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Danbatta Bags Telecom Man Of The Year Award

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Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC receiving the "Regulator of the Year Award" from Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, former EVC of the NCC.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO Nigerian Communications Commission, received the Telecom Man of the Year Award at the Nigeria Tech Innovation & Telecom Awards (NTITA) 2017 held recently in Lagos

 

Speaking to Newsmen after the Award, Prof. Danbatta, stated that, reputation they have achieved thus far, was through hard work, through flexibility and the way and manner they have regulated the industry, through attainment of targets they have deliberately setup for themselves.

 

He added, that they were able to achieve this reputation, through engagements with stakeholders in the industry, in the way and manner they develop frameworks, guidelines and as well as how they issue directions.

 

He noted, that these were the three ways they regulate the industry and that they normally do this conscious of the effects these would have in the stability of the industry and the resilience of the industry as well as in the prosperity of the country, by ensuring that they take all factors into consideration, which they hope would culminate in the social and economy transformation of the country as well as Nigerians in general.

 

Prof. Danbatta, also stated how the commission hope to achieve more than 30% broadband in 2018, “Well by Dec 2018, so we are looking at one year virtually, and I will like to leave it to Nigerians to watch and bear witness to the various initiatives that would be putting in place in order to ensure that we hit the target,

 

“I don’t want to preempt what we are going to do but I hope, when I speak to you this time in 2018 you will bear witness to what we have done.”

 

He also stated Plans the commission has to review the broadband plan, “As you are aware, the Nigerian broadband plan has been designed for the years 2014 to 2018 and as with most plans, this one too has a life span and as with most plans there’s a period for a review, monitoring and evaluation is an important component of any plan, especially a strategic one like the Nigerian broadband plan.

 

 

“I believe that the ministry of Communications is about to put a review process in motion, that would culminate in a hub, providing forces to muscle the answers that would arise from the implementation of the plan and I hope this will result in establishing areas where we need to do more, maybe in another plan,

 

“Many areas of the plan may been accomplished but this will require a review committee to look at the plan and to come out with what exactly is the level of the implementation of the plan and what do we need to do more perhaps in another plan.” He stated

 

NCC also went home with the “Consumer Initiative Project of the Year Award” and the “Regulator of the Year Award” at the Nigeria Tech Innovation & Telecom Awards (NTITA) 2017.

 

 

 

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Telecom

Phase 3 Sets Record Straight on Concession Agreement with TCN

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Phase3 Telecom, independent fibre optic infrastructure and telecommunications services provider –  has again refuted allegations that it owes Federal Government of Nigeria some money over fibre optic agreement with Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

 

A press statement signed by Adebayo Azeez, director Legal & Regulatory Services, Phase3 Telecom read “The attention of the management of Phase3 has been drawn to the false and scurrilous information about its concession agreement with Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) that is making the rounds in a section of the media.

 

While we will ignore the ridiculous insinuations that are far from true but intended to obscure what the real issues are, we wish to state very emphatically to all our esteemed clients and members of the general public that what was published is a clear distortion of facts and should be promptly disregarded.

 

The facts concerning this transaction are as follows:   

 

  1. Phase3 Telecom does not owe the Federal government the sum of NGN27.18bn over fibre optic agreement.

 

  1. Despite deployment challenges (including multi-year delays in linesmen allocation by TCN and devaluation/depreciation of the national currency), Phase3 has ensured that all undisputed payments including total concession fee payment, royalty payment and rental payment for equipment space to TCN are up to date.

 

  1. Despite inheriting dilapidated fiber optic networks from TCN Phase3 Telecom deployed a total of 2000km and installed state-of-art transmission equipment along with the rehabilitation of the existing fiber. We have thus far expended more than $100m as capital and operating expenditure on the project.

 

Meanwhile, it is also important to stress that the issue at hand, which is bringing up all these unfounded allegations, is the attempt by TCN to resist the harmonization of right of charges for deployment of fiber optic cables as agreed and communicated by the  National Economic Council towards affordable broadband services  in the country. This will, quite naturally, necessitate a review of the Right of Way (Row) charges for deployment of fiber optics on power lines (concession fees) to be at par with other RoW charges available in the telecom industry.

 

Fortunately, the contract review process towards ensuring the success of this project for the overall benefit of the country is currently under the supervision of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the regulatory agency saddled with this responsibility. And when that process is completed, we believe that we shall be vindicated as we continue to proffer affordable and robust service solutions that will see customers and other businesses rapidly leverage the opportunities of reliable broadband internet across Nigeria.”

 

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Court Judgement: Confusion over Future of 9mobile

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Spectrum Wireless Communications’ lawyers have warned all institutions or companies engaged in commercial transactions for the sale or acquisition of 9mobile that they did so at their own risk.

 

The solicitors to the firm, J. A. Achimugu and Co. and Dr.  Reuben Atabo and Co., said by virtue of the judgement it received on Friday, the transition board appointed to oversee the sale of the company had been nullified and the order appointing the board vacated.

 

Spectrum Wireless is also demanding a refund of its initial investment of $35m in Etisalat Nigeria.

 

“My client wants his money back,” one of the solicitors, Atabo said while speaking with journalists at a press briefing in Lagos on Sunday.

 

Atabo claimed that the $1.2bn loan secured by Etisalat was shrouded in secrecy as Spectrum Wireless was not aware of it.

 

He said findings showed that about $100m investment from Spectrum Wireless and three other non-bank investors was used to build infrastructure that some directors in the company used as collateral for the $1.2bn loan.

 

Atabo stated, “Our client and three other investors put in about $100m as of 2009. The $100m was used in providing infrastructure for the company. It was this infrastructure that gave EMTS the opportunity to go to the banks to obtain the loan of $1.2bn. Is it proper for United Capital not to recognise the original investor when they got the loan?

 

“We have written series of letters to the Nigerian Communications Commission as the regulating body conveying to them our investment and the need for them to come to our aid. They always tell us they are investigating for the past five to six years.

 

“Assuming they go ahead with the sale, we will not be recognised at all. It is better the issue is sorted out before the sale is completed.”

 

Following the inability to the resolve a loan of about $1.2bn obtained from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks under the auspices of United Capital Trustees Limited, the Etisalat Group of United Arab Emirates withdrew its 45 per cent stake in the company.

 

As a result of the pulling out its business and brand name from Nigeria, a change of name from Etisalat to 9mobile was effected.

 

However, through the intervention of the NCC and the CBN, the takeover of the company by the consortium of banks was prevented and a board was put in place to see to the sale of the company.

 

Companies that have been reportedly shortlisted for the acquisition of 9mobile after submitting their expressions of interest to Barclays Bank include Bharti Airtel, Smile Telecoms Holdings, Helios Investment Partners LLP and Teleology Holdings Limited and Globacom.

 

The Federal High Court in Lagos had on Friday nullified the appointment of an interim board for 9mobile, the company that came out of Etisalat Nigeria following the pull-out of its major shareholder, Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service, from Nigeria.

 

Justice Ibrahim Buba made the order based on an application by Spectrum Wireless Communication Limited.

 

The court order nullified the appointment of Dr. Joseph Nnana of the Central Bank of Nigeria as the chairman of the 9mobile; Mr. Boye Olusanya, as managing director; and Mrs. Funke Ighodaro, as chief financial officer.

 

Other members of the board affected by the order are Mr. Seyi Bickersthet and Mr. Ken Igbokwe.

 

The judge made the order after dismissing a preliminary objection filed by United Capital Trustees Limited in response to the application by Spectrum Wireless, a shareholder of EMTS.

 

The interim board of 9mobile, which was constituted by the CBN and the Nigerian Communications Commission, had received bids from about five bidders for the sale of the company.

 

The sale was to be concluded by December 31, 2017 but it was recently moved to January 16.

 

Following the exit of Etisalat and its directors in June 2017 from EMTS, United Capital initiated an action in court and obtained an ex parte order on July 3, 2017 to appoint a transitional board to superintend over the affairs of the company.

 

The transitional board rebranded the company as 9mobile and announced a bid for its sale to interested investors.

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Phase3 Denies Owing FG N27.2Bn over Fibre Optic Agreement

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Phase3 Telecom, independent fibre optic infrastructure and telecommunications services provider –  has refuted allegations that it and Alheri Engineering limited owe Federal Government of Nigeria the sum of N27.18billionover fibre optic agreement with Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

 

In a statement released by the company recently, it describes the claim by a section of the news media as scurrilous and unmerited while assuring its clients as well as members of the general public that those accusations were “unmerited insinuations that are far from true but intended to obscure what the real issues are…and should be promptly disregarded”.

 

Further to these, the company also chose to state that despite deployment challenges which include multi-year delays in linesmen allocation by TCN and devaluation/depreciation of the national currency; Phase3 has ensured that all undisputed payments such as total concession fee payment, royalties, and rental payment for equipment space to TCN were up to date.

 

That although a dilapidated fiber optic network was inherited from TCN, Phase3 has however, deployed a total of 2000km and installed state-of-art transmission equipment along with the rehabilitation of the existing fiber which has seen concessionaires expend more than $100m as capital and operating expenditure on the project.

 

The company stressed that the cause for unfounded allegations by TCN is due to its resistance of the harmonization of right of way charges for deployment of fiber optic cables as agreed and communicated by the National Economic Council towards affordable broadband services in the country.

 

A development that necessitates a review of the Right of Way (Row) charges for deployment of fiber optics on power lines (concession fees) to be at par with other RoW charges available in the telecom industry.

 

While affirming that Phase3 has always honoured the terms of the concession agreement with TCN in line with kilometer of fiber available as well as market realities and most imperatively the contract review process towards ensuring the success of this project for the overall benefit of the country under the supervision of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the regulatory agency that is saddled with the responsibility of the review process.

 

 

Strongly maintaining that Phase3 has never and will never be involved in such revolting act as defrauding TCN; as its unwavering commitment has always been to proffer affordable and robust service solutions that will see customers and other businesses rapidly leverage the opportunities of reliable broadband internet across Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

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