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Danbatta, Adebayo, Rudman, Uzor lead speakers to NDSF 2023

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The multiple award-winning Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, Managing Director, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Mr. Muhammed Rudman and Chief Executive Officer of Wisdom Computer Technologies, Mr. Francis Uzor would be leading a team of speakers at the 2023 Nigeria DigitalSENSE Africa Forum (NDSF) series on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) holding this Thursday, June 8, in Lagos.

Confirming this on Monday, the Lead Consulting Strategist, DigitalSENSE Africa and Group Executive Editor, ITREALMS Media, Mr. Remmy Nweke said that would address various aspects of the main theme ‘5G: Data Governance, Safety and Security in Nigeria.’

Nweke revealed that Prof. Danbatta of NCC would lead the speakers’ faculty with his keynote on the theme under the chairmanship of Prof. Adesina Sodiya, president of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS).

Just as the Vice President, Internet Society, Nigeria Chapter, Engr. Kunle Olorundare alongside, Mr. Rudman and Engr. Adebayo would be dwelling on “5G: Open Access & Role of Stakeholders” as a team of panelists.

While the CEO of Wisdom Computer Technologies, Mr. Francis Uzor would make a special subtheme presentation on “5G: Open Access & Role of Citizens” at the prestigious Welcome Centre Hotels, along the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road, Lagos.

NDSF series on IG4D, powered by ITREALMS Media group and hosted by DigitalSENSE Africa, an At-Large Structure (ALS) certified by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in collaboration with NCC alongside IXPN, ALTON, ISOC among others.

NCC under the leadership of Prof. Danbatta was in 2021 decorated with ITREALMS Telecom E-Waste Regulator Award

Nweke recalls that Danbatta who currently is serving a second term of five years in office, earned his BEng, MSc degrees from the Technical University of Wroclaw in Poland and received his PhD from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).

Reputed to having successfully spearheaded the attainment and surpassing of Nigeria’s national broadband target in 2018, NCC led by Prof. Danbatta banks on effective regulatory regime and various cutting-edge initiatives, Danbatta has strengthened the role of telecommunications sector as a major contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, and boosted telecoms investment inflows from $36 billion to over $70 billion since 2015, among others.

Before his appointment to lead NCC in 2015, Danbatta, who is a professor of telecommunications engineering, had worked in academia as lecturer where he supervised more than 60 PhD, MEng and BEng projects in diverse areas of telecommunications, rising to the position of Acting Vice-Chancellor in a Nigerian university.

He was the Vice-President of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), an international centre for advanced communications studies established in 2004 by the Commission (NCC) for capacity in diverse areas of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

While at DBI, Danbatta developed expertise in the following major areas of ICT implementation, policy and regulation, including Regulation of the Telecommunications Sector of the Nigerian Economy; Competition, Interconnection and Price Regulations in a Developing Economy; and Issues Concerning Authorization of Telecommunications Services in a Developing Economy.

Additionally, his expertise are strategies for ensuring Universal Access and Service to Telecommunications Services; Strategies towards Effective Spectrum Management in a Developing Economy; Issues on Institutional and Legal Framework for Effective Regulation of Telecommunications Services; and, New and Emerging Technologies and Impact on Regulation of the Telecommunications Sector of a Developing Economy, among others.

He is a recipient of scores of distinguished awards and certificates of honour both nationally and internationally, including the prestigious Zik Prize in Professional Leadership. His strides in reviving the Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) and the introduction of harmonized national emergency communication number, 112, helped the NCC to win the International Public Relations Association Golden Award in the year 2000, as the centers played a pivotal role in containing the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

Prof. Danbatta has served two terms of five years as a Member of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). He is a Fellow of many professional bodies, including the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAEng), Renewable and Alternative Energy Society (RAES) and Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (NIEEE).

Towards the last quarter of 2022, Nigeria awarded three 5G licences across Airtel, MTN and Mafab among other sterling achievements of Danbatta.


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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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