Tech & Gadgets : NCC, stakeholders strategise on 30% Internet penetration target by 2018

By Olabisi Olaleye and Perpetua Egesimba [email protected] 08094000013, 08111813040

Telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and key stakeholders have restated their commitment to achieve 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018.

This was the outcome of their discussions at the maiden edition of the Telecoms Executives and Regulations Forum (TERF), organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigerian, ATCON, which held in Lagos recently.

Speaking during the forum, tagged “Removing Barriers to Growth and Innovation,” executive vice-chairman, NCC Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the Commission was trying to accelerate and achieve 30 per cent broadband penetration in the country by 2018.

Represented by the deputy director,  technical standards and network integrity, NCC, Mr. Bako Wakil, Danbatta said the impact of broadband in all sectors of the economy would boost the gross domestic product of the country.

“If the people can access broadband across the country, citizens would be empowered, informed and come up with more entrepreneurship initiatives.

“ Our desire and priority at this stage is to make good our promise to deliver 30 per cent broadband penetration in the country.We are in the process of licensing infrastructure companies (infraco) to deliver that project.”

According to him, Nigeria relies heavily on mobile network for wireless broadband.  He noted that the commission was encouraging fixed broadband to be deployed across the country by laying fiber optics to provide fiber to offices and homes.

“Once that is done, the capacity would be enormous because we will have unlimited capacity in fiber and people will have a very good experience in terms of Internet usage once the infraco deployment takes effect. For now, we are relying so much on mobile infrastructure for our data services,” he said.

According to Danbatta, the NCC is considering national roaming, and a study is currently on to assess the possibility of its implementation: “For national roaming, what we are saying is that, if there is only MTN network in a village and an Airtel subscriber gets there, he is supposed to ride on the MTN network to make and receive calls. That is national roaming, the policy that we are trying to implement.”

However, one of the panelists at the event, the CEO of Medallion Communications Limited, Mr. Ikechukwu Nnamani, said one of the militating factors preventing the achievement of 30 per cent broadband in the country was finance, noting that other sectors sometimes get bailout from the federal government but not the telecommunication sector. He urged the federal government to make efforts towards easing the financial problems in the sector.

“Once this is done, we can reach 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018,” he said.

Another panelist at the forum, the director external affairs, Ntel, Mr. Osondu Nwokoro, clamoured for the segmentation of the industry and also urged government at all levels to embrace e-governance.

Also voicing his opinions, vice president, regulatory and corporate affairs, 9mobile, Mr. Ibrahim Dikko, harped on access sharing, which should be treated with utmost importance.

In his welcome address, Teniola said TERF was a platform to create opportunities for the regulator to update the industry on the regulatory direction and plans in the coming years.

“This, hopefully, would enable industry stakeholders to understand how best to cooperate with the regulatory agency in ensuring the effectiveness and success of policies and regulations in the industry. The forum is designed as an opportunity for the regulator to receive feedback from the industry with a view to understanding the challenges and prospects industry players have to grapple with and explore to ensure sustained growth of the industry,” he said.

The ATCON president maintained that  participants were expected to brainstorm on measures that would fast-track the rapid expansion of telecommunications services across Nigeria in the years ahead.



Harvest of awards for NCC, Airtel, MTN, Vodacom, others


By Olabisi Olaleye

It was a harvest of awards for most service providers in the telecommunications sector at the Nigeria Technology Innovation and Telecom Awards (NTITA) 2017, organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Lagos, recently.

The event saw the telecoms umpire, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), clinching the Regulator of the Year and the helmsman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, named Telecoms Man of the Year.

Airtel Nigeria’s CEO, Mr. Segun Ogusanya, was honoured with the Telecom CEO of the Year award, while the company received the CSR Initiative of the Year and Telecom Marketing Campaign of the Year awards.

President of ATCON, Mr. Olusola Teniola, in his citation during the presentation of the Telecom CEO of the Year Award to Ogunsanya, said Airtel has continued to grow bigger and better under Ogunsanya’s leadership. He stated that the award was in recognition of his outstanding performance.

Vodacom Business Nigeria was named the Internet of Things Provider of the Year,  Telecom Business of the year and the Enterprise Service Provider of the Year.

In additionm the managing director, Mr. Lanre Kolade, was decorated with the Industry Personality of the Year award.

According to Kolade, Vodacom was taking the lead in the market with Internet of Things, using the technology to empower health care delivery, education management and enterprises to be more efficient; it drives digital transformation, helping businesses to remain relevant in today’s digital world.

“The Internet of Things is playing an increasing role as an enabler of economic development. Governments across Africa continue to adopt this technology to leapfrog developmental stages, improve service delivery, supporting healthy, well-educated and economically active citizens.

“These accolades follow long-standing track records that Vodacom Business Nigeria has developed in the market over time, delivering enterprise-grade connectivity solutions, cloud and hosted services, enterprise voice solution and Internet of Things to business in Nigeria,” he said.

Meanwhile, MTN clinched four awards, including Customer Experience of the Year, Best 4G LTE Operator,  Mobile Operator of the Year and Innovative Project of the Year (Lumus Mobile Electricity).

Also, the CEO of VDT, Mr. Abiodun Omoniyi, bagged the ICT Entrepreneur of the Year prize. He noted that the award was a call to work harder and not rest on his oars. He dedicated the award to God and his staff.

Other awardees include Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to the former vice chairman of the NCC,  Dr. Ernest Ndukwe; Special Recognition Award for Promoting “.ng”, which went to NIRA; Woman in Technology Award, CEO of MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke; and Special Recognition for Promoting the telecom industry, ATCON president, Teniola.

Danbatta, in his remarks at the event, commended ATCON for the beneficial relationship fostered between the association and NCC since he became the EVC of the regulatory body.



NCC tasks operators on 14 days data rollover

By Christy Dada

Nigerian  Communications Commission (NCC) has urged telecommunications providers to give 14 days window to subscribers to enable them roll over their unused data, even if they do not renew on the expiration data of the current subscription.

This was disclosed at the NCC Day at the recently concluded Lagos International Trade Fair.

According to the representative of the NCC’s vice chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, director, policy competition and economic analysis,  Mrs. Josephine Amuwa, the commission would soon issue a directive to that effect, in the interest of its consumers and subscribers, to protect them from unfair practices meted to them by various telecommunications providers.

She further explained that consumers have the right to make complaints to their service providers, but when they are unable to proffer adequate redress, the customer can make use of the toll free number 622 with which they can lodge their complaints to the commission, if their service providers refuse to find a solution on issues reported to them.

Amuwa further explained that the stand of the NCC over unsolicited SMS is unwavering. And subscribers can still send Do-Not-Disturb, ‘STOP’ to a code ‘2442’ to stop all unsolicited text messages that might be coming from the service provider.

The NCC advised providers to ensure better quality oftheir service by tackling poor reception, wrong billings, unnecessary deductions and automatic data roll over.

The NCC has also put the service providers on special notice about their current monitoring of user experience and they will be called to account in due course.



CES 2018: Intel, Huawei, Ford to analyse AI, mobility, IoT 

The upcoming Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is expected to have C-suite from all over the world to discuss and chart a road map for a digitalised world.

CES is a global gathering of companies and professionals specialising in the business of consumer technologies, and it offers opportunities for the unveiling of latest gadgets and technologies.

Some of the executives lined up to analyse topics ranging from artificial intelligence, mobility, Internet of Things and smart cities at this year’s event include the CEO of Intel Corporation, Brian Krzanich, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company, Jim Hackett, and CEO, Consumer Business Group, Huawei, Richard Yu.

While Krzanich would explore how the world is entering an AI revolution and showcase the amazing new experiences that are possible with the power of data. Hackett would make presentations on mobility solutions and smart cities.

And Huawei’s Consumer Group CEO would share Huawei’s exploration of future connectivity and strategy in AI, IoT and new smart devices during his keynote address.

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Author: Uche Atuma