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GSMA Unveils New ‘Mobile for Development’ Initiatives

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At the 2017 Mobile 360 – Africa, the GSMA announced several developments in its Mobile for Development programme, all of which support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Connected Woman initiative announced new commitments by five mobile network operators (MNOs) to reduce the gender gap in mobile internet or mobile money services, while Sudatel Group became the latest signatory to the GSMA Humanitarian Connectivity Charter.

Additionally, the GSMA’s Utilities programme launched the ‘Mobile for Energy Access’ initiative, the Connected Society Programme announced that Tanzanian MNOs have implemented the first tri-party rural roaming project in Africa, and the mAgri programme released a report outlining the significant impact of mAgri services on smallholder farmers.

“The rapidly growing adoption of mobile and digital technology in Africa has unlocked new opportunities across the continent, providing a platform for innovation, creating new companies and services, and providing employment opportunities,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “The GSMA Mobile For Development team work closely with innovative companies to deliver a connected region where mobile is positively impacting society and helping to meet the Sustainable Development Goals – this truly is the digital age for Africa.”

Connected Women Increases Industry Commitments to Reduce Gender Gap
The GSMA Connected Women programme today announced five new signatories to the Connected Women Commitment Initiative. EconetLeo, Orange Cote d’Ivoire, Safaricom Ltd. Kenya, Telenor Pakistan and  Vodacom Tanzania join with other GSMA operator members in committing to connect millions more women in low- and middle-income countries by 2020.

Through the Connected Women Initiative, mobile operator partners have delivered life-enhancing services to more than 17 million women in developing countries, supporting SDG 5 (Gender Equality).

New Humanitarian Connectivity Charter Signatory, Disaster Response Research

Sudatel Group, with operations in Guinea Conakry, Mauritania, Senegal and Sudan, has become the latest signatory to the GSMA Humanitarian Connectivity Charter initiative.

Contributing to SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), the Charter is designed to improve preparedness in disasters, reduce loss of life, and aid recovery through access to communication and information for those affected by crisis. With today’s addition of Sudatel, 112 mobile operators in 77 countries have committed to the Charter to date.

Additionally the Disaster Response programme, which manages the Charter, has produced a report that explores the socio-economic impact of connectivity for refugees in Nyarugusu, one of three large refugee camps in the Kigoma region of Tanzania.

The report provides robust evidence of the current use, value and impact of connectivity, and addresses the barriers and challenges that refugees face in accessing and using mobile devices.

GSMA Launches Mobile for Energy Access Initiative
The GSMA Utilities programme launched the ‘Mobile for Energy Access’ initiative to support SDG 7 (Universal Energy Access). It is estimated that there are currently 772 million people that do not have access to energy but are covered by mobile networks.

The new initiative will promote the crucial role of mobile in enabling clean and affordable energy solutions, and will help mobile operators to engage more effectively with the energy sector by providing feasibility studies and advisory services, sharing insights and toolkits, and facilitating partnerships.

Tanzanian Operators Launch First Tri-Party Rural Roaming Project in Africa
Three major mobile operators in Tanzania – Airtel, Tigo and Vodacom – have successfully implemented the first three-way rural roaming project in Africa.

This innovative partnership, supported by the Ministry of Works – Transport and Communications and the Universal Communications Service Access Fund, and facilitated by the GSMA, has so far extended mobile broadband internet coverage to over 70,000 rural users in Tanzania.

The project was supported by Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia, who built solar-powered, energy-efficient sites to enhance the customer experience in remote locations while at the same time optimizing cost.

GSMA Publishes Findings on Scalable Mobile Solutions for Agriculture
The GSMA issued a report outlining the results of work with mobile operators Airtel Malawi, Dialog Sri Lanka, Grameenphone Bangladesh, Ooredoo Myanmar, Telenor Pakistan and Vodafone Ghana to launch data-driven services for farmers. Since 2014, the mAgri programme, under the mNutrition Initiative funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), has worked with these MNOs to develop and launch services that now reach more than five million registered users worldwide.

Globally, the mAgri programme supports services that have allowed smallholder farmers to improve crop yields and income contributing to SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 1 (End Poverty).

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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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