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

 

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.

Meet Muazu Adamu, a 27-year-old 2013 Political Science graduate of Kogi State University; an indigene of Kogi State and 2014 winner of Nescafe Get Started Africa Innovation Challenge. Muazu Adamu’s dream is to power Africa through his innovation; the Power Optimizer. He spoke to The Communicator on his dream and mission.

Conceiving the idea

Looking at the power challenge in Africa; basically Nigeria, the innovation is a power booster optimizer that helps boost the power of your generator so that you can use any high voltage electrical appliance in your home while the generator is on. The idea was conceived while in school because as students on campus when there was no electricity we couldn’t get our clothes ironed for lectures. The innovation has been up for over three years now but we’ve been putting it through tests to have it confirmed.

How it works

Once you put on your generator, you plug the extension to it and then the power optimizer is also plugged to the extension and then your appliance is connected to the power optimizer for use.

Managing your innovation before the Nescafe challenge

The first phase for us was to confirm the authenticity of the product by distributing it to neighbours for test run. Then I tried getting investors to come in. I was in the process when I got involved in Nescafe initiative. We had started reaching out to possible buyers and production on a low scale before I won the Nescafe Get Started Africa prize.

Prize money and your innovation

The money has helped me improve my device and increase production for more wholesale purchase. I have also been able to employ a few people which has gained for me more attention, and exposure to business management.

Would you have continued with your innovation if you hadn’t won the challenge?

I would have continued, though it would have been tough but I was determined to solve the problem. The challenge though was a big form of advertisement for us. It was an avenue for us to be known by a larger audience. The prize enabled us print fliers/ stickers to help us reach more business people to talk about the product, and rebrand our product.The competition has exposed me in the area of business management as I have been enrolled in a business training institute in Lagos.

Greatest motivation

The importance of this device to households has been my greatest motivation and the fact that if it is established on a larger scale, jobs will be created. But personally I don’t engage in what I don’t believe in and once I embark on a mission or project I ensure I give it my best.

Sources of funds before the challenge/vision for the project

Family members supported and are still supporting in many ways. I expect to get an absolute perfect device and an enlarged business in the next 5-10 years.

Empowering Africa

I see empowering Africa more possible for me at this current stage; more employment opportunities, innovation of other ideas and partnerships. I intend achieving all these in every way possible. I will not restrict myself to the power optimizer as I seek more opportunities and avenues to create wealth for Africans and Nigerians in particular. The success of my project will be a great source of inspiration to many African youths.

Greatest challenge faced by innovators in Africa

Platforms to support young innovators are mostly handled by unprofessional individuals who attach so much sentiment to giving assistance to innovators. ‘Godfatherism’ syndrome is also a problem. But I give my thumbs up to Nescafe Get Started Africa and Tony Elumelu Foundation where youths with great ideas now have a platform to be heard and supported.

Being text of the message of Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Dr Hamadoun Toure, via a video recording to the ICT Centenary Conference and Awards which held in Abuja on October 8, 2014.

Excellencies, distinguished colleagues, dear friends, I am sorry not to be with you in person in Nigeria for this celebration of ICT in the Nigeria Centenary. But be rest assured that I am very much with you in Abuja in spirit. Ladies and gentlemen, in the 21st Century Information Communications Technology (ICT) are everywhere all around us and Broadband has become an essential feature of modern life. It affects everything we do or even aspire to do.

Whether you want to deliver education, healthcare, clean water, efficient power supplies or good governance, ICTs are essential at reducing poverty and achieving gender equality; ensuring the inclusion of our society of minority and marginalized groups. ICTs are essential in preserving our environments and our rich cultural diversities. ICTs are essential to industrialization and promoting equality amongst nations and to creating sustainable cities and human settlements. ICTs are essential in providing sustainable consumption and production, peaceful and inclusive societies and capable institutions. ICTs are essential in driving entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth. And they are essential in the 21st Century to getting a job or keeping a job.

Access to affordable and reliable technology and Broadband infrastructure is essential both for social equity and economic productivity. This is why the ITU and UNESCO established the Broadband Commission for Digital Development for 2010 and also why Broadband for Sustainable Development was chosen as a theme for ICT World Development conference earlier this year.

Dear friends, effective Broadband roll out do not happen on its own in a vacuum. National Government intervention is needed in a form of a Broadband plan to avoid networks being developed in a patch work fashion and to create clear rules and regulations to achieve robust national ICT developments. We also need to recognize the importance of public private partnerships which are essential to this kind of infrastructure development project and we need a regulator to coordinate a robust management of spectrum allocations that also creates room for interoperable public safety networks. Broadband will help to unite the country and its citizens and help to bridge the digital divide.

I will like to commend the Nigerian Government for putting in place a Broadband strategy and plan, and Open Access model designed to drive forward Nigeria’s Broadband development. This has been done through the collective efforts of the Minister of Communication Technology and the Regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Legislators and the private sector with the cooperation of the President of Nigeria.

In closing therefore, let me simply share some words of advice in taking this excellent strategic plan to the next level. The use of electronic medical records will help improve healthcare delivery. Access to online instructions and teachers-students’ communication will help improve education. In nationwide public entrepreneurable public safety, wireless Broadband communication network will help to ensure public safety and national security. Smart grade technology for real time technology will help to deliver energy independence and efficiency. Broadband access and adoption at the local level will help build stronger communities. Better access to Broadband for job seekers will promote employment growth. Private sector investment will help drive innovations. Ensuring competition in a residential Broadband market will help address consumer welfare concepts. Social media can be used to engage citizens to participate in civic responsibilities.

Dear friends, Nigeria has already laid the fundamental foundations for the creation of a connected nation so all that is needed now is the determination, discipline, and collective commitment to ensure that the strategic plans are now followed through to the implementation phase. I am absolutely confident that knowing so many of you so well, that Nigeria will succeed in these honourable endeavours.

Thank you.

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has given an insight into its regulation of OTT (over-the-top) services in the country. This was contained in a report by the Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis Department of the commission titled: An Overview of Provision Of Over-The-Top [OTT] Services.  

According to the report, the issuance of guidelines on International Gateway Access and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry by the Nigerian Communications Commission is in line with one of its mandate of issuing communications licenses for the operation and provision of communication services, and to determine the eligibility criteria and other general terms and conditions of licenses.

“It is the expectation of the Commission that the networks of licensees operating under Full Gateway and International Data Access Licenses may convey data, voice and video signals either in their natural forms or in digitized formats. Operators of these gateways may also inter-work and exchange information by using appropriate protocol and signalling conversion devices. The IDA License is issued as a standalone license and is not be tied to any specific transmission medium for the purpose of conveying out-bound or in- bound traffic hence grants automatic authorization”.

The report further states, while this license is meant to cover provision of VoIP services, it does explicitly address the current challenges and threats pose by the growth and uptake of these services over the traditional telephone networks.

The commission in providing recommendations on the provision of OTT services across the country stated that:

  • The Commission should conduct a stakeholder’s consultative forum on the provision of over-the-top services in Nigeria to determine if regulation is required for such services and its impact on the growth of the Nigerian Telecoms industry.
  • Following the consultations, the Commission should review its Guidelines on the provision of International Gateway and Voice over Internet Service and also consider an appropriate Framework for Provision and Regulation of over-the-top services in the Nigerian Telecoms market.
  • The Commission must ensure that it does not stifle innovation since internet penetration is still evolving, access speeds are still low and there is limited coverage of high speed broadband in Nigeria.
  • The Commission should encourage network providers in Nigeria to innovate and explore more efficient business models that would enable them compete favorably with OTT service providers. Network providers can also take advantage of the internet protocol technology in the design for their network upgrades.  

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”.

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

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

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. 

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advised consumers who are not satisfied with the services of network providers‎ not to hesitate to seek redress by bringing their complaints to the knowledge of the Commission.

Director, NCC Consumers Affairs Bureau, Alhaji Abdullahi Maikano, made the appeal in Offa, the headquarters of Offa local government council of Kwara State during the17th edition of NCC Consumers Town Hall meeting held with subscribers of various networks namely MTN, Airtel, Glo, Etisalat in attendance. The theme of the meeting was: “Knowing your right as a telecom consumer".

Dateline Wednesday, January 11, 2017, Abuja:  The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, inaugurated the new Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) with a charge for the Board to deliver on Quality of Service as well as revenue generation. He noted that given the downward slide in oil revenue in the international market, attention has been shifted to non-oil revenue to sustain the national economy.

“Attention must shift to other critical sectors that can re-galvanize our economy. Consequently, leveraging on telecommunications and information technology is now obligatory”, Shittu said during the inauguration of the nine-man board.

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.”

In order to actualize and deepen the impact of Research and Development on the telecommunications sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently inaugurated 18-member inter-agency committee to achieve this.  The mandate of this committee is primarily to evaluate research submissions to aid the growth of the sector.  The committee whose membership is drawn from different professions including the academia is chaired by Prof. Muazu Mohammed Bashir of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. 

The following staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, have been promoted from Deputy Director to Director.

They are:

  • Yetunde Akinloye
  • Abubakar K. Yakubu
  • Idehen V. Efosa
  • Felicia Onwuegbuchulam

while the following were promoted from Assistant Director to Deputy Director.

  • Adamu Amshi
  • Gwa T. Mohammed
  • Ogbonnaya N. Ugama
  • Olatokunbo Oyeleye

The Commission also announced the promotion of 20 Principal Managers to the rank of Assistant Director. They include;

  • Clement Omife
  • James Kalu
  • Babagana Digima
  • Adejoke Atte
  • Usman Mamman
  • Henry Ojiokpota
  • Mohammed Dari
  • Sunday Atu
  • Nnenna Ukoha
  • Beluchi Nwanisobi
  • Abubakar Maina
  • Emilia Nwokoro
  • Okechukwu Aninweke,
  • Rita Emeka-Nwachukwu
  • Oluyomi Arowasafe
  • Dr. Kafilu Danbatta
  • Venny Nwabufoh
  • Safiya Jijji
  • Chizua Whyte
  • Tanimu Bawa
  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 Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, has said that the era of university graduates roaming the streets and looking for job after graduation would soon be over. He hinges his hope on the fact that the six new universities established by the Federal Government which will begin operations in September will focus on adding value to the current level and pace of economic development in Nigeria, diversifying our economy and positioning Nigeria as the leading light in ICT in Africa.

According to the minister, the universities will focus more on practical, hands-on education which will help students hone their skills and talents rather than on theoretical learning which does little to put student on good practical stead.

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.

As part of efforts to ensure that Nigerian telecom consumers get value for their money, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advised telecoms service providers to improve the quality of their services dished out to consumers. The Commission says it stands with consumers in their demand for better quality of service.

The regulatory agency said it is aware of the challenges being faced by Nigerians in telecom sector, warning that it will not hesitate to impose stiffer sanctions against operators cheating the system through poor network and arbitrary charges .

The NCC Director in charge of Consumer Affairs Bureau, Alhaji Abdullahi Maikano, made the statement in Oye, Ekiti State, recently, during a Consumer Town Hall meeting, where issues bordering on ‘Information and Education as a Catalyst for Consumer Protection’ were discussed.

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.

corporate governance

This industry is growing. The indicators of growth are evident. From the licensing of the digital mobile operators in 2001 at which time we had just 400,000 lines to the recent statistics that indicates that we have 130 million lines, you can see it’s a huge industry. Now the level of growth also goes to suggest the level of investment that has come into this sector; we’re talking about $32billion of Foreign Direct Investment, FDI. That’s huge.

Such is not a sector that we’ll just leave to work in any way or manner. And that’s the initiative of the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, when he came in. He envisioned that there was need for us to have corporate governance and he also being in the private sector and seeing the kind of things that have happened and seeing some failures in some organisations that really today are moribund, but who were active players in this sector before now. Some of the reasons for their failure are directly linked to issues of poor corporate governance. Studies have shown that lack of corporate governance led to some of those failures in some of those industries.

Very critical also, is the fact that we have a sector where the subscribers are also contributors. Now you have some operators that take pre-paid monies from subscribers; people pay in advance. In other words that payment entitles them to having a say in what happens in that organisation that provides that service, because if for instance there’s a failure what happens to the money that has been collected ahead of time, which is an investment? Subscribers are actually investors in these companies.

The issue of corporate governance is about accountability, transparency, integrity and openness in the way businesses are run. It is about people being accountable not just to the shareholders but also to the consumers. This is an industry where any kind of failure will have terrible consequences not just for individuals but for businesses.

In that regard, there’s need to have corporate governance that will determine how the businesses are run. In telecoms, we’re all stakeholders, the regulator is a stakeholder, subscriber and operators are all stakeholders. There’s the need for the network to be accountable to all the stakeholders and that is the reason the code was instituted.

The introduction enjoyed the buy in of all stakeholders and this is because we consulted widely and extensively and received input from every party involved. The commission has had a history of consultative approach; our approach has always been bottom up approach in all our processes. A committee was set up made up of people from the networks, NCC, Lawyers etc. They have been working for two years. What you see that actually came out as the final product had the input of all stakeholders. Most of our processes have that kind of approach, and when you have that kind of approach where everybody is carried along then you’re not likely to have any bickering when the end product is out.

This is exactly what happened in this instance. Both the service providers, the consumers and investors are happy with what we did.

One important thing to note about the code is that for the first year it’s going to be voluntary largely because the networks already have their own codes. But what every regulator aims at is an industry that actually regulates itself; that is the highest form of maturity in terms of industry regulation where it is now self-regulation and self-regulated, where operators hold themselves to account.

So what we have done is that we have shown the way it should be and they were also happy that from the onset it was not compulsory for them to be guided by codes like that. But even though it’s not compulsory, of course ethically we have a template of how people should behave in this market and once you begin to deviate from that people can call you to order. And for us to see how people will key into it, maybe after a year or two as the case may be then it will now become compulsory depending on how the market goes. But the important thing is that we already have guidelines of how to behave in the corporate world especially as it pertains to telecoms. We expect that stakeholders, service providers and all the people that are playing in this industry should be guided by what has been specified in those guidelines.

The President of TELL Communications Limited - publishers of Tell newsmagazine and Broad Street Journal – Mr. Nosa Igiebor, recently led a team of top management staff of the organization on a visit to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to convey the nomination of the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta as the CEO OF THE YEAR 2016.

Mr. Igiebor, MD/CEO OF Tell Communications told Professor Danbatta, that he was greatly pleased to be at the NCC "a public sector organization with an uncommon excellent culture of public service". "There was a massive response when we called for nominations, the choice narrowed down to the CEOs of NCC, BOI and NNPC but ultimately NCC emerged topmost, though the votes were quite close" Mr. Igiebor narrated as his revelation was greeted with a loud applause.

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.

It was a show worth every time and money. The maiden NCC Tennis League, the first ever league format tennis championship in Nigeria kept the nation’s tennis fraternity on edge for months. Mouths gaped, jaws dropped. What with the high velocity serves, the come-backs and the upsets. At the end, Team Tombim, walked away with the prize money.

But it was only just a matter of time before they were crowned champions. From their first game at the inaugural Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Tennis League, Team Tombim showed that they had the flair, skill and guts to become champions of Nigerian tennis and they achieved it on Saturday, December 4, 2016 at the centre court of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan. But it was not a stroll in the park.

Playing against a Team Civil Defence that has some of the most experienced players in the Nigerian circuit, the Abuja-based Team Tombim made their youthfulness count in their 4-2 victory that won them the N5 million prize money.

Team Tombim, made up of the new generation of players, has Christian Paul, 22, ranked a lowly 27 in the current national rankings, to thank for their victory. Paul beat former number one, Abdulmumuni Babalola, in the first singles and before upstaging immediate past national champion, Christian Enosoregbe in the match that clinched the tie for his team.

Team Tombim had carried a 2-1 lead into the final day, but national ladies’ champion, Christie Agugbom, leveled the tie after shaking off a very nervous start to beat Sarah Adegoke 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The champions reestablished their lead when Moses Michael defeated Babalola 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the fifth rubber and Paul dashed hopes of a dramatic finish by winning the second reverse singles.

Team Civil Defence got the runner-up prize of N3 million. The grand finale attracted top-level dignitaries with the first vice president of Nigeria, Sir (Dr.) Alex Ekwueme and former External Affairs minister, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, attending as special guests of honour.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, represented by Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs of the NCC said he was delighted at the high quality performance put up by the participants. He thanked the Championship organisers, the International Tennis Academy (ITA) for the grand show which was at the round robin stage played across the nation at centres in Asaba, Abeokuta, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kaduna, Onitsha and Owerri. The tournament has helped to foster national unity.

According to Professor Danbatta: “The main objective of the tournament is to raise the level of lawn tennis which is one of the most popular and lucrative sporting activities. Since Nigeria’s Nduka Odizor reached the Round of 16 in Wimbledon in 1983, Nigerian players have not made the desired impact in the world tennis circuit. We are witnesses to how tennis stars have brought fame and fortune to themselves and their nations, and we want to be identified to taking these talented players in Nigeria to the circuit.

“Part of our objective is to help in nurturing and exposing our talents through robust competition so as to help them perfect their skills. It is also promoting peace and friendship among the players as this has taken the game to various locations of the country where such competitions have not been held. So far, several matches have been played in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Asaba, Onitsha, Abeokuta, Kaduna, Abuja, and Enugu, with the finals scheduled for Lagos. Another objective of this tournament is so fruitfully engage the players, officials and the youth in some value-driven activities associated with this competition.

“The Commission is glad that most of the objectives of this project have been realized. We understand that most of the best Nigerian players are featuring in this year’s edition, which has made the quality of the competition to be very high. The cross section of the people that matter in Nigerian Lawn Tennis sport have honoured us with their presence in some of the tournaments, including Nduka Odizor that I spoke about. We are happy the way the tournament have been organized as shown by the huge turnout at this second semifinal.

“It is for this reason that I have come to join you today. From the reports that I have received, and from what I have seen, I am encouraged to promise that the Commission will continue to sponsor this tournament. We may also review the prize money to ensure that as many teams from different parts of the country, are attracted to participate in this tournament.

“Let me also invite other corporate bodies or agencies to support the NCC to make lawn tennis to count in our efforts to project the image of our nation and provide useful employment and engagements for our youths”, he said.

The EVC promised to increase the price money in subsequent edition.

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”.

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.

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.

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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).

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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      

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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.

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.

How do you open an account with the Cooperative?

NCC staff can pick up the form from the cooperative office which is located at the basement right opposite Ecobank. The membership registration form costs N1, 000, in the form you are required to fill in and submit the form with your relevant details of  your full names, Department, Status, staff number and most importantly, the amount you wish to be contributing every month which will be included in the monthly schedule deductions and forwarded to the Finance Department.

What are the benefits of opening an account with cooperative?

It helps staff have access to loans at a concessional or moderate interest rate, these loans are actually disbursed much faster than what is obtained in the banks, sometimes it can be done within 24hours, that is if you apply today, you can get paid the same day or the next day.


Honourable Minister of Communication Technology
Barrister Adebayo Shittu

Given the pace Nigeria’s ICT sector is growing and in view of the prevailing potentials, the Federal Government is targeting additional Foreign Direct Investment in the sector in excess of N4trillion ($15billion). Speaking at the maiden edition of the communications sector retreat for all ICT stakeholders in Ibadan, the Minister of Communications Technology, Adebayo Shittu said the plan for such investment was an outcome of his recent trip to China where he held discussions with Chinese investors. The investment, he said, would further open and deepen the sector to automatically become the beautiful bride thereby accelerating its contribution to the nation’s GDP. Investment in the telecoms sector alone currently tops $32 billion.

The minister identified five steps to achieving digital economy. They are building on ICT sector growth, policy on innovative continuity, migration to a digitally smart Nigeria, increasing revenue and reducing waste as well as smart government to deliver ICT and broadband penetration. He added that the first step to addressing this is to reduce both the public and private infrastructure deficit in Nigeria’s ICT sector for substantial improvement in quality of service.

“Inadequate ICT infrastructure is the bane of ICT development in the country and a leading cause of quality of service deficiencies. From broadband penetration to last mile fibre optic connectivity, this infrastructure deficit is preventing all Nigerians from gaining affordable and reliable access. Lack of affordability, due in part, to the proliferation of taxes, fees, levies and associated costs further inhibits investment in infrastructure required to support and grow our boisterous ICT market”, he said.

The minister said that Nigeria has a lot to learn from Rwanda, despite its size (12 million population). “As the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is already a regional hub for West African countries. We must now become the preferred destination for vendors to set up operations that cover the entire West African sub region. This will provide opportunities for the country to act as a supply hub for training, skills transfer, technology leadership and investment.

“We as a government will offer every support to ensure that our local ICT firms (service providers and manufacturers) have a qualitative competitive advantage over others. We need to work together to seize this window of opportunity to deliver the potential this sector promises by agreeing on and implementing a roadmap. If we do so, Nigeria’s Information and Communications Technology sector will attract international investors”, he said.

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.

edit-002-mainone-ihs

It is official. The winners for the advertised bid for licensing of Infracos have emerged, with MainOne Cable winning for the Lagos area and IHS grabbing the licence for the North Central. This was disclosed recently in Lagos by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah at the 4th ICT Industry Stakeholders Forum. Juwah said the NCC is currently working out the details of the issuance and that the winners would get their letters to that effect shortly.

The choice of MainOne and IHS seems to sit well with industry watchers as it was welcomed with an applause from a cross section of the stakeholders. Both are major players in the provision of infrastructure in the nation’s telecom industry.

Licensing of Infracos (telecom companies that would provide infrastructure) is a major precursor to the soon-to-evolve broadband revolution in the country. The commission had initiated a broadband plan which was later adopted as a national broadband roadmap endorsed by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Nigeria has done very well in voice telephony, ranking as one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world. Indeed, Nigeria was at a time adjudged by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as the fastest growing mobile market for five consecutive years. The ubiquitous deployment of broadband will not only crash cost of telecom services, it will improve massively the quality of service for voice, video and data transmission.

In an earlier interview with The Communicator, Juwah had explained his unflinching commitment to broadband thus: “To give effect to the broadband initiative, the NCC adopted the Open Access model for broadband deployment and rollout. According to Juwah, “the model is the leading model in the world, it encompasses the good things about access. It encompasses sharing of infrastructure, sharing of ownership. It encompasses competition because it structures the industry into primarily two layers; the wholesalers and retailers. If you're a wholesaler you cannot do retail. But most importantly it provides open access to everybody at the same conditions, so whether you're the biggest or smallest, you all have access to infrastructure. In Nigeria we've added one more; we said that all this environment is going to be regulated price-wise by the regulator. These make sure that our teeming publics get broadband at value for money.

“Right from the time I came into the communications industry I saw that the trend is changing from voice to data and data in the good form must be broadband. That's why you have good internet, good video service and a plethora of services coming out of broadband. Apart from that, broadband is a development product, a product that is capable of increasing the GDP of Nigeria, it is also capable of taking Nigeria into the knowledge-based economy that the world is pursuing, it is a product that is capable of increasing the efficiency of our younger generation; this is how we see broadband, and we see that it something that we have to do for Nigeria to enter the 21st century properly, and if we don’t do it then we've failed. We've taken the issue of increasing broadband penetration as a priority. To start off that program is not easy; you first of all have to convince the in-house people and the government that this is important and they have to support you. You have to tell the international audience what you want to do so that they'll get interested because you depend on them to bring in investment.

“It took some time for this ground work to be done, but we've started with a publication of our bid for the licensing of Infracos which is actually the major foundation of our broadband intervention. I can tell you that the response is quite interesting; response from inside and outside the country. I can tell you that the International Finance Corporation, IFC has endorsed it, they're supporting us and even helping us source for international investors. What we've done has not been in vain so we're keenly waiting for all these bids to come in and see the result of what we've done”.

The announcement of other winners for the other zones will come very soon, a top NCC source told our correspondent.