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Operators Seek Interconnect Settlement Scheme as Indebtedness Rises

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Stakeholders in the telecommunications ecosystem have urged Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to establish Interconnect Settlement Scheme to address issues arising from interconnect indebtedness in the industry.

They cited the example of Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) established by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reconcile inter- bank transactions.

According to them, the establishment of this scheme has become expedient in view of high indebtedness between operators; most of the debts are on account of dispute.

Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said that the situation in the industry is so bad that the indebtedness between parties is better not discussed.

 “In essence, people are owing. That said; it is just goes to speak why sometimes there would be cold war. Because, when those meeting are held it is better we are not aware. The situation of indebtedness between parties is very worrisome. It speaks volumes about the state of the health of the entire industry.

“Some people challenge me: if you say you are not making money why do you spend so much on billboards. Now, you have seen that those billboards are actually bank money. The situation is so bad that we are not proud to talk about the debt.

Ike Nnamani, chief executive officer, Medallion, attributed the situation to refusal of operators to make use of interconnect clearing houses as mandated by NCC.

“When indebtedness among operators rose to an alarming level some years back, NCC licensed interconnect clearing houses to ensure transparency in the billing process and mandated every operator to rout at least 10 percent of their traffic through the clearing platform, but, today none of the operators are anywhere close to 10 percent.

“Some are doing five percent while some are less than that, this means that more than 90 percent of traffic in the industry is exchanged directly among other which gave rise to high indebtedness as we witness today,” he said.

He explained that exchanging traffic directly among operators does not guarantee transparent billing as well gives rise to anti competition practices as we see it today.

It would be recalled that Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2012 licensed interconnect clearing houses to provide and operate Interconnect Exchange Services to the telecommunications Operators, by so doing address the issue of indebtedness in the sector after big operators where denying smaller operators interconnection to their network as a result of debts owe to them.

The take-off of interconnect clearing house which provided the platform for sorting out of monies due to each operator and period of settlement helped to address that indebtedness.

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Telecom

TCP: NCC Says Consumer Satisfaction, Robust Sector Top Priorities

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By Ugo Onwuaso

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is determined to carry out its regulatory functions to ensure that the companies operating in the industry were healthy.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman of the Commission, made the remark during the 81st edition of the Telecoms Consumer Parliament (TCP) held in Lagos.

He added that “it has taken steps to ensure that the telecommunications sector remains vibrant”.

Mr. Sunday Dare, the executive commission, Stakeholders Management, NCC, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman, said that “the commission would carry out its regulatory functions to ensure that the companies operating in the industry were healthy”.

The Chairman said that the regulatory body had made interventions to prevent disruptions in the consumer’s experience.

According to him, “NCC has commenced aggressive enforcement of the Code of Corporate Governance to ensure that licensees in the industry continue to operate as viable businesses.

“The consumer deserves all the credits for the past and indeed the future successes of this industry.

“The Nigerian telecommunications consumers are at the centre stage of our regulation.

“We at the NCC, being consumer centric regulatory organisation have decided to celebrate consumers of the Nigerian telecommunications industry consistent with the eight point agenda that I set out when I assumed office in 2015.

The number two and six items of the agenda are the core drivers of the NCC year of telecommunications consumer initiative.

“While the number two item of the agenda addresses improved quality of service.

And item six is concerned with protection and empowerment of the telecommunications consumers,” he said.

He also stated that all NCC’s initiatives such as SIM card registration, Mobile Number Portability, Broadband policy implementation, development of 2442 and 622 short codes as well as various consumer awareness campaigns were to ensure consumer satisfaction and protection.

Danbatta added that the commission would continue to look out for and protect the interest of the consumer without compromising the interests of other stakeholders in the industry.

Mr Abdullahi Maikano, director, Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of NCC, said that over the years, TCP had proven to be an innovative way of bringing all stakeholders together to discuss and proffer solutions to industry issues.

Maikano said that the TCP had continued to occupy a pride of place in the commission’s activities.

He said that NCC would continue to provide significant resources to ensure that the parliament is held regularly for the benefit of consumers and the industry.

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Banks’ Working for Early Sale of 9Mobile — Fidelity Bank Boss

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Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, managing director of Fidelity Bank Plc, has said that all the banks whose money is trapped are working together for smooth sale of the telecoms on or before the end of the year.

This is as the 180 days’ window handed down to the receiver managers of 9Mobile draw nearer.

Explaining industry issues in a recent interactive session with select editors and publishers in Lagos, he said “As you are aware, the creditor banks came together to appoint a new Board and Management for the company, with the Deputy Governor of the CBN as chairman of the Board”.

“The company has good fundamentals with about 22 million subscribers, and it is also very strong in data. Our interest is to ensure the company remains a going concern so that it can attract interested buyers. The banks are working collectively on this,” Fidelity bank chief executive revealed.

It would recalled that at the heat of the $1.2bn syndicated loan default crisis which nearly grounded the former Etisalat, both the telecoms regulator and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), considered the volume of subscribers and intervened.

Part of the intervention was the appointment of Dr. Joseph Nnanna, former Deputy Governor of the CBN to head the chair the board and prepare it for potential investors between 90 to 180 days.

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Vodacom Urges Telcos to Adopt IoT for Increased ARPU

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L-R: Mr. Olusola Teniola, President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria; Mr. Lanre Kolade, Managing Director, Vodacom Business Nigeria; Dr. Fidelis Onah, Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Nigerian Communications Commission; and Mr. Chris Read, Conference Manager NigeriaCom 2017, at the just concluded NigeriaCom 2017 conference in Lagos

Lanre Kolade, Managing Director for Vodacom Business Nigeria, has urged telecommuncations operators in the country invest in Internet of Things services provision in order to increase their Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).

He stated this in a keynote speech at NigeriaCom 2017 organized by Informa Telecoms Group.

According to him ‘today, telecommunications operators are facing a period of flat growth for core services and significant decline in Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). This drastic change threatens the survival of the telecoms industry, as substantial declines in user spending on voice and text services have caused a decline in telcos revenue. IoT has delivered a big growth opportunity for the industry due to the volume of connections expected and experts have projected the market will reach $14.6 trillion global market size by 2020.’

“It is therefore essential to seize the vast opportunities that this growth presents in transforming businesses,” he said.

Across all industries, IoT solutions have been adopted to provide a host of different benefits, from increased Return on Investment (ROI) to developing stronger relationships with customers’, with far reaching benefits projected for the future.

Lanre Kolade in his presentation calls on telecom operators to adapt to the changing times and source other revenue streams to replace what is being lost in the continuing revolution of communications.

“The Internet of Things offers significant growth potential and the opportunity to take a role in new vertical markets, such as automotive, healthcare and smart cities. As these sectors seek to adopt more IoT services, the opportunities that exist are vast. Whether you are a hardware manufacturer or connectivity reseller, adding IoT solutions to your portfolio will open up new revenue streams from selling hardware, software and connectivity services, to a broad range of value-added services, such as consulting, integration and support.  Telcos will have to look at the Internet of Things as a potential revenue generator to offset the declining revenues from core services” he said.

By 2020, more than seven billion people and businesses, and over 30 billion devices, will be connected to the internet.

The question is no longer about the adoption of IoT but rather its application to drive business success.
Vodacom’s IoT solutions support wireless payment devices and e-readers, energy usage and smart metering, chilling cabinets, remote asset monitoring systems and community health management solutions.

Vodacom recently partnered with Kaduna State Government to launch a mobile technology-based healthcare program, SMS for Life 2.0, in the state which aims to increase the availability of essential medication by monitoring drug stock levels and improving the delivery of healthcare for citizens who access public health services.

Vodacom is the technology partner for the initiative, which is a public-private partnership with Novartis and the Kaduna State Ministry of Health.

Vodacom has concluded the training and deployment of SMS for Life 2.0 in Kaduna, with over 250 facilities using the platform to date. This initiative is planned to be implemented in all thirty six states.

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