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NCC Presents N54.7m Research Grant to 9 Universities

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The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC yesterday presented research grants worth N54,755,846 to the winners of the 2016 and 2017 Research Proposals from nine universities for development of the telecommunication industry.

The nine successful research awardees (universities) include: Covenant University, Ota which received N9.3million for development of low-cost GSM system for rural areas; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi received N5.9million for design and construction of customer identification system in telecom industry; Enugu State University of Science and Technology – N1.4million for development of a home-grown electrical power charger for cellphones from cooking heat; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife -N12,3million for Design, fabrication, experimental characterization of plastic optical fiber cable and the exploitation of its potentials in Nigeria telecom industry and University of Port Harcourt – N5.3million for design and construction of 1 to 10GHz Anechoic chamber for 3G, 4G and 5G Antenna measurement.

Others are: Nigeria Air Force Institute of Tech. Zariawhich got N5million for design and construction of a power line communication modern for domestic LAN; ELizade University, Ondo – N5million for GSM-Based Smart Energy Meter and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria – N7million for Development of wearable e-band tracking system.

Presenting the awards, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta said the Commission instituted the Research and Proposals Grant project in recognition of the role of the academia in the development of the telecom sector.

The EVC explained that the scheme is focused on commercially viable prototypes of research and innovative use of telecoms to solve national problems. ‘‘The relevance of the academia in the growth, sustainability and continuity of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria cannot be emphasized. The academia provides the research results that govern growth, transformation and facilitate innovations in the industry.

‘‘The academia impacts knowledge to the growth, turning them into thinking and transformational citizens, with innovative ideas capable of revolutionalizing the industry and reshaping our world.

‘‘The presentation of this award is to underscore the critical role, expectations from, and the confidence we have in the academia, in working towards national reengineering and transformation.

We are aware that most of these projects are collaborative efforts with other academics in your universities.

‘‘NCC welcomes and demands collaboration in all you do. It is for this reason that we have insisted on the involvement of your graduate and undergraduate students in the research projects.’’

‘‘We have set out clear terms and conditions for the Grant.

We expect you to abide by all the terms of the award. You are not under any circumstance to showcase the work or the prototype to any bodies, organization at any exhibition until the Commission has received the final prototype and signed off on it.

‘‘We will always show concern for the quality, relevance and efficiency of the product we want to push into the industry On extension of the collaboration to the telecom operators,

Prof. Danbatta said: ‘‘we will advise the telecommunication companies to key into this important initiative of collaborating with the commission in the area of research and development.

We will leverage our influence asking them to equally put resources that will drive research and development in the telecommunications industry.’’

Earlier, the Chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee of the NCC for the Research Proposals from the academia, Prof. Junaidu Muazu said one of the major focuses of the research proposals is to consider the relevance of those proposals to telecom industry and how they leverage on the existing infrastructure of the telecom industry.

‘‘This is important because it is trying to bridge the gap between the academia and the industry to provide solutions to the problems facing the industry.’’

Responding on behalf of other award recipients, Prof. Sulaiman Sani of Ahmadu Bello University said that would be bounded by patriotism for the nation to be role models in the area of telecom innovation.

He also charged the NCC to encourage telecom operators in the country to join hands in collaborating with the academia to proffer more problem solutions for the telecom sector.

‘‘I want to suggest that the initiative be extended to the telecom companies in the country, saying that it would be worthy to see them collaborate with the academia in developing the sector through research and development.

‘‘It will not be out of place if telecom companies invest in research and development in relation to telecom industry,’’ he added.

Of the 9 award recipients, 3 were selected from 56 proposals received from the academia in 2016 and 6 from 96 proposals received in 2017 after stringent evaluations by the Inter-Agency committee set up by the NCC.

Under the project, tertiary institutions submit detailed and well thought out research proposals to the Commission on innovative use of telecoms to solve national problems.

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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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