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Danbatta Highlights Achievements Says Broadband Penetration on Fast-tract

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The national target to achieve 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025 is receiving renewed attention from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which promises 50 per cent before the end of 2023.

This promise was one of the highlights of the special media chat with executive editors and media chiefs in the northern part of the country, hosted by the Executive Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, to unveil his achievements since the resumption of office till date.

At the occasion, where Danbatta informed the media chiefs that Fifth Generation (5G) services subscriptions have already hit half a million in subscription, the various efforts of the Commission to improve broadband penetration are yielding fruitful results with the current estimates as at July 2023 standing at 47.01 per cent.

Using the extant reviewed five-pillar Strategic Vision Plan as building block, the EVC spoke to 119 milestones achieved under the five strategic pillars, including regulatory excellence, universal broadband, market development, digital economy and strategic collaboration.

Danbatta said through effective implementation of NCC’s mandates under his leadership and cooperation of internal and external stakeholders since 2015, telecommunications industry in Nigeria has achieved remarkable milestones under our leadership.

“While we acknowledge the challenges encountered by the industry, we have also witnessed explosive growth, improved regulatory standards, and digital innovations that have garnered global recognition,” he said.

While reeling out impressive statistics that have characterized his leadership at NCC from 2015 to date, the EVC said active telephone subscribers had increased from less than 150.7 million to 218.9 million, representing a teledensity growth of 115.70 per cent from 107.87 per cent in 2015.

Through stimulating broadband infrastructure across the country, Danbatta said broadband penetration, which stood at 6 per cent in 2015 has increased significantly to 47.01 per cent as of July, 2023, enhancing over 89.73 million subscriptions on 3G, 4G and 5G networks in the country. Additionally, general Internet subscriptions have reached 159.5 million up from less than 100 million in 2015.

“Also, from 8 per cent contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015, telecommunications sector now contributes 16 per cent quarterly to the Nigerian economy as of the second quarter of 2023. besides, following the authorization of more telecommunications companies to operate in the Nigeria’s telecoms sector, the investments profile has increased tremendously from $38 billion in 2015 to $75 billion currently and this keeps growing daily. From the sales of Fifth Generation (5G) C-Band Spectrum, the NCC has generated over $847.8 million for the Federal Government,” he said.

Danbatta, who has received a gallery of awards nationally, regionally and globally in recognition of the outstanding performance of Nigeria’s telecom industry also listed several achievements recorded since 2015.

“Other milestones and initiatives recorded aside the regulatory activities that culminated in the landmark launch of 5G services in Nigeria include the introduction of Spectrum Trading Guidelines, re-farming and re-planning certain spectrum band for efficiency, the emplaced collaborative process for the release of C-Band Spectrum by Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited, and introduction of the Expanded Revenue Assurance Solution (ERAS) to address revenue leakages and improve government revenue from the telecoms industry.

“These initiatives also include Licensing of Satellite Earth Stations, issuing of operating licence to SpaceX Satellite, facilitating the landing of additional submarine Cables, such as the Google 2,000km Equiano subsea Internet cable in 2022, listing of MTN on the Nigerian bourse, licensing of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), introduction of new unlicensed millimeter wave spectrum, and regulation of white space spectrum,” Danbata said.

Also as part of NCC’s commitment under Danbatta’s leadership, the Commission has endowed professorial chairs in Nigerian universities and committed over N500 million naira to Research and Development (R&D) in the telecoms sector.

“The creation of the Digital Economy Department, the mandate to drive the implementation of the indigenous telecoms sector growth through the operation of the Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecom Sector (NODITS), are also important strides made by the Commission,” he said.

Danbatta said other consumer-focused initiatives of the Commission have also centered on the establishment of Emergency Communications Centres (ECCs) in over 30 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). All these centres are operational, as well as the creation of the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT).

The EVC said these two initiatives have been helping consumers to get succour in times of emergencies as well as ensuring effective protection for telecom consumers while online.

The NCC Chief Executive said the Commission has also taken very clear actions on consumer protection, advocacy, information-sharing and education.

“These include introduction of data roll-over just before the expiration of subscribed data plans, introduction of the 622 toll-free number for lodging service-related complaints to the Commission, the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code for tackling the menace of unsolicited text messages, elimination of forceful/deceitful subscriptions to telecom services on mobile networks, tackling the issue of call masking, ensuring effective Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration, launching of National Roaming service and reduction of access gaps to telecom services from over 217 to 97, thereby enhancing access to telecom services by more Nigerians,” Danbatta said.

However, Danbatta said while the industry still faces a number of challenges such as vandalism, securing equitable Right of Way (RoW) from governmental stakeholders, as well as multiple taxation and regulation, the Commission has put framework in place to work with necessary stakeholders to overcome the obstacles possed by these challenges and to sustain the growth trajectory which has been the hallmark of telecoms sector as an enabler of socio-economic development in Nigeria.


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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

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Aleph Paves the Way for MSME Success in Nigeria with Launch of Aleph Express

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Aleph Group, Inc, an ecosystem of global digital experts and technology-driven solutions that enables the growth of digital marketing, has announced the launch of Aleph Express, its proprietary solution for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) in Nigeria.

In one simple and intuitive app, Aleph Express provides a platform for MSMEs to create and maintain a free e-commerce website, create a product catalog, set local delivery options, manage, record and process orders while gaining meaningful insights to drive growth.

Most innovatively, Aleph Express provides one unified inbox that integrates Whatsapp, Messenger, and Instagram, to enable businesses to efficiently engage and sell – all in one place.

In addition, Aleph Express provides local payment solutions and support, creating a holistic offer for Nigeria’s thriving MSME sector.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria is home to more than 41 million MSMEs and contributed 49% of the country’s GDP in the last five years. 42% of MSMEs in the country – equivalent to more than 17 million businesses – operate within the wholesale and retail trade industry.

However, 97% of Nigeria’s retail industry is made up of traditional – largely offline – channels. Aleph Express’ solution, which takes all the heavy lifting out of starting and managing an online shop, will offer an opportunity for retailers to evolve traditional retail channels and capture online growth.

The launch of Aleph Express forms a key part of Aleph’s strategy to provide localised and actionable technology for advertisers and MSMEs alike. From its teams on the ground, Aleph offers unrivalled, local support to enable its partners to overcome in-market challenges and create valuable opportunities. Aleph, through its legacy brand Ad Dynamo, has been supporting Nigerian advertisers since 2009.

Matthieu Laporte, Vice President of SMB at Aleph, commented: “Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the Nigerian economy. With Aleph Express, we enable them to create digital storefronts to attract more customers not only in their neighbourhood but across the country and the region.

“Our dedicated local teams support businesses and entrepreneurs new to this form of commerce and aim to onboard 10,000 monthly active merchants by the end of 2023.”

Approximately 90% of MSMEs in Nigeria use social platforms in one way or another to connect to customers, Aleph Express is a one-stop shop to accelerate businesses’ outreach to clients and potential new clients across the country.

Stephen Newton, Managing Director – Sub Saharan Africa at Aleph, added: “The launch of Aleph Express is a premiere – we are proud that Nigeria has been selected by Aleph as the first market to launch.

“This also marks a milestone in our offering, as Aleph Express is specially tailored for small and medium businesses, enabling these entrepreneurs to leverage the power of social platforms for their growth. With our local team standing by and supporting SMBs, I am confident that we are spearheading a revolution in this field.”


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Maida Pledges Support Meta on Undersea Cable Initiative

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Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said the support of the Commission awaits law-abiding investors like Meta, (formerly Facebook), which responds positively to Nigeria’s desire for investments that promote the agenda of government to achieve a robust digital economy.

Maida, who spoke when he received a delegation of Meta, led by the company’s Vice President for Africa, the Middle-East and Turkey, Kojo Boakye, when they visited NCC’s headquarters in Abuja, said the regulatory support to all investors, including operators in Nigeria, will be predicated on their playing by the rules and regulations guiding the sector.

He said the Commission places a lot of premium on compliance to industry laws, regulations and guidelines as such will also engender a level-playing field for all licensees and other stakeholders in the industry for sustaining a healthy competition and guaranteeing a sustainable growth in the Nigerian telecoms sector.

Boakye informed NCC boss that the purpose of the visit was to congratulate the EVC on his appointment by the President and to intimate him of ongoing efforts to land 2Africa Cable in Nigeria.

At 45,000 kilometres long, Boakye said the 2Africa submarine cable will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects and will interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), Asia (via Saudi Arabia), and Africa.

He said the system will go live in 2023, delivering more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables currently serving Africa, with a design capacity of up to 180 terabytes per second (Tbps).

Boakye stated that 2Africa will deliver much-needed Internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, supplement the fast-growing capacity demand in theMiddle East and underpin further growth of 4G, 5G and fixed  broadband access for billions of people, especially in Nigeria.

He solicited NCC’s support in sailing through all necessary legal and regulatory hurdles in landing the submarine cable to complement existing backbone infrastructure in Nigeria.

He also said Meta, through a consortium, plans to land 2Africa cable simultaneously in Lagos and Akwa-Ibom States “in order to ensure those not yet connected are connected while those already connected are given opportunity for enhanced and affordable access.”


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MTN PR Manager Earns a PhD as Pan-Atlantic University Convocates 11 Doctoral Graduates

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Lakinbofa Goodluck, MTN Nigeria’s PR Manager, was one of 11 doctoral graduates at the Pan-Atlantic University’s (PAU) convocation on December 2, 2023.

He was awarded a PhD certificate for his laudable research thesis on Nigeria’s film industry titled ‘Defining the Christian Film in the Nollywood Film Industry’. He sought to understand the meaning-making process between the filmmaker/creative collaborators and the audience through the lens of genre.

Amidst the vibrant event, where attendees adorned varied hoodies and regalia, the university celebrated a total of 206 graduands. These individuals were acknowledged for enduring academic rigour and demonstrating mastery of knowledge and the requisite character to contribute meaningfully to society.

During his address, the Pro-Chancellor of the university and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia SAN, commented on the potential interference of artificial intelligence on learning. He emphasized the importance of experiential learning to foster independent analysis and thought.

“It is only in continuing to challenge students to analyse, evaluate and create that we can maintain the core essence of tertiary education and produce graduates who are equipped to navigate the complexities of the future,” he stated.

PhD is the peak of formal education and only intensely disciplined, determined and curious people dare to attain it.

Reflecting on the significance of achieving a PhD, Lakinbofa shared, “This is not just a personal achievement; it’s a tribute to the relentless pursuit of knowledge and the boundless curiosity that drives me. Exploring the intricacies of Nigeria’s film industry in my thesis was a rewarding journey into the world of genre and audience engagement.

“As one of the 11 Doctoral graduates, I stand amidst a cohort of individuals charged to contribute significantly to society. I acknowledge both the burden and the fulfilment.”

Given the rapid progress of the Nigerian film industry and its substantial contribution to the nation’s economy, Lakinbofa’s study promises to provide stakeholders with invaluable insights.

 

 

 

 


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