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NCC Moves to Develop Regulatory Framework for 5G, HAPS Technologies

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Stakeholders in the telecommunications sector on Tuesday in Abuja held a one-day stakeholders forum to brainstorm on Nigeria’s readiness for 5G and High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) technology.

The forum was organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC),

In his presentation, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive-Vice Chairman NCC said the forum was to bring stakeholders in the telecom sector together to develop a regulatory framework in preparation for 5G and HAPS technologies.

Danbatta was represented by Mr Austine Nwaulune, Director, Spectrum Administration, NCC.

According to him, though the 5G framework is still being defined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), there is the need to prepare toward massive deployment of infrastructure tailored to support the technology.

He said the commission had identified some potential frequency bands that might be harmonised for 5G deployment, and therefore suspended the licensing of those frequencies.

Danbatta stressed that this step would ensure that Nigeria was not caught unawares when those frequency bands were harmonised by standardisation bodies, key among these are 26GHz, 38GHz and 42 GHz bands.

“HAPS is one of the emerging technologies developed to compliment capacity expansion efforts to improve broadband access to both served and underserved areas.

“The technology is unique and promising, it is scalable and customisable, and therefore often equipped with mission-dependent payloads, which are intended to act as fixed stations, delivering services such as high-capacity wide area coverage broadband.

“Relay stations, remote sensing, weather observations, navigation, digital TV, within the earth atmosphere, HAPS are also known to be low cost at its implementation and are expected to be the next big infrastructure for wireless communications.’’

He said that it supports rapid roll-out and had the ability to serve many users, using considerably less communications infrastructure being its key advantage as a wireless communication platform.

Danbatta said there was therefore the need for strategic government policies, robust frameworks and required infrastructure which was the reason for the forum. In his capacity,

Nwaulune said the technological evolution toward 5G and the role of HAPS to increase broadband penetration in Nigeria 5G networks are the next generation of connectivity in the telecommunications industry.

“What we are doing is to bring together stakeholders, people who are involved in one way or the other in 5G technology delivery and the regulatory conditions to discuss with them, rub minds and to guide us in taking further regulatory actions.

“There is progression, 5G is not about today, there are still trial networks going on around the world, this is just to position people to know that there is something coming in the very near future.

“All the technology mixes are used in bridging the digital divide and bringing service to the unconnected and some marginally connected.

“It is the operators that deploy the networks once the standards are set and defined, the operators will roll out their networks that is when it is fully developed.’’ Nwaulune said.

Mr Austine Igbe, who represented the President, Nigerian Institute of Information Communication Technology Engineers, said the cost of not embracing technology was higher than the cost of ignoring it. He added that the nation must be critical of the health and safety implication of the current trends, and must prepare to make regulations that would protect the citizenry from negative impacts.

The forum had in attendance a cross section of ICT professionals and engineers both within and outside Nigeria.

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Telecom

Smartphones: A Decade of Growth and Success

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A decade ago, a smartphone was little more than a novelty item, a gadget, something that many people would’ve liked to have in their pockets but few of them actually needed. In the decade that has passed ever since, thanks in a great part to Google’s accessible and open-source Android platform, smartphones have become not only widespread but a necessity for many.

And we’re not talking about just the need to be entertained while away from home – although many people use smartphones for this alone – but also about smartphones being a helpful assistant in everyday life, handling everything from appointments to payments, shopping, and keeping in touch with our loved ones. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers the smartphone market has produced in the last decade.

When the iPhone was released in 2007, it was the only device in its category. It was followed almost a year later by the first Android handset with similar capabilities. While other handsets with large touchscreens did exist before, they relied on styluses rather than fingers for interaction and were aimed at business users rather than the general population.

In a decade, the smartphone market has grown to accommodate an insane number of phones and manufacturers. GSMArena, one of the most widely used mobile phone databases, lists more than 100 smartphone manufacturers and almost 10,000 individual models (and counting).

Today, downloading and installing apps is normal for the vast majority of smartphone users, no matter if it’s a better music player, a news reader or the Betway mobile App. Back in the early days of smartphones, in turn, apps were in short supply.

Apple’s famous App Store launched in July 2008 with a staggering 552 apps in it, with 135 of them free. Today, the App Store has around 2 million apps, and Google’s Play Store has around 2.1 million of them. Steve Jobs’ famous statement “there’s an app for that” is very true today, with “that” being pretty much whatever you can imagine.

A decade ago, when there were just a couple of smartphones available, the smartphone market was tiny – only around 139 million smartphones were sold globally, most of them running Nokia’s Symbian OS and RIM’s BlackBerry OS. Nokia was the market leader with a share of more than 40%, followed by RIM (BlackBerry) with almost 20%. Apple’s market share stayed well below 5% back then, and so did Samsung’s.

Today, the tables have turned, though. In the last decade, Nokia has “died” at the hands of Microsoft and has only recently managed to re-emerge, after a Finnish company called HMD Global brought the brand back to its home country.

HTC all but disappeared from the market, and so did RIM. The smartphone market is dominated by Android with a market share of around 85%, followed by iOS with a bit under 15%, and other operating systems sharing around 0.1% of the market.

And when it comes to phone manufacturers, a lot has changed during the decade that has passed. Samsung lost more than 10% of its market share in the last 12 months, but it’s still the largest smartphone maker in the world, shipping more than 72 million phones in the third quarter of this year.

Apple lost its second place to Huawei, China’s largest smartphone maker that sold 52 million phones in Q3/2018, enough for 14.6% of the market. Apple is third with 46.9 million phones sold, Xiaomi is fourth, closing in on the 10% mark thanks to its aggressive pricing policy (and the quality of its handsets), and OPPO, another Chinese manufacturer, is fifth, pushing more money into marketing and flashy launch events than ever before.

The value of the global smartphone market has grown exponentially in the last decade, reaching a value close to $500 billion a year. All this thanks to Apple’s innovative approach to the mobile phone that resulted in the release of the iPhone in 2007.

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NCC Pledges to Fund Universities’ Research to Boost Innovation

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The Nigeria Communication Commission said it has begun directing fund to encourage innovation by boosting research and development in universities across the country.

It said Nigeria universities were making progress in Information and Communication Technology research and development.

Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, stated this on Wednesday in Benin City at a round table with the Academia, Industry and other stakeholders in the South South.

Prof. Danbatta said the Commission would make commitment to the success of the industry and also facilitate the contributions from academia as well as ensure sustainability and economic growth.

Danbatta challenged the academia to study the impact of various practices and issues peculiar to the Nigerian operating environment on the operational efficiency, service delivery capability and performance by telecommunications  industry players.

According to him, “The telecom industry has grown for the past 17 years and there is still room for further growth.

“We want to stimulate research using the academia. We will look at those growth opportunities. This is more like opening an avenue for collaborative effort geared towards research that could grow the industry to the next level.

“This is the first self step towards identifying those research topic and find a costing on what is required.”

Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof Faraday Orhumwense, said the academia was ready to help transform Nigeria from a consuming state to an industrial state.

Represented by the Deputy VC, Administration, Prof. Jacob Ehiorobo, Orhumwense said the NCC has set the pace for the industry and the gown to collaborate.

His words,  “The telecommunication industry is dominated  by foreigners. I think we should be able to train technical personnel  that should be able to function and produced spare parts for the country instead of relying on products from all over the world.

“It is time we become self reliant in producing spare parts. We are changing the focus of our students not just on theoretical research but productive and adaptable research that will become of use to the industry.”

Prof Eghosa Osaghae who delivered a lecture at the round table said the telecom industry should stop seeing the academia as simpy consumers and clients.

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Spectranet, Zinox Support NITRA’s Fourth Quarter Forum

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As preparations heat up for the Fourth Quarter Forum of the Nigerian Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), under the supervision of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), more corporate organizations have thrown their weight behind the event scheduled for Friday, December 14, 2018, at the CitiHeight Hotel, Opebi Link, Ikeja, Lagos.

The latest to declare their support for the forum which has as its theme: “Achieving Last Mile Connectivity Through Affordable Broadband,” are indigenous Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) giants, Zinox Technologies and leading broadband services provider, Spectranet Nigeria.

NITRA will in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), address the challenges of broadband, especially last mile connectivity, at the fourth quarter forum.

The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta is the keynote speaker at the event expected to draw the largest gathering of ICT industry players under one roof.

The forum will not only highlight the opportunities and challenges of deploying affordable broadband in Nigeria but will look at the strategies being adopted by the NCC to achieve this.

Experts say that achieving last mile connectivity in Nigeria requires a concerted effort among Government, Civil Society Organizations, Policy makers, mobile operators, service providers, the academia etc. It also requires a combination of solutions ranging from policies to technologies, transparency to regulations among others.

Recall that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had in 2016, rolled out an 8-point agenda aimed at broadband access and penetration. Through the agenda, the NCC hopes to promote deployment of universally available, fast and reliable network infrastructure that will stimulate seamless broadband penetration to drive technology innovation and overall productivity of Nigeria’s economy.

Spectranet Nigeria, was awarded a License by the Nigerian Communications Commission in 2009 to promote Internet services across Nigeria. Spectranet prides itself as the first Internet Service Provider to launch 4G LTE internet service in Nigeria and aims to be a leader in the Internet Services space.

NITRA has in the last two years been engaging ICT stakeholders to brainstorm on various topical issues affecting the ICT industry in Nigeria through the Quarterly forum.

 

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