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6 Things to Expect from Google N13, 000 Smartphone

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During its Google for Nigeria engagement held on Thursday July 27th 2017, Sundar Pitchai, chief executive officer of the global digital giant, had announced the company’s plans to launch an affordable mobile device for the Nigerian market.

Produced by Japanese smartphone brand Freetel, the ICE 2 smartphone will go on sale for N13,000 (about $40).

The announcement has generated heightened expectations among Nigerians, many of whom are excited about the prospects of a moderately-priced smartphone in the market.

Here are six things to expect from the expected launch of the Google-backed N13,000 smartphone:

Round-the-clock security with Google Play Protect
The ICE 2 smartphone set for launch in September 2017 will be the first device to be equipped with Google Play Protect: a newly-developed security software which continuously works to keep one’s device, data and apps safe.
Google Play Protect actively scans your device and is constantly improving to make sure you have the latest in mobile security. Most importantly, the device is automatically scanned around the clock, so users can rest easy.

Latest Android software and apps
The ICE 2 smartphone will run on Android 7.0, one of Google’s most recent Android operating system which boasts a suite of impressive features including the ability to use two or more languages at a time and the ability to switch between apps with a double tap, and run two apps side by side.
In addition, the device will come pre-loaded with the latest Google apps. Vice President, Product Management at Google, Cesar Segunutpane lauded the global popularity of the company’s Android Operating System when he disclosed that: “Android is the largest tech ecosystem in the world today. In nine years, it grew from one phone to 2billion smartphones across the world. The ICE 2 device comes with all Google apps and will start shipping in September.”

MTN apps-enabled
As disclosed by Google during its much-heralded announcement, the company is also working in partnership with telecoms giant MTN on the ICE 2 smartphone.
While speaking at the Google for Nigeria event, Segunutpane highlighted the fact that Google has continued to work with partners and OEMs to develop devices for Africans, especially Nigerians, noting that the ICE 2 is being rolled out in partnership with MTN. For prospective users of the device, the foregoing means access to some of the latest MTN apps and/or special data bundles.

Japanese Quality
Designed for the Nigerian market, the ICE 2 smartphone is one of the devices from the stable of Japanese brand, Freetel.
Others include the ICE 2 Plus, ICE 3 LTE and Priori 4. Japanese products are associated with good quality – a factor that will go a long way to assuage some of the fears expressed by industry watchers over the low price point of the ICE 2 device while also bucking the trend of the influx of poor quality phones in the market.
Furthermore, the device is Google GMS certified. GMS certification is the confirmation that a specific device meets Google’s performance requirements and properly runs the Google apps.

Further rise in smartphone penetration
Nigeria with its booming youthful population remains one of Africa’s most attractive smartphone markets.
However, smartphone penetration (the percentage of the population owning a smartphone), while admittedly on the rise, has been hampered by the slightly high price points of smartphones.
With the entry of the ICE 2, Nigerians will have a relatively affordable and quality smartphone – a factor that will not only boost the country’s smartphone penetration rate but also encourage more people to make the transition from feature phones to smartphones.

Disruptive effect on smartphone market
The imminent launch of the affordable ICE 2 smartphone will have a potentially disruptive effect on the Nigerian smartphone market.
In addition to offering more Nigerians a good quality and pocket-friendly smartphone, the development will ignite keen competition and spark a ripple effect that will potentially drive down prices in the market.
Furthermore, the entry of the ICE 2 smartphone will encourage the influx of more quality-minded but price-sensitive manufacturers into the Nigerian market, all of which will translate to more investments, job opportunities and other benefits for Nigerians.

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Telecom

TCP: NCC Says Consumer Satisfaction, Robust Sector Top Priorities

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By Ugo Onwuaso

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is determined to carry out its regulatory functions to ensure that the companies operating in the industry were healthy.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman of the Commission, made the remark during the 81st edition of the Telecoms Consumer Parliament (TCP) held in Lagos.

He added that “it has taken steps to ensure that the telecommunications sector remains vibrant”.

Mr. Sunday Dare, the executive commission, Stakeholders Management, NCC, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman, said that “the commission would carry out its regulatory functions to ensure that the companies operating in the industry were healthy”.

The Chairman said that the regulatory body had made interventions to prevent disruptions in the consumer’s experience.

According to him, “NCC has commenced aggressive enforcement of the Code of Corporate Governance to ensure that licensees in the industry continue to operate as viable businesses.

“The consumer deserves all the credits for the past and indeed the future successes of this industry.

“The Nigerian telecommunications consumers are at the centre stage of our regulation.

“We at the NCC, being consumer centric regulatory organisation have decided to celebrate consumers of the Nigerian telecommunications industry consistent with the eight point agenda that I set out when I assumed office in 2015.

The number two and six items of the agenda are the core drivers of the NCC year of telecommunications consumer initiative.

“While the number two item of the agenda addresses improved quality of service.

And item six is concerned with protection and empowerment of the telecommunications consumers,” he said.

He also stated that all NCC’s initiatives such as SIM card registration, Mobile Number Portability, Broadband policy implementation, development of 2442 and 622 short codes as well as various consumer awareness campaigns were to ensure consumer satisfaction and protection.

Danbatta added that the commission would continue to look out for and protect the interest of the consumer without compromising the interests of other stakeholders in the industry.

Mr Abdullahi Maikano, director, Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of NCC, said that over the years, TCP had proven to be an innovative way of bringing all stakeholders together to discuss and proffer solutions to industry issues.

Maikano said that the TCP had continued to occupy a pride of place in the commission’s activities.

He said that NCC would continue to provide significant resources to ensure that the parliament is held regularly for the benefit of consumers and the industry.

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Banks’ Working for Early Sale of 9Mobile — Fidelity Bank Boss

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Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, managing director of Fidelity Bank Plc, has said that all the banks whose money is trapped are working together for smooth sale of the telecoms on or before the end of the year.

This is as the 180 days’ window handed down to the receiver managers of 9Mobile draw nearer.

Explaining industry issues in a recent interactive session with select editors and publishers in Lagos, he said “As you are aware, the creditor banks came together to appoint a new Board and Management for the company, with the Deputy Governor of the CBN as chairman of the Board”.

“The company has good fundamentals with about 22 million subscribers, and it is also very strong in data. Our interest is to ensure the company remains a going concern so that it can attract interested buyers. The banks are working collectively on this,” Fidelity bank chief executive revealed.

It would recalled that at the heat of the $1.2bn syndicated loan default crisis which nearly grounded the former Etisalat, both the telecoms regulator and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), considered the volume of subscribers and intervened.

Part of the intervention was the appointment of Dr. Joseph Nnanna, former Deputy Governor of the CBN to head the chair the board and prepare it for potential investors between 90 to 180 days.

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Vodacom Urges Telcos to Adopt IoT for Increased ARPU

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L-R: Mr. Olusola Teniola, President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria; Mr. Lanre Kolade, Managing Director, Vodacom Business Nigeria; Dr. Fidelis Onah, Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Nigerian Communications Commission; and Mr. Chris Read, Conference Manager NigeriaCom 2017, at the just concluded NigeriaCom 2017 conference in Lagos

Lanre Kolade, Managing Director for Vodacom Business Nigeria, has urged telecommuncations operators in the country invest in Internet of Things services provision in order to increase their Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).

He stated this in a keynote speech at NigeriaCom 2017 organized by Informa Telecoms Group.

According to him ‘today, telecommunications operators are facing a period of flat growth for core services and significant decline in Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). This drastic change threatens the survival of the telecoms industry, as substantial declines in user spending on voice and text services have caused a decline in telcos revenue. IoT has delivered a big growth opportunity for the industry due to the volume of connections expected and experts have projected the market will reach $14.6 trillion global market size by 2020.’

“It is therefore essential to seize the vast opportunities that this growth presents in transforming businesses,” he said.

Across all industries, IoT solutions have been adopted to provide a host of different benefits, from increased Return on Investment (ROI) to developing stronger relationships with customers’, with far reaching benefits projected for the future.

Lanre Kolade in his presentation calls on telecom operators to adapt to the changing times and source other revenue streams to replace what is being lost in the continuing revolution of communications.

“The Internet of Things offers significant growth potential and the opportunity to take a role in new vertical markets, such as automotive, healthcare and smart cities. As these sectors seek to adopt more IoT services, the opportunities that exist are vast. Whether you are a hardware manufacturer or connectivity reseller, adding IoT solutions to your portfolio will open up new revenue streams from selling hardware, software and connectivity services, to a broad range of value-added services, such as consulting, integration and support.  Telcos will have to look at the Internet of Things as a potential revenue generator to offset the declining revenues from core services” he said.

By 2020, more than seven billion people and businesses, and over 30 billion devices, will be connected to the internet.

The question is no longer about the adoption of IoT but rather its application to drive business success.
Vodacom’s IoT solutions support wireless payment devices and e-readers, energy usage and smart metering, chilling cabinets, remote asset monitoring systems and community health management solutions.

Vodacom recently partnered with Kaduna State Government to launch a mobile technology-based healthcare program, SMS for Life 2.0, in the state which aims to increase the availability of essential medication by monitoring drug stock levels and improving the delivery of healthcare for citizens who access public health services.

Vodacom is the technology partner for the initiative, which is a public-private partnership with Novartis and the Kaduna State Ministry of Health.

Vodacom has concluded the training and deployment of SMS for Life 2.0 in Kaduna, with over 250 facilities using the platform to date. This initiative is planned to be implemented in all thirty six states.

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