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Etisalat Drags MTN, NCC to Court over Market Share

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Etisalat, Telecommunication Company, has reportedly dragged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State over claims that the South African telecommunication company, MTN, has been given market advantage over it.

The Tribune reported that at Tuesday’s proceedings, Aanu Ogunro, counsel for Etisalat, appeared before Justice Mohammed Idris with an application seeking the leave of the court for the suit to be heard during the court’s ongoing annual vacation.

Joined as a co-respondent with NCC in the suit is MTN.

Ogunro, while urging the judge to hear the suit, said it was urgent, claiming that if the decision of the NCC in favour of MTN was not reversed, it posed a threat to the business survival of Etisalat.

“My lord, we have a motion ex-parte for leave to ask for the judicial review of the decision of the first respondent.

“The urgency in this matter is that the first respondent has made certain decisions that, if not urgently addressed, will affect the business of the applicant and it is capable of eroding the capital and the business of the applicant within a very short time,” Ogunro said.

According to the Tribune, after hearing the lawyer, the judge granted the application to hear the suit during vacation and thereafter adjourned till August 3 to take the substantive application.

Etisalat, in the main suit, is seeking a review of a decision said to be recently taken by NCC allowing 30 per cent differential between MTN’s off-net and on-net retail mobile voice tariffs.

According to Etisalat, with the said 30 per cent differential between its off-net and on-net retail mobile voice tariffs, MTN had been able to create what is called a ‘calling club,’ an example of which is its ‘Family and Friends’ promo.

Etisalat is contending that MTN’s ‘Family and Friends’ promo, which offers a call rate of 11 kobo per second to eight MTN subscribers and two non-MTN subscribers, is posing a threat to its business survival.

It explained that the promo, which it claimed was launched in violation of NCC’s regulation, had aided MTN to leverage on its size to restrict outgoing traffic to smaller operators by pricing on-net tariffs lower so as to make off-net calls unattractive.”

Etisalat, however, claimed that this 30 per cent differential in on-net and off-net retail mobile voice tariffs granted MTN by NCC was a breach of NCC’s regulation tagged the Determination of Dominance in Selected Communications Markets in Nigeria.

The DDSCMN, Etisalat said, was issued by NCC on April 25, 2013, following a study it conducted in 2012.

According to Etisalat, NCC had, following its 2012 study, discovered that MTN was the dominant operator in the retail mobile voice market segment of the telecommunication industry in Nigeria and that it maintained a wide differential of up to 300 per cent between its on-net and off-net retail voice tariff, which was not favourable to its competitors.

Following this discovery, the plaintiff said NCC directed that MTN should not operate with any differential between its on-net and off-net tarriffs because such would substantially reduce the competitive capacity of other telecommunication service providers in the country.

Etisalat, however, said contrary to this earlier directive by NCC, MTN embarked on its ‘Family and Friends’ promo, which encouraged the creation of a calling club to the business detriment of the competitors.

Etisalat explained that when it realised that MTN had launched its promo, it wrote several letters, including one dated February 28, 2015, to NCC to complain but NCC refused and failed to compel MTN to immediately withdraw the aforesaid ‘Family an Friends’ tariff option.

It, however, said that NCC later wrote a letter dated April 14, 2015 to the plaintiff, disclosing that it had given MTN 30 per cent differential in on-net and off-net tariffs.

But Etisalat is contending that such leverage given by NCC to MTN would not allow the healthy competition within the telecommunications industry in Nigeria to be sustained.

It is therefore seeking a judicial review of the said decision by the NCC.


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NDPR to Safeguard Personal Data of Nigerians -DG NITDA

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Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has disclosed that the motive behind the issuance of Nigerian Data Protection Regulations, (NDPR) by the Agency was to safeguard the right of natural persons to data privacy, fostering safe conduct for transactions involving the exchange of personal data, enablement of Nigerian businesses to be globally compliant and competitive and to create jobs for Nigerians.

 

Mallam Abdullahi revealed this Friday while delivering the keynote address  at the 6th annual conference of Institute Internal Auditors of Nigeria, (IIAN) with the theme:, “Agility and Resilience” which was held on zoom conference platform.

 

The Conference aimed at preparing participants across Internal Audits, Internal Controls, risk management, revenue and Government assurance and other business professionals to learn how to leverage on new technologies and procedures towards actualisation of the organisation’s goals and objectives.

 

The NITDA DG who was represented Director e-Government Development and Regulations, Dr Vincent Olatunji stated that since inception of the Agency in 2001, it has been playing a catalytic roles to spur the infusion of technology into nation’s work processes reiterating that the Agency plays “critical roles in capacity development, provision of working tools for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

 

“NITDA also has an existing arrangement with the office of the Auditor General of the Federation to aid the office in the discharge of its activities.”

 

Mallam Abdullahi said, “The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was issued on 25th January, 2020 by my predecessor, DrIsa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

 

“As part of his think-tank then, our thinking was that Nigeria needed to quickly provide a regulatory framework for the processing of personal data.

 

“This was even more pertinent in consideration of the global implications of non-performance.

 

“Businesses where losing bids because investors felt there was no data privacy regime in Nigeria.

 

“The Agency’s implementation of the NDPR has been innovative and impact oriented. For the first time in data protection implementation, auditors became recognised as Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO)”.

 

He maintained that NITDA has 72 licensed DPCOs among which are members of this “august body,” adding that “this posture is not as a result of lack of professionals in the IT industry, rather, we have made conscious efforts to carry every relevant stakeholder along in our developmental regulatory strategy.

 

“ I hope this noble institute would repay NITDA’s generosity by imbibing ethical and professional principles on your members for better implementation of the Regulation.”

 

Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, New Capital Cooperatives Society Mr. Benedict Anyalenka while commending the organisers of the conference affirmed that data privacy and protection should be a requisite skill needed for development of the Information Technology Sector as it would create platform for protection of information against unauthorized usage.

 

Anyalenka, however, called for proper awareness on the importance of data privacy among organisations and stakeholders across the country to safeguard citizens’ data.


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FG Reveals Plans to Deploy Technology in the Health Sector

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As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government of Nigeria has announced plans to deploy information and communications technology (ICT) in the country’s health sector.

This is part of the plans to achieve transparency and accountability in health care delivery across the country.

Dr. Ngozi R. C. Azodoh, director, Special Projects, Federal Ministry of Health, who represented Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire, Honourable Minister of Health, revealed this while speaking at MTN Nigeria’s Revv Programme masterclass on Thursday, September 17, 2020 .

The virtual session themed ‘Bridging the healthcare divide through technology and partnerships’ had in attendance health sector experts including Chief Executive Officer, Hygeia HMO Limited, Obinnia Abajue; Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder, Afya Care, Kola Oni; Managing Director, Ingress Health Partners, Dr. Orode Doherty and Chief Executive Officer, Tremendoc Limited, Ugochukwu Chikezie. The session was moderated by the General Manager, Business Development, MTN Nigeria, Omotayo Ojulatayo.

According to Azodoh, the federal government has put structures in place to utilise ICT as part of efforts to standardise the healthcare system.

“The government is working hand in hand with state governments across the country to maintain transparency and accountability, adding that ICT and other forms of electronic platforms are currently being improved and expanded following the federal government’s COVID intervention”.

She also shared that the ministry is willing to support small businesses in the sector imploring the participating SMEs to seize the opportunities provided by The Revv Programme.

“I want to ask everyone who is listening to write to the MTN Revv team and say this is one thing I want the Federal Ministry of Health to do to help my business then we can engage on how to proceed,” she enthused.

In her parting remarks, she also commended MTN Nigeria for providing a platform for SMEs to expand their capacity. “I must commend MTN for this excellent initiative. It has been very productive for me and an opportunity to transfer knowledge.”

The Revv Programme is an initiative from MTN Nigeria to help small businesses rethink and retool their operations in order to withstand the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic using a four-pronged approach that includes masterclasses, access to market, productivity tools support and advisory initiatives.


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Peace House Charity Foundation Seeks for DCTC Intervention

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Mallam Kashifu InuwaAbdullahi, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), asserted that if we do not empower our people, they become a problem to the society in future.

 

He made this know on Friday while receiving a delegation from Peace House Charity Foundation,Yola who were at the Agency’s Corporate Headquarter, Abuja to seek for interventions in the areas of ICT.

 

The representative of the Director General, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, Director eGovernment Development and Regulation stated that one of the mandate of the Agency is the deployment of ICT infrastructure as such the Foundation’s visit at this time is very apt as the Agency is relentlessly working on the implementation of the Digital Economy strategy.

 

MallamAbdullahi affirmed that Agency at the moment is looking for organisations to partner with to sustain Digital Capacity Training Centres deployed across the country.

 

He commended the effort of the organisation in assisting orphans with not only providing basic education but also the provision of skills, mentorship and moral upbringing.

 

Speaking earlier, Mr Mohammad Bello, a Director with the Foundation said that the organisation was at the Agency to seek for ICT intervention and to commend NITDA’s effort in promoting ICT knowledge across the nation.

 

He stated that the organisation supports education for the orphans and the less privileged,  promote health care delivery especially among women and children, provide sensitisation workshop for parents (mothers) on parenting and matrimonial home, promote unity and encourage self-reliance among the populace.

 

 

 

 

 


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