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ATCON Wants More Telcos to Drive MNP

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Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) is of the view that Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) should add more telecoms operators to engender competition and improve the mobile number portability scheme (MNP).

ATCON also believed that poor quality of service (QoS) is the major reason why porting traffic has been low in Nigeria adding that MNP has not really stirred up competitions especially in the quality of service they render.

Lanre Ajayi, president, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), who co-chaired the forum said that the current scheme needs a review.

Ajayi said that poor QoS was the major reason why porting traffic has been low in Nigeria adding that MNP has not really stir up competitions especially in the quality of service provisioning.

Therefore he was of the opinion that if new telecom operator is brought in, it will bring the gene among existing operators on foster the really drive for improve QoS.

Meanwhile, fresh indications emerged on Tuesday that a new and seamless mobile number porting regime will soon be introduced in the bid to deepened competition among telecoms operators and as well offer improved value added services for users in the country.

Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, former executive vice chairman, Nigeria Communication Commission, said that MNP scheme would foster improved service delivery from the four operators in the country as they compete to service over 119.3 million active phone lines in the country.

Represented by Doyemi Ogoh, special assistant technical at NCC, Ndukwe said, “I am so sure that the recent traffic record from the MNP so far as given by the Interconnect Clearing House (ICH) has been a working tool in the process to ensure the service is better improved. Though there has been hiccup on the 90 days window before one could be able to port to another choice network, there is also the delay tactics from donor operator to the recipient operator during porting window and the present appearance of subscriber at the operators outlet to complete porting process, all these challenges are being looked into and I can tell you before long there will be a review.”
 

 


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Telecom

Stakeholders @PIAFo Identify Obstacles to FG’s 90,000km Fibre Project

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Stakeholders in the telecommunications industry have said the Federal Government’s plan to deploy 90,000 kilometers of fibre optic cables across the country will face several obstacles, especially from state governments, that might truncate the project.  

L—R: Executive Director, Broadbased Communications Limited, Chidi Ibisi; National Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo; Chief Operating Officer, WTES Projects Limited, Chidi Ajuzie; Chief Executive Officer, Skymax Integrated Networks Limited, Engr. Chidi Charles Agukwe; Deputy Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analyses, Nigerian Communications Commission, Mrs. Freda Bruce-Bennett; the Convener of Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFo), Mr. Omobayo Azeez; Lucky Anumaka, Manager, Managed Services and Operations, Zora Communications Limited; Co-founder/Executive Director, Infratel Africa, Dr. Tola Yusuf; and the Chief Executive Officer, Open Access Data Centre, Dr. Atotunde Coker at the sixth edition of PIAFo on Digital Economy held on Wednesday in Lagos.

According to them, without addressing the current issue of Right of Way charges, multiple taxation, and levies, which are under the control of state governments, the project which is to be implemented through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) would be an exercise in futility.  

The stakeholders, who spoke during the Sixth Edition of the Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFO) in Lagos on Wednesday, which was a focus on Nigeria’s renewed strategic agenda for digital economy.

They stressed the need to ensure the successful implementation of the project which was announced recently by the Federal Government to complement existing connectivity for universal access to the internet across Nigeria and provide the Nigerian digital economy with the backbone infrastructure it needed.

Addressing the obstacles 

Presenting a paper on the topic, ‘Harmonizing Nigeria’s Fibre Deployment Strategies for Effective Implementation’, Executive Director of Broadbased Communications, Mr. Chidi Ibisi, said while the government’s SPV initiative is a good plan that could help the country bridge its current digital infrastructure gap, the government would need to address current challenges.  

“The issues of high cost of Right of Way (RoW), destruction of fiber by road construction companies and vandals all need to be addressed for this new SPV initiative to be successful,” he said.  

Highlighting some of the challenges telecom operators face when deploying infrastructure, the Group Chief Operating Officer of WTES Projects Limited, Mr. Chidi Ajuzie, said the biggest challenge to fibre cable laying in Nigeria is the informal RoW by hoodlums in states.  

“For states, a formal right of way is set and some states are adopting it but the informal side of the right of way is where the complexity has come today.  

“If I’m trying to lay fibre in some communities here in Lagos, the first thing that happens is the so-called land owners (omo onile) come out and a different set of people will keep coming from one street to another and they charge you. How do we achieve adequate broadband infrastructure in this kind of situation?” he said.  

Role of state governments 

According to the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, for the 90,000 kilometres fibre project to succeed, the state governments have to take ownership. 

“For the project to succeed, I think the governments at sub-nationals should take ownership. This issue of state governments seeing right of way as IGR should be a thing of the past. We can’t talk about the digital economy on one side and the government is seeing those who provide the services as sources of revenue.  

“The government has always come up with good policies, but the implantation, particularly when they are tested far afield, is the biggest problem. Governors will go to Abuja and say ‘in my state, I will give the right of way free of charge.’  

“When you go to such a state, they may give you the right of way for zero or one Naira, but they will give you developmental levy, education levy, state impact levy, ecosystem levy. When you add all of these together, it is more than the right of way charges. So, who is playing who?” he said.

Making vital contributions at the forum, Dr. Ayotunde Coker, the Chief Executive Officer of Open Access Data Centre (OADC) stressed the need for the fibre project to be executed by the private sector even as the World Bank is expected to fund it with up to $3 billion.

He said: “the World Bank can put money into the government but it needs private sector partnerships as the execution engine and that’s what we’ve been pushing in Africa.

“The key thing is that when the World Bank puts the money in, it should engage the private sector, figure out the policies that it needs to do and enable the private sector to execute them effectively and make it as open as possible. With that, they can achieve what they are trying to achieve.”

He further stressed that for the success of the project, Nigeria should learn lessons of what didn’t work in the past, to achieve the new broadband penetration targets with the fibre range that is required.

“Meaningful broadband is what we need, rather than just a huge set of megabits per second implementation. We need superhighway fibres. We need the distribution of these backbone that allows us then to fan out.”

He further urged state governors to be part of the project by providing an enabling environment for infrastructure roll-out, adding: “if you are a state governor and didn’t participate in it, the state won’t grow and it’s going to impact your state.”

Earlier in his opening address, the convener of PIAFo, Mr. Omobayo Azeez, said the conference was to create a midpoint dialogue platform for digital economy stakeholders across both the public and private divides to brainstorm, exchange perspectives, clear grey areas, harmonize thoughts and create a sense of collective responsibility towards accelerating our collective prosperity through technical efficiency. 

The event focused on Nigeria’s renewed strategic agenda for digital economy. According to him, the new digital economy blueprint of the federal government does not only sustain existing policy directions and targets, “it also challenges us on the possibilities of attaining new frontiers with a view to “Accelerating Our Collective Prosperity through Technical Efficiency” which is the theme of the summit.


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Airtel Launches Smart Router, Offering Smart TV Experience on Regular TVs

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Telecommunications service provider, Airtel Nigeria, has launched a new device called Airtel Smart Router, a 4G router capable of connecting up to 10 devices, with the additional benefit of offering a smart TV experience on a regular television set.

The Airtel Smart Router is programmed to leverage both wireless and ethernet connections to provide users with a smart TV experience directly through their television screens.

With embedded applications, users can effortlessly access popular entertainment streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Showmax, dramatically elevating their viewing experience with personalized, immersive, and current content.

Commenting on the launch, Femi Oshinlaja, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, said the new Smart Router represents a major leap forward in how people experience entertainment at home.

“With the Airtel smart routers, we can now deliver affordable and superior entertainment content from multiple streaming services to the home of many Nigerians without a non-smart TV set. By integrating advanced connectivity and a user-friendly interface, we are offering our customers the ability to unlock a world of digital content directly on their TVs,” he said.

This cutting-edge device will advance home entertainment technology, offering seamless connectivity and access to a wide range of digital content.

In addition to the smart TV advantage, the Smart Router, which is SIM-based and 4G capable, can connect up to 10 other devices concurrently, allowing a mix of entertainment, security, work, or leisure devices all on the same internet subscription.

“Users can connect smart cams, smart doorbells, tablets, smartphones, laptops, and TV at the same time,” Oshinlaja noted.

 


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Samsung Unveils Galaxy Ring, Wearable Technology with AI Twists

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Samsung unpacked what it dubbed as the pinnacle of “unintrusive health technology” with the Galaxy Ring, a wearable designed to provide AI-powered personalised wellness data, alongside premium foldable phones and upgraded accessories.

At its Samsung Unpack event in Paris, the vendor unveiled the new devices as well as outlining plans to expand its Galaxy AI ecosystem, with the president of mobile experience business at Samsung TM Roh stating the software will be available on 200 million Galaxy products this year.

The Galaxy Ring was the headline grabber from the event and Koh explained it is “building the Galaxy AI ecosystem in a way that only Samsung can”, with the software embedded at the heart of the brand’s new and well-anticipated wearable.

The accessory was promoted as the first “unintrusive” health tech of its kind, designed to support a week of battery life in a single charge and allow “around-the-clock” health monitoring.

Its sensors are built to track sleeping patterns and daily activities, resulting in algorithms that can provide detailed and personalised health information including an energy index, heart rate data and respiratory analysis.

Galaxy Ring is made of titanium and is available in gold, silver and black for £399. On top of the accessory, Samsung also introduced the latest versions of its wearables: the Galaxy Watch7; Galaxy Watch Ultra and the Galaxy Buds3 Pro.

Commenting on the Galaxy Ring, chief analyst at CCS Insight Ben Wood said the product is “a device category that fits well with growing consumer interest in tracking health metrics and it is complementary with Samsung’s current smartwatch sales, particularly when monitoring sleep”.

“Only a small proportion of consumers wear their smartwatches in bed which means a huge chunk of data is not captured, not just around sleep, but also heart health, body temperature and more”, he added.

Paolo Pescatore, founder of PP Foresight described Galaxy Ring as “the star of the show with all eyes on this new device and category for Samsung”.

“There’s a lot riding on this as it looks to broaden its audience and breadth of offering. This will be heavily marketed given Samsung extensive presence and touch points with telcos and alike. A product that could help drive smartphone sales and migrate users over to its platform.”

Folded
Samsung also unveiled a duo of new foldable smartphones: the Galaxy Z Fold6 and Galaxy Z Flip6. The former flaunts a 7.6-inch main screen, a 6.3-inch HD front cover screen and packs a range of improved AI features including a productivity assistant and a chatbot accessible on some Google apps, powered by Gemini.

It comes with a 10-megapixel self-portrait camera and 4-megapixel under display camera, on top of a rear triple camera system. Galaxy Z Fold6 runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset for Galaxy and a 4400MAH battery. Price for the device starts from £1,799.

As for Galaxy Z Flip6, it sports a slimmer form factor with a 6.7-inch main screen and a 3.4-inch super AMOLED FlexWindow display, which provides access to AI functions including tailored text messages and Samsung Health features without unfolding the device. The handset also comes with new AI-powered imaging solutions. It has a 4000MAH battery. It is priced at £1,049.

“Ultimately the Z Fold6 and Z Flip6 cater for different audiences with take-up largely driven by need of form factor rather than AI. We are still in the early days of AI and articulating the merits of AI with the new features to users will be no easy feat,” said Pescatore.


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