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Angst as OTTS Bite N370Bn off Telcos Revenue

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Over-the-top (OTT) services are now comfortably eating lunch of the telecommunications industry by de-layering that space and at last count have bitten off about N370 billion from the revenue of telecommunications operators in the country.

Angst as OTTS Bite N370Bn off Telcos Revenue

YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger and many others are the so-called over-the-top services.

They carry services over the networks, delivering value to customers, but without any carrier service provider being involved in planning, selling, provisioning, or servicing them must be checked.

According to a recent investigation by the Guardian, the activities of OTTs led to revenue losses put at N370 billion in 2019 as MTN, Globacom, Airtel, 9Mobile earned about ₦2.78tr from airtime sales and others.

The figure compared to N3.15tr in the corresponding period of 2018.

Also Average Revenue Per User (ArPU) fell by 20 per cent from $4.87 (N1,490) to $3.85 (N1,182) going by the official exchange rate of N305 to N306 per dollar in the period under review.

ArPU is used primarily by consumer communications, digital media and networking companies and is defined as the total revenue divided by the number of subscribers.

Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), the umbrella body of telecom operators in the country, has consistently insisted that it is not right that a company providing traditional telecommunications services has to meet certain regulatory requirements, like those concerning data protection, while a company providing comparable services over the web does not.

Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, ALTON, recently said that “We are beginning to see the need for regulators to look at regulating technology instead of services.

“For example, the likes of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger and many others are called over-the-top services that are not part of the core services for which operators are licensed.

“These over-the-top services have social, economic and security implications. If they are not licensed, it means they are not regulated, and in that case, there is no limit to the scope of what they can do. There is also no control over services and content they may provide,” he said.

But Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said that it has no plans to regulate OTT services.

Professor Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC, last year, while acknowledging the impact of disruptive technology in the sector and the challenges it poses to telcos in terms of competition for market share, encouraged network providers in Nigeria to innovate.

Human rights activists however, said that though regulation can be necessary to protect users’ rights – like it is to ensure data protection – some regulatory proposals risk our right to freedom of expression and can also thwart economic, social, and cultural rights.

Nelson Ceasar Obidile urged that regulator to be mindful of right-harming policy if it decides to regulate OTT.

 


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FG Declares Telecommunications Facilities Critical Infrastructure

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Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has directed Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to submit a comprehensive list of their facility locations all over the country as federal government approves security for telecommunications infrastructure to protect them from vandalism and theft.

FG Declares Telecommunications Facilities Critical Infrastructure

Pantami, in a statement, Tuesday said, the Nigerian telecommunications industry depends on a number of infrastructure that play a critical role in the smooth delivery of telecoms services.

“These are part of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) because of the important role they play, in ensuring security and in the delivery of other essential services.

“The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has led to a massive migration to digital platforms and has increased the level of importance of Critical National Infrastructure to the sustenance of our economy and the security of the nation.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved and also directed that necessary physical protective measures be emplaced to safeguard telecommunications infrastructure deployed across the country,” he stated.

The minister noted that this will address the challenge of vandalism of Critical National Infrastructure.  It will also go a long way in supporting the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (2020-2025). He thanked president Buhari, for the timely approval.

The statement signed by Uwa Suleiman, his spokesperson, stated that, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have been notified of Mr President’s directive.

“We are also working towards the reinforcement of these directives through appropriate regulatory instruments,” he said.

The minister commends the security institutions for their commitment so far.

He stated that implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) and the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy unveiled by the President have repositioned the ICT sector.


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Pantami Puts TCT’s Contribution to Nigeria’s GDP @ 14.07%

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Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has stated that the Informa­tion and Communications Technology (ICT) has contributed unprecedented 14.07 percent to the nation’s Gross Do­mestic Product (GDP).

Pantami Puts TCT’s Contribution to Nigeria’s GDP @ 14.07%

Dr Isa Pantami 

Dr. Femi Adeluyi, technical assistant, Information Technology to the minister of Communications and Dig­ital Economy, in a statement said the minister was delighted to hear of the growth of ICT’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020.

According to him, the National Bu­reau of Statistics (NBS) releases Nige­ria’s GDP report for Q1 2020 on May 25.

“The report observed that the coun­try’s GDP grew by 1.87 percent year-on-year in real terms in Q1 2020.

“The non-oil sector contributed 90.50 percent to the nation’s GDP in Q1 2020 as opposed to the 9.50 percent contrib­uted to total real GDP by the oil sector.

“It is noteworthy that the ICT sec­tor contributed 14.07 percent to the total real GDP in Q1 2020, higher than its contribution a year earlier, which was 13.32 percent and in the preceding quarter, in which it accounted for 13.12 percent.

“This contribution is unprecedented,” he said.

Pantami said that the growing con­tribution of the ICT sector to the GDP was a direct result of the focused and committed effort of the Federal Gov­ernment.

He said the Federal Government’s strategic policy direction included the inclusion of Digital Economy in the mandate of the Ministry, unveil­ing and implementation of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy as well as National Broadband Plan, among others.


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9mobile Announces Alan Sinfield as New CEO

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Telecoms company, 9mobile, has announced the appointment of seasoned telecoms expert, Alan Sinfield as the substantive Chief Executive Officer of the company.

He brings a wealth of global operational expertise having held leadership roles at numerous mobile, fixed-line and broadband data operators as well as retail, media, and wholesale distribution businesses across emerging markets in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

Sinfield succeeds Stephane Beuvelet, who held the position in an acting capacity when the new board took over the company’s management in November 2018.

Sinfield has been a Chief Executive Officer since 2006. He brings extensive international and operational experience from wireless telecom, fintech, and banking sectors to his new role at 9mobile.

His global experience covers countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, Slovakia, Iraq, Qatar, Myanmar, South Korea, Cambodia and Hong Kong. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer at Amara Communications Co. (ananda), a 4G LTE mobile broadband operator in Myanmar, and before this, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Cadcomms (qb), in Cambodia.

Other earlier roles included being CEO at Ooredoo (Starlink), a subsidiary of the listed Qatari Telecommunications Group, operating in Qatar and regionally, and also as Chief Information Officer and Chief Customer Services Officer at Orascom Telecom (IraQna), a subsidiary of the listed Egyptian Telecommunications Group, operating the first mobile network in Baghdad and surrounding territories providing voice and nascent data and satellite services.

Sinfield began his career in the Banking sector at Bank of America, where he was fast-tracked through a Management Trainee programme, later becoming a Programmer and Business Analyst where his desire to work overseas allowed him to close out the IT systems at Bank of America in Frankfurt, Germany.

Afterwards, Sinfield joined Barclays Bank in South Africa and spent three years there as a Technical Manager. He also worked for various other Banks in Portugal, Slovakia, and Hong Kong before his first foray into the telecom industry in Korea with SK Telecom, which led to an M&A role with the merger of SK Telecom & Shinsaegi Telecom.

Commenting on the appointment, Chairman of 9mobile, HRH, Alhaji Nasir Bayero, said, “Alan’s wealth of experience of building high performance and high-growth organizations will play a pivotal role in strengthening 9mobile’s market position in the highly competitive telecommunications industry.

“He brings with him the vision, passion and years of experience from diverse environments, which will consolidate our priorities to provide superior customer experience and sustained network quality.

“He is expected to work closely with the Board of Directors and all stakeholders to define credible and achievable long-term business plans, through the introduction of solutions to address the evolving needs of the Nigerian telecommunication market.”

Also commenting, Sinfield said, “The Nigerian telecoms industry is characterized by strong competition, but it is also an industry that is important to people everywhere.

Nigeria is rich in diversity and boasts of energetic, resilient, friendly and hardworking people. I am delighted to join the 9mobile family and I look forward to using my experience and unique value propositions to lead the company in the next exciting phase of its journey.

“The goal is to build on the existing strong foundation of the company to create value that will transform the Nigerian telecoms sector. I also look forward to embracing the people, the culture and the unique knowledge that Nigeria has to offer.”


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