign was to ensure that Nigeria did not lose her pace of telecoms penetration. He urged citizens to join the war against vandalism by being vigilant and reporting any form of destruction of infrastructure to security agencies. The road show which is aimed at raising awareness among Nigerians is expected to hold in different parts of the country.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has again expressed worries over multiple taxations imposed on telecom service providers in Nigeria. According to the Commission, the service providers are suffering untold hardship in the country as a result of imposition of multiple taxes and levies.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, said this in his message at the Special Day of the Commission at the 27th Enugu International Trade Fair.

"Apart from the taxes and levies, the service providers are further burdened with regulations that restrict right of way to deploy or expand services. Even when the service providers are willing to make services available, we as members of government at various levels and communities put bottlenecks on their way".

The EVC who was represented by the Director Public Affairs of the Commission, Mr Tony Ojobo, said that, for the service providers to make services available to consumers, they have to build base stations, masts and towers, which are some of challenges they are faced with.

The NCC boss said that the Commission had continued to engage states in the South-East to discourage multiple taxations and regulations.

Danbatta expressed regrets that vandalisation of telecom infrastructure was very high in the South-East of the country which also contributes to the challenges faced by service providers.

He explained that MTN was fined because of failure to register some SIM cards, pointing out that it was not a punitive measure but a way to reduce rate of crimes, like kidnapping and armed robbery.

In his speech, the President of the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Rev. Ugochukwu Chime, commended NCC for its regular participation at the fair.

Chime explained that the role of NCC as a regulatory agency was to ensure best practices, efficient and effective service delivery by operators in the sector.

He urged NCC to do more, especially in regulating operators in the sector and protecting vulnerable customers.

(NAN)

If all goes well, investment in Nigerian telecom would swell in the coming years with foreign direct investment from Poland. This assurance was given by the Polish Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Andrzej Dycha, when he paid a visit to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC. He congratulated the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Prof. Umar Danbatta on his appointment and sought collaboration between NCC and the Polish telecom regulator, UKE.

The Ambassador who expressed excited at the steady growth being registered in the Nigerian telecom sector said he would broker a partnership between Nigeria and his country that would see Polish investors staking their interest in the Nigerian market. He said both the Nigerian telecom and Polish telecom share the same success story.