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NCC Threatens to Sanction Erring Telecom Service Providers

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Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice chairman

The Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) said it would sanction service providers who fail to abide by the regulations of the commission in dealing with their consumers.

This is coming as the commission reaffirmed its commitment in protecting telecom consumers from unwholesome practices from their network providers.

Mrs Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, NCC’s Director of Consumers Affairs Bureau, gave the warning at the 44th edition of the NCC Consumers Town Hall Meeting with telecom consumers and service providers held in Oguta, Imo.

Speaking on the theme; “Using Information and Education as Tools for Consumers Empowerment and Protection,” Onwuegbuchulam said service providers must ensure that consumers get quality service, value for money spent and timely redress of complaints.

She also urged network providers to shun unwholesome practices, reiterating that erring companies must be sanctioned.

“You must engage your consumers on constant empowerment through education to fortify them in making good choices,’’ the NCC official stressed.

She said the meeting was targeted at bringing together telecom consumers in the rural areas with the network operators to proffer solutions to their problems.

According to her, it was also designed to ensure that consumers have value for their money.

The NCC director listed some of the unwholesome practices by service providers as unsolicited text massages and calls, failure to roll over unused data and automatic renewal of data, and VAS without consent of the subscriber.

She, however, said NCC had taken adequate measures to checkmate erring telecom operators by developing DND Short Code to solve unsolicited text massages controversy.

Onwuegbuchulam said that the commission had developed a service Toll free line for consumers to lay down their complaints.

In her remark, the representative of GLO Mobile, Chinwe Ejiofor, assured GLO consumers of quality services, adding that the company had been interfacing with its customers.

Some participants at the programme and telecom consumers said NCC should roll out more programmes to protect telecom consumers against unnecessary extortion.

 

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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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