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Telecom Colonization Imminent – Daranijo

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Sinari Daranijo, Chief Executive Officer, Elcomserve Nigeria Limited

Sinari Daranijo, Chief Executive Officer, Elcomserve Nigeria Limited – a conglomerate of Security, Telecom and IT professionals.
He is a highly successful unique individual with immeasurable business acumen and has accumulated diverse business portfolios ranging from International Business, Oil & Gas, Business Development, Commerce & Industry, Training & Development, Information Technology, Strategic Management and Safety with over 18 years of relevant experience.
He spoke to Peter Ugwu on the company’s newly invented Nigeria’s first instant messaging/chat platform – Simply Beep and the state of the nation’s telecom industry. 

Elcomserve in Nigeria’s Telecom Business
We have a mix of professionals to provide great solutions for the development of the country and the people.
And one of our major target areas is to make things easier for people on the global scale by using the telecommunication platform.
When telecom was liberalised in Nigeria we actually started by providing infrastructure, equipment like radios, antenna, masts etcetera.
Everything is in stages. After they achieved that feat, the next step was to maintain the existing infrastructure, so that clients and customers can have value for their money and speak to themselves.
So that after acquiring huge voice subscriptions, the SMS promos, text-to-win were inspired, and now the next level is providing service for value added creation which has given rise to increase in the use of data.
For us at Elcomserve, we thought that now that the world is going digital everyone will end up in the internet, whether we like it or not.
So, we considered having a data plan that will be all encompassing, a gate into the world. We discovered that these days the spirit of chatting is beginning to encompass and engulf the entire world – it is easier to be on an IM platform than being on an SMS one.
We also discovered that while the whole world is going ahead, talk about android, iPod, Africa is lagging behind a bit because of high poverty level.
However, the chat experience is presently only available on that higher level, so we thought, ‘what can we do to bring it lower?’, hence we have created a product called Simply Beep.
It is supposed to help people who are using ordinary phones to tap into the experience of the upper-class users of smartphones.
It will open up a huge avenue into the entire system. But of course we have our challenges, even the people who work with the network operators do not completely understand because they are all following the world trend.
We have statistics: out of about 100 million subscribers on all the GSM networks in Nigeria, only about 3 million have BlackBerry and other smart phones.
We have about 97 million others who do not possess a BlackBerry or Smartphone.
For the most part, we have concentrated on those at the top.
 We need to connect with those on the other end of the divide. So, we decided to do something that will allow more people to have access to chat platform, people like students, artisans, house wives, etc, they are willing and ready to chat.
Beep is already available for download with the MTN network and we are concluding talks with all other mobile network providers in the country.
 
Beep and Local Lingua
The product has local lingual significance.
The reason why it is deployed in local lingua is to separate us from the crowd. And it will actually make the product proudly Nigerian.
Our local Pidgin-English is also something now respected and subscribed to in some parts of the world, owing to our music and movie industry.
Therefore, our move is to capture that segment of the society and endear them to the product. The emoticons such as “Laugh wan kill me die”, “I beg wait” and “I dey vex,” are some of the unique features of Simply Beep.

Challenges
Although there are other competing brands in the market – they have higher-end products – not necessarily mass friendly and not directly pushed to the people.
The reason why it’s taking some time for us to leverage on our own product is because we are stepping into a market with a new experience, and by pulling these people into a new experience it now means that we need to throw the product directly to their phones, unlike those other competitors that subscribers have to download from the internet.
That is our strategy, but it was tough pushing the networks to understand what we are talking about, because all they can see is the upper class people.
We had to make them see that Nigerians are highly motivated people.

Economic Values
Now, when you look at it from the point of economic value, the social media is a very big platform.
Increasing the dissemination of information, helps two or more people engage in interaction, increases communal feelings, etc.
So, all the advantages of social media are what we are bringing to the fore, especially for those who won’t otherwise use data services.
Our underlying philosophy however, is: own something. We don’t create, own or produce anything as Africans.
Over 50 per cent of what we wear on our bodies is foreign made. And that is why we shall continue to have local content problems.
Shoprite is here and you are all excited, it is not your money! If you go there to shop, they take the money and develop their own countries.
Why can’t we build our own platforms? This is the age of social platform. And I am building this platform in pain, because banks don’t support me. Even the networks, it was a battle to make them buy into this.
And that is the story of Nigeria, even the government does not understand.
But we need to build platforms that are ours. It will checkmate capital flight, because presently, when N10 is plugged into Nigeria’s economy, N5 out of it leaves the country.

Nigeria in Telecom Market
The world telecommunication market is expanding.
The data accompanying all products pushed to Africa are being kept by foreign companies. The problem with Nigerians is that we are not creators; we would want to leverage on what everybody brings to us.
We can do something even better; something we can call our own.
If Nigeria can boast of a chat platform we hold as ours, rather than depend on outsiders, then it is the beginning of great things to come in the Nigerian telecommunications market.

Infrastructure
That is where the global village phenomenon comes in, because we are still battling with electricity and all that, what we have done is to partner RackSpace that hosts servers for many other companies in the world.
RackSpace keeps all our chats and everything.
There is a room in the cloud that is dedicated to us. Reason why we have gone to that level is to ensure we do not tell our subscribers stories.
The problem we are having with the network operators is their inability to see that this project is important for the nation, because local content is not always the best for the expatriate companies.
It’s just the way the oil companies operate; we need a lion-hearted Minister who will put it on the expatriate companies to align themselves with the domestic inventors.
Do we have government functionaries who understand what mobile application developers go through?

Human Resources
We need to have telecom people in government; those who understand the nitty-gritty of the business so as to harness the potentials.
Your software is nothing until it goes out to the public. Nigeria must do everything within our powers to run away from impending telecom colonization.
It is a serious issue; there is no sector that the foreigners are not dominating.
We need to have Nigerians hold some gates in the sector. They know it, but there is not enough passion to drive it.
We have the best of policies in place, but the implementation is the problem. You remember when the telecom market was initially liberalised, NITEL had 400,000 lines and owned all infrastructure associated with the industry.
The new private operators were begging NITEL (for infrastructure sharing), but now they have all built their own infrastructures and its NITEL through the government begging them (for accommodation).
So, the bigger you are, the less stress, because you don’t have to talk to anybody.    
  
Government’s Involvement  
The connection between government and the realities ends in speeches. We need to have people who feel the pain to make things happen.
We need the government and the industry to understand each other by communicating on a regular basis, so we can deliver a resultant technological effect to the people at the grassroots.     

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MTN Smart Survey a Smart Way to get Customer’s Insight

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There’s nothing more important than the opinion of the masses when it comes to marketing or business positioning.

 

After all, without the approval and buy-in of the public, it would be hard to get any product or concept off the ground.

L-R: General Manager, Customer Experience, MTN Nigeria, Kolawole Oyeyemi; General Manager, Enterprise Marketing, MTN Nigeria, Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka and Customer Enablement, MTN Nigeria, Ladipo Nylander at the launch of MTN Smart Survey, an effective tool for customer insight which held on Monday, December 10, 2018

 

Market/consumer surveys provide detailed insights into competitors, and aid in understanding customers’ preferences & discomforts.

 

Consumer surveys are used in analysing latest market trends, consumer buying patterns, economic shifts, and demographics.

 

Useful as these surveys may be, many businesses are unable to obtain the insights they need from them for business decisions.

General Manager, Customer Experience, MTN Nigeria, Kolawole Oyeyemi taking guests through a presentation tagged ‘mobile survey as an effective tool for customer insight and optimal value propositioning’.

 

In response to this challenge, MTN Nigeria has just launched a business tool, MTN Smart Survey to enable smart business owners to leverage on market research in developing effective strategies for business growth.

 

MTN Smart Survey, which is offered in collaboration with Communication and Marketing Research Group Limited (CMRG), provides an electronic medium for conduct and administration of surveys specifically targeted to a group of MTN subscribers.

Guests at the launch

The service offers survey delivery through the USSD channel to subscribers that have been profiled based on specific attributes, such as age, gender, location, etc.

 

The launch of the new solution had in attendance dignitaries from various business sectors in Nigeria who had a firsthand experience of the platform and its functionalities.

Guests at the launch

 

The new business tool has also been designed to reward customers with N100 MTN airtime upon completion of questions administered through the survey.

 

MTN Nigeria continues to seek ways to contribute to the Nigerian economy by extending its partnership capabilities to brighten the lives of business owners within the country.

 

 

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Mobile Industry Can Generate $565Bn by Unlocking Right 5G Spectrum – GSMA

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Unlocking spectrum for the mobile industry to deliver innovative 5G services across different industry sectors could add $565 billion to global GDP and $152 billion in tax revenue from 2020 to 2034, according to a new report launched today by the GSMA.

 

Next-generation 5G services will improve access to healthcare, education and mobility whilst reducing pollution and increasing safety.

 

However, these outcomes rely on government support for the identification of sufficient millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum for the mobile industry at the next ITU World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019 (WRC-19).

 

The report, “Socio-Economic Benefits of 5G Services Provided in mmWave Bands”, is the first to examine and quantify the impact of mmWave spectrum on the overall contribution of 5G networks to society. mmWave spectrum will carry the highest capacity 5G services.

 

It has the ideal characteristics to support very high data transfer rates and ultra-reliable, low latency capabilities, which will support new use cases and deliver the benefits of 5G to consumers and businesses around the world.

 

Brett Tarnutzer, Head of Spectrum, GSMA, said “The global mobile ecosystem knows how to make spectrum work to deliver a better future.

“Mobile operators have a history of maximising the impact of our spectrum resources and no one else has done more to transform spectrum allocations into services that are changing people’s lives.

 

“Planning spectrum is essential to enable the highest 5G performance and government backing for mmWave mobile spectrum at WRC-19 will unlock the greatest value from 5G deployments for their citizens.

 

“More than 5 billion people already rely on the mobile ecosystem to deliver services that are integral to their daily lives and fundamental to the economic sustainability of the communities they live in. 5G can offer more benefits and a whole new range of services to even more people, but this will not be possible without access to this vital spectrum.”

 

New Possibilities for Consumers and Industry

mmWave 5G will not only provide consumers with ultra-fast mobile broadband services including immersive entertainment, but will stimulate a host of applications that will enable citizens and businesses to do tomorrow what they can’t do today.

 

These innovations will include enhanced remote healthcare and education, industrial automation, virtual and augmented reality, and many others.

 

In healthcare, improved telemedicine including tactile internet capabilities, better preventative medicine using always-on remote sensors and wearables, and remote surgery and ‘smart’ instruments will only be made possible because of the speed and latency capabilities enabled by mmWave spectrum.

 

Next-generation robots, remote object manipulation (controlling machines with precision at distance), drones and other real-time control applications in digitised industrial centres are expected to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve safety as well as lead to innovations in products and processes.

 

In autonomous transport, mmWave 5G will enable driverless vehicles to communicate with each other, the cloud and the physical environment continuously to create highly efficient public transport networks.

 

These and many other innovative use cases are expected to deliver 25 per cent of the overall value created by 5G in the future.

 

Global growth from mmWave

The early lead already being established in 5G in the Asia Pacific and Americas regions are expected to generate the greatest share of GDP attributed to mmWave 5G, at $212 billion and $190 billion respectively. Europe is forecast to have the highest percentage of GDP growth attributable to mmWave of any region, with 2.9 per cent.

 

However, the advantages are not restricted to early-adopting mobile markets and, as the rest of the world deploys 5G in subsequent years, economies of scale derived from spectrum harmonisation will stimulate even faster growth. Regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean could see growth in GDP contribution from mmWave 5G applications of over 65 per cent per year from 2026 until 2034.

 

“It is critical for governments to recognise the importance of the mmWave aspects of 5G when making decisions at the upcoming WRC-19.

 

“Making the right decisions now on spectrum will be vital to stimulating the rapid growth of economies, especially in developing markets, in the coming decade,” added the GSMA’s Brett Tarnutzer.

 

“mmWave spectrum has the capacity to support the innovative services expected from the highest performance of 5G, and only the mobile ecosystem has the technical expertise and track record in collaboration to deliver them at a price acceptable to consumers and businesses around the world.”

 

New mmWave bands for mobile are being discussed at WRC-19, and the GSMA recommends supporting the 26 GHz, 40 GHz and 66-71 GHz bands for mobile.

 

Global harmonisation of these bands at WRC-19 will create the greatest economies of scale and make broadband more affordable across the world.

 

Outside the WRC-19 process, 28 GHz is also emerging as an important mmWave band for realising the ultra-high-speed vision for 5G. Commercial services using this band have already been launched in the US and it will also be used for mmWave 5G in countries such as South Korea, Japan, India and Canada.

 

The report, “Socio-Economic Benefits of 5G Services Provided in mmWave Bands”, which includes details of 5G use cases, value and GDP contribution by sector and geography, can be found here.

 

The study was conducted by TMG, a consulting firm specialising in the information and communication technologies sector, on behalf of the GSMA.

 

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Google Brings Better, Faster Wi-Fi to Abuja

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L-R: MD/CEO BCN - Ibrahim Dikko Vice President Osinbajo, Chairman Wuse Traders Association -Raphael Okorie Ikechukwu at the unveiling of Google Station in Abuja on Thursday.

Google on Thursday unveiled Google Station in Abuja, a platform for providing free, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots in public

 

The Google Station was simultaneously launched at three different locations in Abuja which include Wuse Market, Enab Plaza and Banex Plaza.

 

In partnership with Backbone Connectivity Network, an integrated communications and data management company, this launch kick started the rollout that is expected across the northern part of Nigeria in the coming months.
Google Station is a simple set of tools to roll-out Wi-Fi hotspots, and aims to bring more people fast and reliable Wi-Fi in more places where they spend time, like bus stations, shopping malls, airports and public transit stations.

 

WiFi is available free of charge and partners leverage Google Station’s business model, which enables venues, system integrators, businesses and ISPs with access to fiber to setup, maintain and monetise their Wi-Fi networks.

 

According to the company,”Today, many venues with public Wi-Fi are required to stitch a custom solution together for each separate location. This makes public Wi-Fi networks hard to use: the log-in process is one-off and cumbersome, the connections are slow, and many networks can be less secure.

 

“Venues have trouble administering a large network, providing high quality service to users, and easily monetising its usage.

 

“To help solve this, Google Station offers a platform and works with ISPs, venues, and hardware partners, to reduce the cost of deployment, operations, and ongoing support.”

 

Speaking at the launch event, Saidu Abdullahi, Head Partnerships for Next Billion Users, said, “Google Station is part of our vision to provide fast and affordable Wi-Fi to our next billion users.

 

“Now, users in Abuja, will experience high-quality connections to Internet in airports, malls and universities.

 

“We want to expand to new high-traffic venues to help more people get online, and we’re looking for strategic and forward thinking partners to work with on this effort.”

 

Google announced in May that it aims to rollout 200 Google Station locations to millions of people in Nigeria.

 

Google Station launched at 11 high traffic venues in Lagos in July, and Abuja is the second city where it is being rolled out.

 

“Google is committed to Nigeria. Our commitment to provide free high speed Wifi to millions of Nigerians through Google Station is real, and we are happy to be bringing this service to people in Abuja,” Ehimuan-Chiazor said.

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