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Bracing up For Advancement in the Telecom Industry

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Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr

Ever since the telecommunications sector was liberalised by the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his first tern as civilian President, the sector, and technology generally, has witnessed tremendous development.

The tech industry is, however, set to enter another phase of advancement which all stakeholders must prepare for. I recently had a chat with Ajovi Aror, the GMD  of IPNX Nigeria Limited to examine what the stakeholders should be preparing for in order to succeed in the coming dispensation.

Ajovi Aror is a respected ICT expert with close to three decades industry experience.‎

Stating his overview of the current state of the ICT sector in Nigeria, Ajovi said that the ICT sector, like many other sectors in Nigeria today, is struggling under the weight of the current economic recession.

He, however, noted that a bigger challenge of the ICT industry is that Nigeria is mostly acting as distributor of ICT products and services of imported brands.

Another challenge he noticed is the general lack of support for local entrepreneurs, (Start-ups), who are struggling to provide products and services, especially, in the software environment.

Ajovi maintains that, for Nigeria to develop the ICT sector, it cannot remain as resellers, but move on to be producers of the products and services required to stimulate the sector, thus, adding more value.

This, he says, can be achieved if government has more belief in, and supports our Start-ups, as well as inject more investment in them.

Although, some stakeholders think that the bane of Nigeria’s progress in the sector is the fact that our policy does not enforce that Nigerians must be part of these foreign tech companies as is the case in Ghana, for instance, Ajovi thinks that this is not necessarily so because, the foreign enterprises such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc., are dominating the tech space all over the world.

What we should do, according to him, is to go the way if China by encouraging our local entrepreneurs too to develop equivalents of these behemoths, so, they too can thrive.

In China, for instance, they have Alibaba as an equivalent of Amazon, Baidu as equivalent of Google, etc., thus, enjoying the strategic intent of economic, security and development for their country.

Russia and India, Ajovi says, are already stepping up in this direction and we, in Nigeria, too must follow suit.

On the state of Nigeria with the Broadband to improve our service provision, Ajovi is of the opinion that, although, the will and intent are still there, the foreign exchange rate is not favourable.

He noted that investment in Broadband is hinged on a stable foreign exchange regime to enable investors plan and get return on investment.

He sees moving to 4G as the next step in the Broadband quest and this requires a lot if investment in fibre optics backbone.

Ajovi is on the view that right of way is still a local issue which the operstors and the government must resolve.

Many Nigerians are currently complaining about poor services in the telecom sector. On this, Ajovi says mobile services needs to be improved on by the networks.

He, however, said that, with Fixed networks, the quality of service is rising steadily as better ways  and response time are now observed by them.

On his thought on Nigeria’s infrastructure capabilities to drive Cloud tech to cut cost, Ajovi cautioned that, Cloud has a potential to widen the gulf between service providers abroad and our local development because we are not in that field yet, hence, hosting with these foreign Cloud outfits, hence, Nigeria should develop this area too for our progress.

CFA is the Founder, www.CFAtech.ng & Co-producer/Presenter,Tech Trends on Channels Television‎

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Telecom

NCC Hosts UNODC, Vows to Sustain Collaborations Against Cybercrimes

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will continue to collaborate with other government agencies and international partners towards stemming the tide of cybercrimes.

Mr Sunday Dare, NCC’s executive commissioner, Stakeholder Management, stated this on recently at the Commission’s Headquarters during an interactive session with representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC.

Kamal Toure, the UNODC eLearning Project Officer and Patrick Boismenu, cybercrime expert, were at the Commission’s Headquarters as part of their assessment mission to West Africa to gauge how well Nigeria, Senegal and the Gambia are able to fight cybercrime.

Mr. Dare noted that the Commission performs its regulatory functions in a way that ensures that its licensees take the steps necessary to combat cybercrimes.

He explained that “The role of the NCC here is to do an audit and make sure that we have all the ISPs having active databases and meeting the six months (data retention requirement) as stipulated in the license provision.”

Responding, Patrick Boismenu stated that UNODC is willing to provide assistance in needed areas to ensure that ISPs comply with requirements for data retention because of the crucial role data plays in fighting cybercrimes.

“Our goal is to ensure that cybercrime investigators have access to the tools they need to do their work,” Mr Boismenu explained.

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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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