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NCC at TERF’17 Seeks Stakeholders’ Continued Support on Broadband Agenda

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By peter oluka

Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said that the broadband agenda remains top priority on its developmental agenda for the nation’s ICT sector.

The EVC said that optimal deployment of broadband infrastructures through the Infraco model in the face of existing broadband infrastructure challenges is critical to driving broadband availability, accessibility and affordability in Nigeria, says.

The remarks were contained in a keynote address delivered on his behalf by Engineer Bako Wakil, deputy director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity at the Commission, at the Telecom Executives & Regulators Forum (TERF) on the subject: ‘Broadband Penetration in Nigeria-Perspectives from the Communication Regulator’, notes that the Commission is not resting on its oars to ensure glitches inhibiting smooth roll out of broadband services by operators, are mitigated.

The EVC assured the industry that InfraCo licensees for the six geo-political zones of the country will soon be announced, as they are on the last stage of the process.

According to him, NCC will continue to work with InfraCo licensees such MainOne, winners of the Lagos InfraCo license that are already rolling out of services in the State.

He however, called on parties involved to support the Commission in its bid for available, affordable and efficient broadband penetration in the country hence “Broadband industry ecosystem comprises of Government Policies and Programmes, Regulatory Frameworks and Environment, Supply and Demand sides of the services”.

Speaking on current status of broadband infrastructure in Nigeria, the EVC enumerated, “Adequate international bandwidth from International Submarine Cable landings at our shores; Inadequate metro fiber infrastructure in several towns and cities; Distribution and last mile challenges; Over 50,000 km of inter -City Fiber laid already; Sub-optimal inter-city fibre capacity utilization  due to duplications of some fibre routes and    Internet access is mainly through wireless means,” as notable factors in the industry.

He gave Nigeria’s current telecoms landscape as teledensity stands at 99.93 as at September, 2017; active Mobile subscriber base was 139,905,213 million as at September, 2017; Internet Penetration Rate was 50%  (92.975,682 Million subs)as at September, 2017; Broadband Penetration Rate was 21% as at February, 2017 (OpenSignal); NCC Broadband Infrastructure Initiative, “The NCC will continue to drive and support high speed broadband connectivity to end user through various initiatives such as: License InfraCos on a regional basis to provide metropolitan fibre and wholesale transmission services on a non-discriminatory, open access and price regulated basis;

“2.3GHz spectrum has been licensed for wholesale wireless last mile services; On-going discussions with various levels of Government to facilitate speed in processing permits, harmonisation of tax regimes and ease of deployment of infrastructure, including streamlining RoW charges; Enhance competitionin the market and improve consumer choices; Institute price caps for leased transmission capacity to address anti- competitive pricing and Auction and assign required spectrum for wireless and mobile broadband on an open and transparent basis”, he adds.

The EVC further explains that optimal deployment of broadband infrastructures through the Infraco model in the face of existing broadband infrastructure challenges is critical to driving broadband availability, accessibility and affordability in Nigeria.

Earlier, in his address of welcome, Mr. Olusola Teniola, president of ATCON, said the Association strongly believes in knowledge sharing that will further stimulate the accelerated development of our industry.

“We need to succeed in further winning the confidence of the international community to see Nigeria as a preferred investment destination in Africa. This is why we consider it a worthwhile venture to continually engage ourselves in programmes that would enable us advance the frontiers telecommunications/ICT in Nigeria.

“We congratulate the Nigerian Communications Commission for its excellent regulatory role which has put the Nigerian telecom sector on the world map. We also express our sincere gratitude to all our sponsors and supporters. We immensely appreciate all the resource persons for their mammoth contributions, and of course, all the participants for creating time out of their busy schedules to be in this forum”.

 

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Glo Unveils Smartphone Festival, Offers Customers Freebies

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Globacom has unveiled an initiative tagged Smartphone Festival aimed at giving unbeatable value to its customers who desire to own various categories of smartphones.

The company is making the offer in partnership with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including Samsung, Nokia, Huawei, Infinix and Techno, among others.

With the Smartphone Festival, Glo customers will be able to get smartphones of their choice at the best price from any Gloworld shop across Nigeria.

In addition, each smartphone purchase will come with six months of free data, extended warranty, screen guards, memory cards and phone covers, among many other freebies.

Globacom said customers will also be entitled to free recharge card or voice bundle on every purchase just as they will enjoy personal attention and first-class customer care service.

A statement from Globacom’s head office said the offer was conceived as a way of encouraging numerous customers to own smartphones of their choice so as to be able to harness the immense benefits inherent in the communication tool.

“The offer is consistent with our commitment to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations,” the company said.

Smartphone Festival will hold every two months and will last for 15 days. Globacom customers who wish to avail themselves of this offer are required to walk into any of the company’s retail outlets nationwide to pick any smartphone of their choice.

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Reps Commend NCC for Tackling Call Masking

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House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has expressed its satisfaction with the measures so far taken by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) with a view to curbing the menace of call masking and refiling in the country,

 

This is coming as the NCC vowed to deploy a technological solution that will enable tracking of SIM boxes used to perpetuate the fraud.

 

Speaking while leading other members of the committee to a high-level meeting at the Headquarters of the Commission yesterday in Abuja, Mr Kayode Oladele, Chairman, expressed concerns on the dangers portend by the menace of call masking in the country.

 

The committee would later listen to presentations on the complex problem from top echelon staff of the regulator led by Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the NCC.

 

“Within a very short time we are very impressed by the responses and I wish Nigerians could be told about what we have done here today. Many people feel that nothing has been done whereas so much has been done, except that if you ask me what we have achieved today I will say that I am leaving here more confused because the problem is bigger than what we thought,” said Oladele at the end of the meeting.

 

Earlier, the NCC boss had told the committee that the menace is not peculiar to Nigeria’s telecom industry alone and the agency had already assembled its finest technical brains to select the best technology solution to be deployed for detecting SIM boxes used by the perpetrators in the country.

 

“When we notice a phenomenon which is anticompetitive or undermining the security of the land we promptly take actions. In this regard, we have taken some steps to ensure that operators licensed by the commission abstain from the act. And we noticed an anecdotal improvement as the numbers came down reasonably. Yet all of a sudden we have an additional dimension, SIM boxing.  These are electronic boxes with a capacity to receive and transmit calls.

 

“We are at a loss how these items of equipment find their way into this country because we don’t type-approve them, and we couldn’t have type-approved them. It’s illegal to bring SIM boxes into the country,” he pointed out.

 

According to him, other African countries bedeviled by the same menace of call masking have successfully used technology solutions to tackle it, adding that the commission would soon speed up its procurement process to ensure its deployment in Nigeria.

 

Speaking further, the NCC boss said that the regulator had to resort to taking administrative sanctions on operators including the recall of redundant numbers to ensure that they were not used in undermining the security of the land, among other several measures taken to nip the crisis in the bud.

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Nigeria Nominates Dr. Hussani For Africa Telecom Union Secretary General

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The federal government of Nigeria has fielded Dr. Abubakar Sadiq Hussani as its candidate for the position of secretary-general of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) in the forthcoming ATU Plenipoteniary Conference holding August 16-17, 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.

In the last one week, Nigeria signified its interest to compete for the exalted position of the Secretary General of the Africa Telecom Union (ATU), the African teleocm body for the period 2019 to 2022 through a diplomatic note verbale  No. A.90/2018 dated 13th July 2018 sent by the federal government and published by the ATU on its webpage, among other documents acknowledged via a Note-by-the Secretary-General Ref 079/07/ATU/SG-2018 dated 17th August 2018.

Dr Abubakar Sadiq Hussani, a former assistant professor of telecom engineering, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola,  and the current head of department of telecommunications and wireless technologies of the American University of Nigeria as well as head of programme for the 54-member British Commonwealth ITU Group (CIG). He was proposed by Nigeria as its candidate for the August contest.

The diplomatic document stated that Dr Hussaini possesses a great wealth of experience in telecommunications which are necessary attributes to hold the prestigious office on the continental level.

At the close of nominations on July 17, 2018 only four countries have signified their interest to field candidates for the contest in line with the ATU circular Ref. 06/01/ATU-CIR/2018 of 16th January 2018. The remaining three are Burundi, Congo Brazaville and Kenya who fielded Mr Constaque Hakizimana, Dr Eric Ndoumba, and Mr John Omo respectively.

Three of the four candidates are accomplished telecoms Engineers while the Kenyan Candidate Mr Omo is a Lawyer. Glancing through the CVs of candidates, if the election is to be determined in terms of technical and cognate experience of managing international organizations, Dr Hussaini of Nigeria stands a very good chance.

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