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As IoT beckons, Pantami Assures of Proactive Regulation

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Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, on Thursday in Lagos assured the nation that Nigeria’s telecom regulatory framework has been designed to address the challenges that may arrive with the advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the country.

Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy (4th from left); Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC (3rd from right) with other Dignitaries from Left to Right: Salahu Junaidu, Director, Chief Research Adviser to the Honourable Minister; Prof. Muhammed Bello Abubakar, MD/CEO Galaxy Backbone; Prof. Mike Hinchey, Keynote Speaker; Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC (2nd right); Mr. Aliyu Yusuf Aboki, Executive Secretary, West Africa Telecom Regulatory Assembly (1st Right), during the Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Emerging Tech/Launching of two books by Pantami, on 14th July 2022 at the Sheraton Hotel Lagos

Pantami, who spoke at the twin event – Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Regulatory Roadmap for IoT Ecosystem in Nigeria, hosted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); and presentation of two books authored by the Minister, declared that Nigeria has already exhibited its preparedness to harness the potentials of this new service, as demonstrated in the reduction in incidences of cybercrimes in Nigeria over the past two years.

He emphasized the need for the type of consultations and brainstorming being hosted for IoT, as the International Data Cooperation (IDC) revealed that, “By 2025, there will be about 46.1 billion IoT devices that are going to be interconnected globally…and through this connection, the data to be generated will be up to 79.4 zeta bites.”

At a gathering that featured presentations by local and international experts, with the Secretary of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Houlin Zhao, in virtual participation, Pantami said IoT is crucial to present day emergent technologies considering its connectedness to devices in facilitating productivity, minimize waste as well as ensure a faster decision making process where massive amount of data can be analysed and presented for decision making.

Earlier in an address of welcome, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, explained that, in the process of undertaking its responsibility of regulation, the NCC has made it a consistent practice to interact with experts and key players in the industry on how best to facilitate the development of robust regulations for emergent technologies in the country.

Danbatta said this consultation presents a unique opportunity to appraise the emergence and future deployment of IoT products and services for the benefit of consumers in Nigeria.

In his goodwill message and review of one of the books authored by Pantami titled ‘Datafication of Society to Foster an Internet Economy,’ the ITU scribe, commended Nigeria’s cooperation within the international telecommunications community and how Pantami assisted in the facilitation of programmes of the ITU, including his recent chairmanship of the World Summit on Information Society at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

In the review of Pantami’s second book titled: ‘Cybersecurity: Initiatives for Securing a Country’, Prof. Mike Hinchey of the University of Limerik, Ireland, who doubled as keynote speaker at the event, commended the Minister, stating that the book is a bold statement that Africa is no longer waiting on the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry side-lines but now creating content for its institutions.

In a panel discussion, featuring experts from various sectors of the ICT industry, the challenges and prospects of IoT within the Nigerian telecom ecosystem were reviewed, with a view to preparing the country for the future application of IoT products and services.

 

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

Telecom

Subscribers Decry Poor Service Delivery by Telcos, Accuse NCC of Playing the Ostrich

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Telecommunications subscribers have waxed angrily at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for pretending that everything was fine while subscribers grapple with unreliable internet and call services.

Subscribers Decry Poor Service Delivery by Telcos, Accuse NCC of Playing the Ostrich

They want the regulator could do more by compelling Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), also known as telcos, to improve their service.

Some of the major complaints are connection failures, poor data service, fluctuating network, data roll over challenges, illegal credit deductions and uncompleted calls.

Experts said that the drop in service quality has been attributed to the fact that three out of the four mobile network operators failed to meet the industry standards for network service.

In separate calls; Association of Telephone, CableTv, and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS-Nigeria) and National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOM) urged the NCC to live up to its responsibility of protecting subscribers.

Sina Bilesanmi, president, ATCIS-Nigeria, accused the NCC of pretending that everything was fine while subscribers groaned.

He said that ATCIS-Nigeria members have not only complained about drop calls and inability to originate calls, but they are also unable to access their airtime balance after recharging.

Bilesanmi argued that now that service quality has nosedived, there was no ground for telcos to justify any demand for a tariff increase.

He said that “ I have been inundated with complaints about low service quality from my members.

“ It is worrisome and the NCC is pretending that all is well. This low service quality is coming at a time when the MNOs are asking for a hike in tariff and our members were beginning to show understanding because, quite frankly, the tariff has remained the same for over a decade.

“The operators should tell us if they have any challenges.”

Elsewhere, Deolu Ogunbanjo, national president, NATCOM, said the service rendered by the MNOs had become  ‘’so bad’ that subscribers now lament openly.

He added that the telcos, on their part,   complained about their constraints to expand capacity.”

He said: “It(service delivery) has been so bad. It was one of the issues raised last Thursday but the telcos complained about their constraint to expand capacity and the need to raise tariff.”

Ogunbanjo said he supported the demand for an increase in tariff because it was overdue.

He, however, said an increase must be marginal in order not to asphyxiate the industry.

 

 


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Meta Disagrees with $220m Fine, Sets for Appeal

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Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp and Facebook, is preparing to appeal a decision by Nigerian regulators to impose a $220 million fine against it for alleged market power abuse and privacy violations.

Meta Disagrees with $220m Fine, Sets for Appeal

The company said that “We disagree with this decision as well as the fine and we are appealing the decision,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

The spokesperson did not specify where and when the appeal will be lodged.

It will be recalled that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) published the fine last week, capping a three-year investigation.

The inquiry focused on data sharing practices on WhatsApp, the most widely used messaging service in Nigeria.

The commission claimed it found evidence of “multiple and repeated, as well as continuing infringements” of the country’s data protection and competition laws and imposed the fine as a final resolution.

Meta was ordered to “immediately reinstate the rights of Nigerian users to self-determine and control” data sharing, and stop sharing WhatsApp users’ information “with other Facebook companies and third parties” without users’ active consent.

It was also required to pay $35,000 to cover the cost of the commission’s investigation, in addition to the $220 million penalty. Both amounts are to be paid within 60 days from July 18.

Nigeria began looking into WhatsApp, which has an estimated 51 million users in the country, in May 2021.

That was four months after the app updated its global privacy policy on messaging between individuals and businesses, and how users’ data may be shared with Facebook.

Meta began responding to concerns detailed in Nigeria’s report around March this year, pledging to cooperate towards “reaching an amicable resolution,” according to the commission.

A “remedy package” proposed by Meta and sent mid-April proved unsatisfactory to the commission, however, its report said.

It is not clear what this package is — an email for comment to the commission was not responded to. Nigeria still expects Meta to implement it and publish it on WhatsApp’s website within two weeks, in addition to the fines.

Beyond complying with its laws, Nigeria’s aim with the penalties is to get Meta to “cease the exploitation of consumers and their market abuse,” the commission said.

 

 


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WATRA Says Digital Economy Contributes $30Bn Annually to W/African GDP

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The West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) has said that the digital economy currently contributes around $30 billion annually to the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

WATRA Says Digital Economy Contributes $30Bn Annually to W/African GDP

WATRA also called for lower cost of internet access to enhance the digital economy for the respective countries in the region.

Mr Aliyu Aboki, executive secretary, WATRA, who disclosed this during a virtual press conference at the weekend also said the West African telecommunications market is now valued at $63.17 billion with over 400 million mobile subscribers.

However, Aboki said WATRS is working on initiatives to facilitate infrastructure sharing among West African countries to lower the cost of internet for telecom subscribers across the region.

According to him, infrastructure such as gateways, and data centres are facilities that could be shared by countries in the region.

Admitting that the cost of internet across West African countries is still high, Aboki said a lower cost of internet access would enhance the digital economy for the respective countries in the region and increase the consumption of data by the citizens, which in turn generate more revenue for the telecom operators.

“We are exploring regional initiatives to share infrastructure and reduce cost. For example, we have infrastructures like gateways, data center servers, and so on. These are infrastructures that can be shared and used by different countries without necessarily having everyone building the same infrastructure.

“So, we are collectively looking at these rich regional initiatives that enable us to share infrastructure to bring down the cost of Internet ultimately,” the WATRA scribe said.

 

 


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