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GSMA Highlights Policy Reforms to Lift Nigeria’s Economy

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Modernising regulation and policy reform will be crucial to boosting Nigeria’s digital economy and accelerating internet access for millions through increased mobile broadband penetration, according to a new report released by the GSMA.

The report, “Spotlight on Nigeria: Delivering a Digital Future”, was launched at a GSMA industry event, held in conjunction with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The event brought together leaders from across the mobile industry with policymakers to discuss future regulation and how to enable the next-generation of 5G connectivity.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Office (EVC/CEO), NCC, said “In the world we live in today, mobile communication is a cardinal tool of economic development, growth and integration, and the mobile industry is a key enabler of productivity across economies and societies.”

“The mobile industry is not only a significant contributor to the economic activities of Nigeria, but also towards the growth of other sectors of the economy.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission has been, and continues to play a key role in the development of mobile communication in Nigeria, and I am delighted to be part of this event today.

“This provides and avenue for regulators, operators, investors, and other relevant stakeholders to examine, share and constructively exchange ideas.”

Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA, said, “Mobile connectivity has already improved the welfare of millions of Nigerians, opening the door to new digital possibilities and powering the country’s economic development,”

“For Nigeria to take full advantage of the next phase of its digital transformation, it’s vital that collaboration between industry and government enables the right policy environment for millions more to benefit from ultra-fast mobile broadband.

“If policies don’t keep pace with the needs of society and technological innovation, there is a risk that citizens will be left behind and productivity and competitiveness will suffer.”

 

Mobile’s Contribution to Economic Growth

GSMA research shows that the mobile market in Nigeria makes an important contribution to the economy. The mobile industry contributed $21 billion to GDP in 2017, representing 5.5 per cent of Nigeria’s total GDP. In addition, the growth of Nigeria’s digital economy resulted in the creation of nearly 500,000 direct and indirect jobs.

 

Accelerating Mobile Broadband Adoption

Growth in the adoption of digital services by government, businesses and consumers is having a positive impact on daily life in Nigeria. For the majority of Nigerians, mobile broadband is the first and only technology for accessing the internet, enabling better access to health, education and commercial opportunities, amongst other public services. Smartphone adoption has already risen to over 53 million connections, and 49 per cent of the population are currently connected by mobile technology, compared to less than one per cent who have a fixed-line connection.

 

However, the report concludes that there is still broad scope for Nigeria to increase its mobile penetration. Although more Nigerians are getting access to mobile broadband, the country lags regional peers in 4G adoption. Helping to accelerate adoption would enable more advanced services and create bigger societal impacts.

 

With increased spectrum harmonisation and licensing reform, the country’s mobile penetration is forecast to rise to 55 per cent of the population by 2025, with 70 per cent having 3G connectivity and 17 per cent having access to 4G networks. Currently, only 44 per cent of mobile subscribers in Nigeria are using 3G technology and 4 per cent are using 4G technology, compared to over 18 per cent 4G penetration in South Africa and 16 per cent in Angola.

 

Harmonised Spectrum, Licensing Reforms Critical to Nigeria’s Digital Future

The GSMA has identified support for and release of harmonised spectrum and a modernised licensing framework as fundamental building blocks for Nigeria’s digital future. The harmonisation of 1427-1518 MHz and 3.3–3.6 GHz makes them critically important bands for mobile operators seeking to offer new mobile services to consumers and businesses. Making these bands available for assignment to mobile operators will be a core component in reinforcing Nigeria’s position as Africa’s leading mobile market.

 

With active participation in the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) process, Nigeria is hugely influential. With a year to go until WRC-19, leading the region in support of identifying new IMT bands that 5G will benefit from, especially the 26GHz, 40GHz and 70GHz bands, will be crucial.

 

Licensing Updates to Promote Market Growth

Changes in the market and technologies have resulted in a licensing framework and licensing conditions in Nigeria that could benefit from a review and update; left as is, they could pose an impediment to future growth. A future-fit licensing regime will help promote market growth, boost investor confidence and enable increased connectivity.

 

Building on the progress already achieved by the NCC, the GSMA recommends the following reforms in its report:

  • Retire the Digital Mobile Licence, the National Carrier Licence and the International Gateway Licence;
  • Eliminate superseded conditions in the Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) and migrate many others towards a supplementary general UASL conditions document or to parallel regulations;
  • Transition to an indefinite duration for the UASL;
  • Guarantee a true unified approach to licensing, permitting licensees to offer the full range of services, as per the UASL scope of services provision; and
  • Provide coverage obligations via radio frequency licences.

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Hackers Attack Global Phone Networks, China Fingered

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Hackers targeted mobile phone networks around the world to snoop on specific users, according to a report by Cybereason, a US-Israeli security firm.

The level of access they gained to the networks meant they could have shut them down had they wanted to.

Cybereason concluded “with a high level of certainty” that the hackers were based in China, probably sponsored by the government.

The attack – dubbed Operation Soft Cell – began in 2017, Cybereason spotted the attacks in 2018 and helped one telecoms provider through four more over the next six months. It has now briefed more than a dozen others.

None of the targeted firms or people has been named but, according to the report, the hackers collected the call records and geo-location of various individuals from a selection of countries, including those in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The security firm identified changes in the pattern of attack and new activity every three or four months. The hackers gained entry to networks via a flaw in a web server product.

Cybereason said the tools and techniques bore the hallmarks of Chinese hacking group APT10, which is widely believed to operate on behalf of the Chinese government.

A security expert at the University of Surrey, Professor Alan Woodward said the scale and audacity of the attacks were “breathtaking”.

“The hackers used phishing attacks to get privileged access to networks and could potentially have closed them down.

“They could see who called whom, when, and also seem to have been able to track people’s movements.”

While US networks do not seem to be affected by this wave of attacks, they remain vulnerable and could have been targeted with different tools, said Prof Woodward.

While there is no suggestion that Chinese firms played any part in the attacks, it will add “grist to the mill” for politicians calling for mobile operators to distance themselves from firms like Huawei, he added.

In 2018, 30 per cent of telecoms firms reported that sensitive customer data had been stolen in attacks.

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MTN Launches 4G+, Offer Customers Superior Experience

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MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has launched 4G+ in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt.

 

The enhanced service is aimed at delivering a premium experience to more people across the country.

 

MTN 4G+ runs on 4G LTE Advanced Technology using a combination of the recently acquired 800 MHz spectrum and 2600 MHz.

 

The added spectrum and advanced technology extend the reach and capacity of MTN’s data network in Nigeria and enables speeds of up to 200 Mbps.

 

This means a 30-minute HD video could take as little as three minutes to download on 4G+, while the same video would take around eight minutes to download on standard 4G.

 

The service is immediately available and will deliver much higher broadband speeds, a more consistent connection and significant improvement in indoor coverage.

 

Commenting on the new service Mazen Mroue, Chief Operating Officer, MTN Nigeria said “It’s about the customer. We put the customer at the heart of everything that we do.”

 

Noting that the launch of 4G+ represents a natural evolution from MTN’s already fast and reliable 4G network and further demonstrates the company’s commitment to continued investment in technology that caters to the present and future needs of its customers and country.

 

“As MTN, we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.

 

“With this enhancement, our customers in covered locations can expect faster downloads and uploads, and better browsing and streaming experiences.

 

“The successful launch of our 4G+ network is a momentous occasion, which advances our quest to provide world-class service to our customers,” he concluded.

 

To activate the service and enjoy a new digital experience, customers need an MTN Standard 4G SIM (upgrades available in stores nationwide) and a compatible device.

 

 

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Konga Crashes Price to Celebrate 7th Anniversary

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Konga,Nigeria’s composite e-commerce giant, has flagged-off mouth-watering discount sales to celebrate the seventh anniversary of its groundbreaking strides in the Nigerian e-commerce sector.

 

The promotion will cover a wide range of products ranging from electronics, mobile phones, tablets, fashion, wine/spirits, home appliances, computers/accessories, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and much more.

 

The Konga 7th Anniversary sale will run from June 24th to July 7th 2019. Shoppers on Konga will enjoy amazing offers including flash sales and treasure hunt.

 

There are also special deals and offers for visitors to its nationwide network of stores.

 

Furthermore, shoppers stand to enjoy free delivery nationwide on orders above N15,000 from Konga warehouse.

 

Chidalu Ekeh, head of Marketing, explained that Konga’s commitment to customers in the past seven years is borne out of deep appreciation for their patronage and loyalty.

 

She added that this comes with an unbeatable offer of best prices and quality products.

“We’ve been able to serve our customers exceptionally these past seven years and that is down to our innovations in technology, swift delivery, cutting-edge service and other interventions that have improved the shopping experience.

 

“We are closest to Nigerians with the establishment of over 30 experience stores in major locations across the nation.

 

“Added to this is the presence of massive regional warehousing facilities that cater to the needs of our growing database of merchants and customers.

 

“The Konga Marketplace, a structure we pioneered, remains the best and most trusted online marketplace on this side of the Atlantic.

 

“We have also expanded the suite of offerings through Konga Pay, a Central Bank of Nigeria-licensed mobile money e-wallet as well as Konga Travel which remains the first omni-channel travel booking agency in Nigeria with best deals.

 

“Furthermore, Kxpress, our in-house logistics arm, is a world class company that has resolved the thorny issue of last mile delivery to our teeming customers nationwide. This is in addition to handling critical deliveries to external parties.

 

“We are excited with the journey and our aim is to go the extra-mile in satisfying our customers – a reason we crashed our prices to make the offers juicy.

 

“With our effective customer service, we have the capacity to attend to and resolve feedbacks promptly.

 

“Our customers also have a range of payment options to choose from including payment on delivery, online payment through Konga Pay, payment on collection, cash payment in the store, payment through Visa, payment through USSD and much more,” she concluded.

 

 

 

 

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