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Airtel Nigeria Selects Ericsson for Core Network Upgrade




By peter oluka

Airtel Nigeria has signed a three-year contract with Ericsson to modernize and expand its packet core network, paving the way for even faster mobile broadband services and enhanced user experience for its subscribers.

The Ericsson Evolved Packet Core and other range of solutions delivered, will provide increased reliability and scalability to the Airtel network making it even more flexible in meeting the growing demand for new services.

Not only will these solutions optimize the uptake of mobile broadband, but it will also support enterprise services and form a secure platform for virtualization and network slicing enabling other advancedservices such as 4GMassive IoT and 5G.

Awadhesh Kalia, CTO, Airtel Nigeria said: “As the Smartphone Network, we are constantly investing to ensure that we deliver on our promise of a seamless broadband experience for our customers. With the completion of the first phase of this project, we have already begun to see the transformation in our networks.”

Jonathan Adams, head of Ericsson South and East Africa said: “As a longstanding partner, we are aware of Airtel’s unyielding commitment to delivering excellent services to their customers. Through this partnership, we will be deploying a comprehensive, reliable and future-proof suite of solutions that offers quicker time to market of new offerings and superior network performance.”

The Evolved Packet Core solution includes the Ericsson Evolved Packet Gateway on the SSR 8000 platform which provides leading performance and split control and user plane operation, as well as the Ericsson SGSN-MME which supports multi-access, GSM, WCDMA, LTE and interworks with Wi-Fi and CDMA.

According to the latest Mobility Report, smartphone subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to grow to 850 million by 2023 – a compound annual growth (CAGR) of 17% percent.

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Nigerian Invents Device to Replace GSM Recharge Cards



Michael Friday, a Nigerian scientist, has invented a device, ‘Mobile Intercom’, which aims at relieving subscribers of telecommunications services from buying recharge cards.


Michael explained that the quest to free Nigerians from over-dependence on highly expensive imported telecom services, informed his decision to come up with the innovative idea.


He recalled the frustrations he had gone through to draw the attention of the authorities to patent his inventions, said he would require financial grants so that Nigerians can benefit from the discovery.

According to him “Instead of going through Wi-Fi, our chip sets can transmit up to 5,000 meters, which is about 5 kilometres or there about. So if we are able to succeed in developing our own chip sets now, you will see that in an estate, you don’t need to pay money to a telecom company to communicate. In the US today, nobody buys credit anymore. All they buy is subscription. When you buy your subscription your data and your call card and everything is embedded in one.”

Welcoming the initiative, Engr Danazumi Ibrahim, director general, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), frowned that that over 90 per cent of the technology in the ICT, transportation, automobile and electronic sectors in Nigeria are imported.


Ibrahim, who noted that funding remains the major challenge impeding the growth of indigenous technology, agreed that the inventive work undertaken by Michael was what is required to achieve the technological advancement of the country.


He however promised to expedite action to ensure Michael’s work is patented accordingly, disclosing that between 2015 to date; his office has patented over 50 intellectual properties of Nigerian scientists and investors.


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Operators Decry High Cost of Fibre Optic Leasing



High cost of leasing fibre optic infrastructure has been blamed for the desire of telecommunications operators to seek ownership of that transmission link, Nigeria Communicationsweek has learnt.


Metro or national fibre optic infrastructure is required by telecommunications operators to transmit bandwidth from where they are bought to their network operating centres for service delivery especially data.


Stakeholders in the telecommunications space have attributed lack of transmission infrastructure in the country to poor service delivery and high cost of data services especially in cities outside of Lagos where most of the undersea cable that brought bandwidth to the country land.


Against this backdrop that operators seek ‘Right of way’ approval to enable them lay fibre optic along state and federal roads to move bandwidth required to deliver services to their subscribers.


Abhulime Ehiagwina, chief financial officer, ntel, a 4GLTE operator, said at a recent Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) ‘breakfast meeting with the CEO’, that high cost of leasing fibre optic from owners of the infrastructure does not make economic sense compared to owning the link.


“Imagine if we lease fibre to deliver service from Port Harcourt to Aba, it will cost us N20 million per month. The question is, how many subscribers can we get in a short run that will cover this amount and other associated cost in delivering service to Aba? This is why operators seek ‘Right of way’ approval to lay their own fibre links,” he said.


Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed that leasing of intra city fibre optic is not cheap either as it costs N200, 000 to lease fibre to transmit 20mega of bandwidth for Victoria Island to Ikeja in Lagos Nigeria.


It was in response to this that Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has licensed InfraCos that are expected to deploy fibre optic infrastructure for operators to lease at competitive cost.


Nigeria CommunicationsWeek also gathered that some existing national and metro fibre links are not being use by operators as a result of high cost which is why stakeholders are calling for articulated business friendly policy in the deployment and provision of telecommunications transmission infrastructure in the country.


Ajay Awasthi, chief executive officer, Spectranet, a 4G LTE internet service provider, said that it costs higher to move bandwidth from Lagos to Ibadan than moving it from London to Lagos.


Engr. Samuel Adeleke, immediate past president, Internet Services Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) said that licensing of spectrum as a way to increase broadband penetration is not enough to achieve the target.


“NCC needs to look at the proper use of its licenses moving forward. For instance, Globacom has invested in intra-city and inter-city fibre network, which are presently not in use. This infrastructure is required to increase broadband penetration in the country, the regulator should ensure the effective utilization of licensed spectrum,” he said.


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Nigeria Becoming a Mobile-first Country- Anammah



Juliet Anammah, Chief Executive Officer, Jumia Nigeria has said that Nigerian Mobile phone market, remains Africa’s largest mobile market, with about 162 million subscribers and a penetration rate of 84%.


She made this disclosure at the launch of Jumia’s Annual Mobile Report ahead of this year’s Mobile Week held recently in Lagos.


Anammah, said Africa boasts of a mobile subscription base of 1.04 billion, representing 82% of its total population with 435 million users and 34% penetration rate while Nigeria has 98 million users, 21 million Smartphone users and 65% penetration rate.


She attributed the growth to the multiplicity of affordable smartphones and a growing market for second-hand devices as one of the major roles in driving the country’s e-commerce sector, which is estimated to be worth 13 billion USD by 2018.


She noted that the multiplication of easy payment options such as credit or debit cards payment, even cash on delivery, and the increasing use of social media sites (active social media users) as drivers that enhanced the adoption of smartphones in Nigeria and Africa.


She said the number of mobile subscribers grew astronomically in 2017 and its penetration increased to 84% in comparison with 53% in 2016, adding that the availability of lower price points’ phones paved way for more Nigerians to own mobile phones.


“With an increase in the number of affordable phones entering the Nigerian market and looking at the trajectory of growth between 2016 & 2017 (31% growth year-on-year), there is a strong indication that by the end of 2018, there might be a 100% penetration of mobile subscriptions,” she added.


Anammah, stated that only 17 million smartphone users out of 21 million are active on social media via their mobile phones.


She added that Average Price of Smartphones in Nigeria Continues to dip Year-on-Year as against other African countries, stressing that smartphone sold on Jumia platform in Nigeria in 2014 was at 216 USD per unit but have seen a decline from 216 USD in 2014 to 100 USD in 2017.


She noted that Asian mobile brand like Infinix, Tecno, Fero etc, contributed to the declined with the introduction of lower price points’ smartphones adapted to the profiles of African users


Olubayo Adekambi, Chief Transformation Officer, MTN Nigeria, responding to the question on what influenced consumers buying behaviour in 2017, said that the preponderance of low-cost smartphones and the drive towards aspirational self-enhancement, coupled with exciting mobile operator-led propositions further drove smartphone penetration, with many first-timers finding a compelling reason to pick up low-priced smartphones or second-hand smartphones.


He noted that Peer-to-peer mobile video sharing and over-the-top video platforms drove incremental increases in internet usage, with the so-called illiterates joining the bandwagon to enjoy their latest comedy on the go.


“This mobile trend is shifting advertising’s focus from traditional TV to short videos shown as branded content with subtle product placement.


“According to’s Mobile Poll, WhatsApp is the most actively used app for video sharing and an average Nigerian spent 35 minutes per day on this platform,” he added.

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