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Funds, GSM Killing CDMA Operators Softly

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A number of Code Division Multiple Access operators (CDMA) offering fixed and mobile services have seen bad times and are no longer operating optimally, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek can now reveal.
Growing subscribers’ preference for Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) services, limited access to funds for expansion and poor network coverage are some of the factors responsible for the state of affairs.
It is surprising that CDMA operators are not able to operate at the same footprints as the GSM operators despite their overwhelming advantages.
CDMA operators are able to charge lower on-net and off-net call charges than GSM operators, and have fewer subscribers and less strain on their networks, which means they can provide better service quality.
They also provide very cheap and partly subsidized mobile handsets that appeal to the low-end market, especially those who have never been able to afford a handset.
CDMA operators who spoke to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek however accused financial institutions of preferential lending to GSM which are known for quicker turnover.
But the financial institutions are quick to point at some of the CDMA operators’ histories of poor accounting and book keeping.
Elsewhere, some of the CDMA operators like Starcomms, ZoomMobile, Intercellular, and Multi Links Telkom which hold unified licenses are not able to roll out services because the spectrum to do so is a scarce resource.
A unified license gives an operator the freedom to offer mobile, fixed and any other telecommunications service to its subscribers and especially opportunity for the CDMAs to play in the lucrative GSM market.
Operators complained of inadequate cellular frequencies (GSM-900 and GSM-1800) designated for the operation of the GSM for mobile phones.
“The general impression is that with unified license we can do almost everything but in real terms, there is no spectrum, the ones available have all been used up. We are handicapped, if we have the frequency to do GSM, the story will be different.” a top official of one the CDMA operators said.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that CDMA operators have also focused on the same products, services and consumers, the resultant competition has beaten down profits.
In all, the CDMA operators’ contribution to the telecom industry growth has also remained feverishly modest at just 7.3 million subscribers as at October, 2009.  Total mobile (GSM) subscription for the period was 63 million.
It was a disappointing growth compared to the promises it showed earlier when the number of mobile CDMA subscriptions grew from just 380,000 in 2007 to more than 6million at year-end 2008.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that there are palpable fears that the operators may also be at the outskirts of the $11.14 billion revenue estimated for the telecom industry this year.
It is already beginning to show with the signs of distress in some CDMA operators.
Operators like RainbowNet, MTS, First Wireless, Disc Communications, Intercellular, Webcom, XS Broadband and Nitel have either by design or some strokes of ill lucks, remained in the back seat operating in fits and starts
For some forward looking operators, emphasis is gradually shifting from voice centric postures to data said to posses the potentials to turnaround their fortunes.
Operators like Starcomms, ZoomMobile, Visafone and Multi Links Telkom are all playing deep in the data arena which is helping them underpin the continuous encroachment of GSM into the subscriber bases and shore up revenues.
But increasingly, consolidation either by way of merger or acquisition looks very likely in the coming months as the operators pull resources and energy together to weather the harsh operating environment.

 

 


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Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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MTN Launches ‘Visitor SIM’, Designed for Guests Coming into the Country

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MTN Nigeria has announced the introduction of its new Visitor SIM specially designed for guests travelling into the country.

The Visitor SIM comes pre-loaded with an appealing package that includes local and international call and data bundles.

This package will enable people visiting from other countries to stay connected with their friends, family and business associates on MTN’s super-fast network.

MTN VisitorSIMs are easy for inbound international visitors to acquire, activate and use, in addition to which they offer far better value than any roaming tariff.

Not available from any other operator, the service is poised to deliver convenience and the best-in-class customer experience in line with MTN’s brand promise.

According to Adekunle Adebiyi, chief sales and distribution Officer, MTN Nigeria, “The new Visitor SIMs will ensure that before setting foot outside the airport, people visiting Nigeria can plug in, reconnect – to loved ones, associates, tools and information, and begin sharing their remarkable experiences, with no concern about roaming charges.”

 

MTN Visitor SIMs are available in the arrival halls of international airports and other ports of entry.

They are valid for 14 days, which can be extended up to 30 days via MTN’s self-service menus or USSD.


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Nigeria COVID-19 Response: UNICEF, IHS Nigeria Collaborate to Contribute Medical Supplies

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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) received the delivery of 115,800 COVID-19 test kits to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. These supplies were funded by IHS Nigeria, the Nigerian subsidiary of IHS Towers.

Testing remains the mainstay of the response led by the Presidential Task Force and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the first step towards diagnosing the infection. Tests enable health officials to understand the COVID-19 status of an individual and link that person to care, support and treatment while contributing to the protection of families and communities.

“Testing remains a core strategy of Nigeria’s response to COVID-19. This is critical for understanding the burden of the disease on our population and targeting our response activities accordingly. The primary goal of the Nigerian Government is to control the spread of this disease.

“This donation from IHS Nigeria through UNICEF will contribute to the national stockpile of test kits managed by NCDC, and support efforts of the growing network of accredited laboratories across the country for the testing of COVID-19. We are grateful for the continued support from UNICEF, IHS Towers and other partners.” said Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, NCDC.

IHS Towers has been a strong and continuing partner of UNICEF. At the onset of the coronavirus in Nigeria in late February, IHS Nigeria provided funding to UNICEF to urgently procure essential supplies and equipment with which UNICEF supported the Government of Nigeria in its COVID-19 response.

“UNICEF is deeply appreciative of IHS Towers’ commitment to being a partner in UNICEF’s work in Nigeria. Once more, IHS has shown great generosity in supporting UNICEF’s ongoing efforts to work closely with the Government of Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.

“I am very delighted to receive this huge contribution from IHS Towers, the benefit of which will reach many more children and their families“, said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Country Representative.

“We are proud to have played an important role in supporting the Government and our communities where we operate to provide crucial tools needed to fight this pandemic. We understand this virus is here to stay for the foreseeable future, but are confident that with our support, and that of our other private sector colleagues, we are helping to manage and mitigate the impact of the virus in our country” said Mohamad Darwish, Chief Executive Officer of IHS Nigeria.

This recent support of essential tests makes IHS Towers the biggest private sector donor for UNICEF Nigeria’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Coca-Cola, Red Cross Society Expand Fight Against COVID-19 In Nigeria

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In a bid to support the fight against the Coronavirus disease, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) along with its national society Nigerian Red Cross (NRC) has started the distribution of PPEs and risk communications efforts to the tune of N228 Million to support its COVID-19 interventions in Nigeria.

 

This is part of The Coca-Cola Foundation’s $2.5million grant to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the COVID-19 pandemic within the West and Central Africa sub-regions.

The grant, which leverages the long-standing partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), seeks to support national efforts in the fight against the Coronavirus disease through the provision of essential medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and risk communications to impacted communities, healthcare personnel on the frontlines and treatment centres across the country.

 

Speaking on the donation, Yebeltal Getachew, managing director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, explained, “The Coca-Cola System (Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nigeria Bottling Company and Chi Limited) remains committed to providing support to the communities we serve during these challenging times.

 

“By providing healthcare workers with much-needed PPEs, we are confident that this will go a long way in ensuring their safety as they remain on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

 

“Coca-Cola is proud to support the Red Cross as we deliver on our purpose of making a difference across the world”. 

 

Medical supplies being donated comprise N95 respirators, surgical masks, examination gloves, face shields, medical gowns, no-touch thermometers, disposable aprons, heavy-duty rubber gloves, rubber boots, basic masks, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizers.

 

Expressing his gratitude for the donation, Abubakar Kende, secretary-general for the Nigerian Red Cross Society explained, “We have identified the facilities in urgent need of these PPEs in consultation with NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health and will subsequently be distributed to these centres.

 

“This will ensure that treatment centres across the country are properly equipped with necessary PPEs as we continue to fight the disease”. 

IFRC seeks to directly impact the lives of over 1.4 million people in Nigeria and across other countries in West and Central Africa under this partnership. For over a century, The Coca-Cola Company and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have sustained a rewarding partnership that has seen the rehabilitation and preservation of human lives across the world through the delivery of humanitarian aid and emergency response to communities affected by disasters.

 

 

 


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