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Airtel Ink Partnership with UNICEF to Boost U-Report

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United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has partnered with Airtel Nigeria to further expand telecommunication services to boost U-Report, UNICEF’s unique social media platform that empowers young people and communities with information to transform their communities and drive positive change on a wide range of issues affecting them.

Airtel Ink Partnership with UNICEF to Boost U-Report

Speaking at the signing of agreement between UNICEF and Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, chief executive officer, Airtel Nigeria, said, “Airtel is pleased and excited to be a part of the history and story of U-Report and we commend UNICEF for blazing the trail in empowering young people and giving a voice to the voiceless. We believe this partnership with UNICEF will provide more Nigerians with a voice and also promote a more inclusive society, a cause we are passionate about.”

Ogunsanya said U-Report introduced a second platform in Nigeria, U-Report 24×7, almost a year ago, dedicated to serving the needs of affected populations in the north-east states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

He said it has become a trusted channel for sharing lifesaving information on essential household practices to adopt by communities during emergencies, such as disease outbreaks, adding that it is a platform for increased stakeholder engagement and community empowerment.

“Airtel Nigeria is also passionate about empowering people and providing them an opportunity to rediscover themselves and to become successful in their personal and professional endeavours. We are confident that U-report will continue to deliver value in the remotest locations as we explore more innovative and sustainable ways of helping the underprivileged and also promoting corporate philanthropy,” he added.

Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative, said, “Partnerships are essential as we continue to support communities to become active participants in finding solutions to issues that affect them. We are delighted that Airtel Nigeria shares this vision.”

It would be recalled that the first U-Report poll in Nigeria was sent in April 2014, and since then over nine hundred polls have been shared on the platform in English and the major Nigerian languages of Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Pidgin, making the platform inclusive. Political office holders also use the U-Report platform to connect with their constituencies to find out their service delivery needs and areas for improvement.

U-Report uses simple short message service (SMS) and social media to reach more than three million responders across all states in Nigeria on critical issues such as access to education, skills development and employability, water and sanitation, health, violence against children, safety and security, and the needs of internally displaced persons.

It relies on volunteers from the community, mostly young people serving as U-Reporters, to provide information through polls. Results generated from U-Report polls are shared with the office of the Vice President of Nigeria and other relevant agencies for necessary action.

 


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Konnect Africa offers Broadband Internet Connection to all Isolation Centers in Sokoto State

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Konnect, a subsidiary of Eutelsat Communications, pursues its ambition to connect the entire African continent to very high speed Internet, and more particularly in this context of the current health crisis.

Konnect has recently proposed to offer broadband internet connection to isolation centers to fight against Covid-19 in Sokoto, a north-western state in Nigeria, where it will enable the real-time connection of centers, leading to an effective coordination of medical services and improved the care offer thanks to telemedicine.

With this offer, Konnect joins the fight of several African governments to combat Covid-19 by allowing access to care for the greatest number of people. Each isolation center will benefit from free broadband connectivity. This deployment is made possible through the partnership with Coollink, a foremost ISP in Nigeria.

Commenting on the agreement, Jean-Claude Tshipama, CEO of Konnect Africa, said: “This operation demonstrates our ability to meet as quickly as possible the connectivity needs of institutional and commercial structures, even in complex times like these. We want Sokoto State to benefit from our expertise and the quality of our broadband services by providing FREE connectivity to all isolation centers.”

Shahin Nouri, CEO of Coollink, added: “Helping the Sokoto State Government to provide free satellite internet services to isolation centers is very important to us. It shows our engagement to deliver high-speed Internet anywhere in Nigeria and to help communities in crisis. Eutelsat Konnect has been a very important partner for us, and with such initiatives, is showing its commitment to the Nigerian market.”

Sokoto State Government Commissioner for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Inname said: “Konnect has shown great concern towards the good people of Sokoto state by providing internet connectivity to three Covid-19 Isolation centers in the state. This gesture will go a long way in facilitating the management of Covid-19 patients in the state.”

Konnect, in partnership with Coollink, has been operating in Nigeria since 2017, with the ambition of offering broadband connectivity to all segments of the population, in particular those located in unserved or underserved areas.

Konnect offers an affordable and flexible solution, available everywhere. Konnect will see its in-orbit resources increase tenfold with the entry into service of the EUTELSAT KONNECT satellite in the coming months. With a total capacity of 75 Gbps, EUTELSAT KONNECT will be able to provide very high speed Internet of up to 100 Mbps, guaranteeing full coverage of Nigeria and 40 other African countries.


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Subscribers Seek Free Calls, Data as Palliatives

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Telecoms subscribers have appealed to the telecoms companies to provide them with free voice calls, in addition to more data palliatives.

Subscribers Seek Free Calls, Data as Palliatives

Deolu Ogunbanjo, president, NATCOMS

Deolu Ogunbanjo, president, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), who spoke during a recent webinar organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said the call became necessary to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which he said, had grounded global economies, and created so much challenges for telecoms subscribers across networks.

Ferdi Moolman, CEO, MTN, recently said the telco alone had provided 3.71 billion free SMS to more than 51 million subscribers across every state of the Nigerian federation; which he said was a projection that 75 per cent of all MTN subscribers, utilised the service while it lasted during the pandemic.

But while commending the telecoms operators for providing free SMS to subscribers, Ogunbanjo said: “Telecoms subscribers in Nigeria are also looking forward to the telecommunications companies in Nigeria to give free voice call and additional data palliatives to subscribers on their various networks.”

Ogunbanjo commended NCC for setting up the pace on the consumer rights to seek redress by providing the 6-2-2 Toll-free line.

“The Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have also done the same by providing the Toll-free customer care lines. He however said unfortunately, this is not so for other companies operating in Nigeria.

In other countries, we all know that companies do provide Toll-free redress /complaint lines as one the consumer’s rights to seek redress anytime.

This Redress/Complaint Toll-feee lines should be provided by all companies operating in Nigeria that is expecting some form of feedback /redress on their products and services offerings, as this promotes consumer-centrism,” Ogunbanjo said.

He drew the attention of NCC to the unwholesome practice of mobile phone importers and manufacturers, insisting that with a population of over 200 million people and a subscriber base of over 190 million subscribers as at April this year, Nigeria is a very big phones market and as such, all phones coming into Nigeria must be of standard quality and must satisfy the yearnings and aspirations of phone users, particularly as it concerns the phone chargers that come with mobile phones into Nigeria. “All over Nigeria, our electrical wall sockets are the 3-pin-plug type.

However, phone dealers, to our disappointment bring into Nigeria the 2-pin-plug phone chargers, a development that infringes on the consumer’s right to product satisfaction in view of the fact that mobile phones are consumer durables,” Ogunbanjo said.

He therefore called on NCC to engage mobile phone importers and manufacturers to ensure that all mobile phones coming into Nigeria come with 3-pin quality chargers.


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CPN Says 5G Will Drive Economic Growth, Social Inclusion

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Prof. Charles Uwadie, president and chairman in council of the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), has said that the adoption of 5th Generation (5G) telecom network will drive economic growth and social inclusion in Nigeria.

CPN Says 5G Will Drive Economic Growth, Social Inclusion

He stated this during a virtual press conference.

Uwadie said that the adoption of 5G had been touted as the next frontier of investment across the world.

He added at the press conference held to announce the agency’s 2020 IT Professionals’ Assembly and Annual General Meeting that the latest telecom technology could increase Nigeria’s Information Communication Technology Sector’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. But he said 5G’s adoption would not be without challenges in Nigeria.

“It is for this reason that the 2020 IT Professionals’ Assembly would be considering the technological and regulatory challenges associated with the adoption of 5G viz-a-viz the future of frequency bands, deployment and coverage, device support, security and privacy, digital infrastructure challenges, outdated regulatory policies, removal of impediments to the expansion of digital infrastructures, commitment to actions that promote the long-term growth of the digital economy, misgivings and health concerns against it, among other issues’’, he said.

 


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