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ONEm Extends its Internet-like Services to Africa

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London-based high-tech firm ONEm has announced plans to expand the reach of its internet-like services to more Africans who are without internet connectivity or smartphones.

The company says it is currently negotiating licensing rights and partnerships in several countries where it is looking to roll out its technology which is designed to transform ordinary voice and SMS into more powerful interactive tools – much like functions available online.

Christopher Richardson, CEO & Co-Founder of ONEm Communications says use of the company’s technology by developers to create interactive applications for content and services relevant to local market will salvage voice and SMS as they have become less popular among consumers.

“We see our technology more as a renaissance for SMS and Voice. These channels are very secure and the devices robust and cheap.

They only lack interactive capabilities. Imagine WhatsApp like capabilities for messaging and voice on a basic mobile with a battery life of 7 days.

ONEm can bring true group calling to these devices. We have now added blockchain technology which is now accessible through SMS. This is revolutionary as a technology for banking and secure contracts.

Ordinary mobiles have a natural security in that they are not connected to the internet. Our platform is very secure and works through mobile operator. We coined the term TTO – Through The Operator as opposed to OTT – Over The Top.”

ONEm already has content and application partnerships agreements with Reuters, Deutsche Welle and Wikipedia according to Richardson.

He says ONEm is in touch with operators in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Chad, Sierra Leone, Mauritania, Sudan, Ghana, Senegal, Liberia, Guinea and Burundi to see how they can implement the company’s offering in those markets and help to extend the life of their SMS and Voice assets.

“We are talking to MTN, Airtel, Smart, Etisalat and many other small national operators. We are also in discussion with Vodacom in Tanzania. We see Africa as the land of opportunity – a people ready and hungry for opportunities to improve their own lives.

We believe that our services fit their needs (particularly) in remote areas which still don’t have good data coverage. Making a basic mobile work in a new and powerful way can help vitalise the micro economy in a positive way.

There is capacity with mobile operators’ legacy networks for voice and SMS and we can transform these into modern communication and service tools.

Rural areas can benefit from real banking experiences, e-commerce and content. Our pasteboard service can turn SMS into a Twitter like platform without the overhead.”

Richardson is set to deliver a keynote presentation on ONEm’s blockchain technology over SMS at the World Blockchain Forum in Dubai on Monday. He says many players in the blockchain industry have expressed interest in the possibility of providing internet-like services and blockchain to the unconnected.

ONEm partnered with Tigo in Ghana last year to launch its SuperSMS network which provides access to what it described as “a growing ecosystem of interactive SMS-based services.”

The SuperSMS network offers a user access, via any mobile, to communication services with internet-like group chat and other interactive services for social communication, audio and text services, as well as self-help tools.

“Africa has the talent and resources to develop services that reach all rural areas today.” summed Richardson.

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ATCON Frowns on CBN Directive on E-Transaction Levy

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(L-R) Ajibola Olude,Executive Secretary,ATCON, Olusola Teniola, National President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria and Ifeloju Alakija,NEC Member during a press conference to announce ATCON’s rejection of 0.005% cyber security levy introduced by CBN.

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has decried recent directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to all banks on the collection of 0.005% levy on all electronic transactions into a National Cyber Security Fund account within the CBN which they said will affect some businesses.

Olusola Teniola, National President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Lagos.

Teniola noted that, the businesses which are to be affected are as follows; GSM Service Providers and all telecommunication companies; Internet service providers; Banks and other financial institutions; Insurance companies and Nigerian stock exchange

He explained that, the eventual implementation of this levy of 0.005% would cripple if not render useless government and private sector efforts to speed up the broadband penetration in Nigeria, adding that ATCON has a mandate to protect investment in the telecom industry from undue pressure from the government in the form of additional burden on its members that are already overtaxed by all tiers of governments.

“The underlining reasons for our Position is that the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act 2015, Section 44 that the CBN seeks to implement, states in Section 44 an establishment of a National Cyber Security Fund.

“In Section 44.2 (a) a Levy of 0.005 of all electronic transactions by the businesses specified in the second schedule to this Act.

“Where in the Schedule five categories including GSM Service providers and all telecommunication companies and Internet Service Providers are to apply this charge!

“ATCON believes any premeditated actions that are capable of killing the telecoms industry must be eschewed by all tiers of governments in Nigeria as the perceived benefits of imposing this levy on aforementioned businesses have the direct capability to erase if not destroy the achievements that have been made since the telecoms sector was liberated.

“We therefore advise government to review this directive as it would affect some macro-economic elements such as loss of employment and we as Industry will have to increase prices to cover the collection, processing and pass on these costs to the 150million subscribers.” he stated

He noted that ATCON is of the opinion that formulation and implementation of policies are not properly coordinated, stressing that while some government agencies are working towards migrating all government services online some other government agencies are working towards discouraging people from making use of electronic channels via this obnoxious levy.

“It should be stated for the purpose of records that government should not think that the elasticity of demand for the use of electronic channels is inelastic as this move can stop people from transacting their businesses via available electronic channels,” he added.

He stated that they have made several request to meet with Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN to discuss some of the issues facing their members with respect to sourcing for foreign exchange to purchase the needed equipment that would enhance the telecom industry but to their surprise the central bank of Nigeria has refused to honour their invitation.

“We believe that any action that has the potential to destroy the telecoms industry should be avoided by all tiers of government in Nigeria as the accruable benefits of imposing this levy on our members are far lower than the revenue that it is going to create for the government.

“In view of this and other reasons enumerated above, the Association’s position is that the proposed levy of 0.005% tax bill should be withdrawn and its implementation seriously reviewed,” he said.

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Airtel’s ‘Meet the in-Laws’ TVC Narrates Power of Mobile Internet & Connectivity

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Leading telecoms operator, Airtel Nigeria, has unveiled a new Television Commercial (TVC), dubbed ‘Meet the in-Laws’, which demonstrates the power of mobile Internet as a phenomenon that enriches life and keeps everyone connected irrespective of age, class, tribe or gender

 

Following the success of“Data is Life”campaign in 2016, the new campaign is an incremental build that further expresses “Data is Life”in a more culturally relevant way, using insight true to a typical Nigerian family.

The new campaign emphasizes that like love; mobile Internet connects the world, brings people together, inspires new stories and helps to forge harmonious bonds.

 

In continuation of its award-winning “Amin” TVC, Segun is now married to Amaka and the new couple has just been blessed with their first child.

 

In line with local custom, Segun’s mom, renowned Nollywood actress, Idowu Philips aka Iya Rainbow; his mother-in-law, Nollywood actress, Ngozi Nwosu aka Mummy Peace and father in-law, actor, Dele Odule aka Papa Amaka came visiting ahead the Christening of their beloved grandchild.

 

To ensure peace and tranquility in the house, Segun made sure that all necessary household items were distributed evenly, especially items common to both mothers-in-law – Iya Rainbow and Mummy Peace.

 

Expectedly, the rivalry between the mothers-in-law went from bad to worse as they contended for virtually everything – including bed rooms, personal effects, mobile Internet (Airtel router), baby care, etc.

 

On the day of the baby Christening, Iya Rainbow took over the dance floor, becoming the cynosure of all eyes while twirling to the beats of the gangan drummers.

 

But arrival of Mummy Peace in elegant native attire with family and friends grooving to the afro-pop song of Small Doctor – “Penalty” – swayed the attention of the guests.

 

Mummy Peace attracted the trendy and classy audience with her ‘life-of-the-party’ show – live streaming and smartphone selfies’ session.

 

To demonstrate equal aptitude, Iya Rainbow also brought out her tablet smartphone for selfies, also getting similar attention from invited guests.

 

The new TVC, which was delivered in a comic and rich musical rendition, depicts the passion, love, and rivalry that exist in larger family settings.

 

It also expressed how data has become a critical part of our life.

Airtel appears to be speaking to two major themes with the new TVC.

 

The first idea is the posturing of the telco to occupy and own the ‘Data is Life’ narrative.

 

Consistently, Airtel has spoken to this theme and the ‘Data is Life’ sequel offers glowing testimony to the company’s narrative that data is not just the new oil but it equals life.

 

Indeed, a life without data leaves so much to be desired.

 

The new TVC also captures Airtel’s intent to democratize data.

 

The cast for the new TVC shows that regardless of age, social status and location, everyone has a strong craving for data.

 

The mothers-in-law fully depict that social media is no longer the exclusive preserve for younger people.

 

More than anything else, Airtel is promoting togetherness, family values and demonstrating the immense influence and power that mobile Internet now commands.

 

 

 

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Onitsha set to Host Hi-Life Fest Semi-final, 10 Singers & 5 Dance groups Battle for Grand Prize

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Residents of Onitsha are all set for an exciting evening of beautiful traditional Igbo highlife music and cultural dance as HiLife Fest’s ‘The Complete Experience’ hits the city for the semi final stage of the talent hunt competition set to take place on Sunday, May 27 2018.

 

Onitsha lies at a major east-west crossing point of the Niger River.

 

Onitsha traditionally consists of nine villages and remains the economic hub of commerce, industry and education.

 

Yearly, the kingdom of Onitsha celebrates the Ofala Festival, which coincides with the traditional New Yam festival held in many other parts of Igboland.

 

The festival celebrates the Igbo’s culture of progress borne out of sheer resilience and determination.

 

Highlife music and cultural dance are often the hallmark of the festival celebrations, and at Hilife Fest, the future of this definitive part of our rich heritage is handed down to the young minds.

 

At the recently concluded quarter final, fans were treated to a thrilling and engaging delivery of top-notch highlife music in which 5 dance groups and 10 singers made it to the next level.

 

The semi-final stage will feature Prince Destiny Oluchukwu and Dons Ifeanyi (Anambra state), Chinedu Obiajulu and Emeka Ngwu (Enugu State), Agbom Emmanuel (Delta State), Kalapi Ojuka and Kelvin Emmanuel (Rivers State) Ifeanyi Ogbu (Ebonyi State), Chuks Arthur and Obioha Ikechukwu (Abia State) in the singing category.

 

For the dancers, Kanaowo Dance Group (Rivers State), Noel Africa Cultural Entertainment (Ebonyi State), Umuchiziri Egwu Cultural Dance Group (Enugu State), Asinnodricks Africa (Imo State) and Ofu-Obi (Anambra State) will slug it out for a spot in the grand finale.

 

Expressing joy on reaching the semi-finals, Emma Agbom gave kudos to the organizers for providing a rich platform for young people to showcase their talent to the world.

 

He was particularly thankful for the grooming and mentoring sessions at HiLife Fest Academy.

 

This, he said, impacted immensely on his performance in Aba.

 

Speaking after the quarter final concert, Guest Judge, Michael Ndubuisi, said, “It has been a very unpredictable competition.

 

“We’ve had some amazing talents from the various auditions in different cities.

 

“It’s almost impossible to even tell who will win as everyone is really talented, so I can’t wait to see which of these contestants will come out tops”.

 

With just one more hurdle between these contestants and the grand finale, the contestants will not afford to give anything other than their very best intent on impressing the intimidating line-up of Judges – veteran highlife maestro and creator of Zigma style, Chief Bright Chimezie, music producer and actor, David Jones David, studied instrumentalist, JJ Aguize, versatile dance instructor, Dr Nicholas Akas, and guest Judge Michael Ndubisi.

 

Highlife music has been an integral part of the Igbo culture.

 

It inspires and gives its lovers a sense of direction, belonging and connection with their roots.

 

This initiative by the Life beer brand is aimed at promoting this genre of music whilst also preserving the beautiful heritage of the Igbo people.

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