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Thumbs Up for Starcomms’ iZAP



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Starcomms Plc., the only telecommunication company in Nigeria quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange  has cut a niche for itself in the data segment of the telecom market. The company has adopted the performance competition strategy to delight the market and thus lead in the provision of internet access to telecommunications subscribers.
Starcomms is aware of the challenges that data subscribers go through and have worked hard to satisfy its own subscribers better. By providing good products and services, the company endeavours to lead the pack of telecom data providers. Marketing and making the customers aware of their products and company is also done to improve their business performance.
Companies engaging in performance competition are always aware of their competition and their position in the marketplace, so they simply try to do their best to meet their customers’ needs.
Starcomms responds swiftly to new technologies, bringing innovations to the Nigerian subscribers from time to time. From 2006 when the company introduced EvDo services to the market, it has mainly been competing with itself in the data segment having revolutionized it through the introduction of new devices from time to time.
Therefore, internet access subscribers who desire fast internet browsing resort to Starcomms iZAP, the award winning internet service of Starcomms. This has helped the company to seek every way to delight its data subscribers.
Recently, the company reinvented an old marketing strategy to relieve data subscribers who have been struggling with the internet service they had been getting from their telecommunication companies, including Starcomms, because of the fact that their data modems are getting out of step with fast moving technology.
Starcomms began to offer an exchange service in which subscribers can trade in any old internet modems for new ones on Starcomms network. With this plan, Starcomms has been receiving old modems of any kind and replacing them with Starcomms state-of-the-art iZAP modems for half its price.  Internet service subscribers who had been using lower grade or old models of modems now upgrade to Starcomms iZAP, an enhanced version of Rev. A EvDo internet USB modems at such affordable cost.
For Sakina Bello, an Abuja based subscriber who swapped her GSM based modem for Starcomms iZAP, the exchange has been a blessing. “Although I have been too busy to browse these days but I must tell you that I noticed a lot of improvement from what I used to have. iZAP is a lot  better.
The modem trade-in offer is not limited to any particular device. Subscribers exchanged PCIMCIA cards, USB modems or Express cards for the sleek new Starcomms iZAP USB Rev.A modems. These modems are compatible with any computer and are in plug-and-play mode without any need for complicated installation.
This is one of the things that thrilled Ruth Edeh, a Lagos based subscriber who changed her medem from another CDMA network. According to her, “The service I get now is better than what I used to get from my former provider, In fact I am going to change my payment plan at the expiration of this one to get more browsing experience from it than what I get now. I am subscribed to only night browsing.”
According to Tushar Maheshwari, Starcomms Chief Commercial Officer, “The incredible offer is being made so that Nigerians can experience the best of Starcomms iZAP, which is revolutionizing broadband internet connectivity in Nigeria. Data subscribers now have the opportunity to move up to the upgraded version of 3G Rev. A broadband internet facility. Starcomms has stocked state-of-the-art devices to meet the yearnings of people in the area of internet access.”
By upgrading to Starcomms iZAP, subscribers enjoys high speed internet experience as high as 3.1 mbps (in an ideal condition) and flexibility in access plan as well as in payment options. This has really endeared the service to Igboko Ochibuto, another Lagos based subscriber who migrated to iZAP from a CDMA network to Starcomms.
“I cannot compare what I used to have to what I now have. iZAP gives me a better service. I wish I had it all along.”
“We consider the data services that we offer very important and we are aware of the yearnings of people to get the most effective data service available. Starcomms prides itself in the culture of bringing excellent innovative products and services to its subscribers at affordable prices as a continuing business strategy. It has been our plan in Starcomms to make the best of broadband internet access available to everybody,” said Maher Qubain, Starcomms CEO.
The telecommunication sector of the Nigerian economy, having gone through a rebirth about a decade ago has witnessed tremendous growth. The sector suddenly became one of the most active both because of the relevance of the products and services on offer to people’s daily lives and because of its dependence on changing technology.
Gradually, companies, which have been so strong on voice communication, increased competence in data provision because of the increasing demands of subscribers for internet access. Nigerians who used to be holed up for hours on end for slow internet connection in cyber cafés are now been offered opportunity for fast internet connection which portable and personal.
Meanwhile, the data segment of the telecommunication market is still going through a lot of perfection. Telecommunication companies have been engaging in a lot of innovation in product design, customer relations and market strategies to be on top of the data game.
Some companies engage in a lot of publicity and marketing stunts to push their data products and services to the market. But the experience of consumers in the use of these products and services different from what is touted by them. Frustration overwhelms many a data subscriber either as a result of dissatisfaction in what they get in return for their money or as a result of difficulty they go through to get the services.


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NCC @ ICTEL EXPO, Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth



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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said that the Commission will continue to promote and facilitate expansion of robust broadband/Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure across the country for the rapid development of the nation’s digital economy.

NCC @ ICTEL EXPO,  Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth

Prof Umar Danbatta, EVC, NCC

Danbatta gave the assurance in a presentation titled “Communication Technology for Service Delivery in Health, Education, Tourism, the Creative Industry and Agriculture” delivered during the first virtual and sixth edition of Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition (ICTEL) EXPO 2020.

He said the Commission, not only successfully achieved but surpassed the 30 per cent broadband penetration target in 2018.

Danabatta observed that through various policy initiatives, broadband penetration has further increased to 42.02 per cent as of July, 2020, noting that this has laid a solid foundation to drive the national efforts at achieving the new 70 per cent broadband penetration target set in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.

Represented by Efosa Idehen, director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Danbatta said in line with this commitment, the Commission has commenced the review of the framework for engaging infrastructure companies to cascade fibre optic deployment to the hinterlands of Nigeria to ensure pervasive access to broadband services in the country.

He stated that with the support of the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NCC is resolving the perennial problem of high cost of Right of Way (RoW) with the support of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to hasten ICT infrastructure that will enable socio-economic activities across various sectors.

According to him, as the world is becoming increasingly digitised; there will be no sector or facet of human life where ICT will not be required for optimal service delivery and improved conditions of living for the citizens.

With regard to the health sector, Danbatta said ICT is playing a very important role in the manner health services are now delivered, adding that the new Internet speed and low latency of 5G technology are expected to further enhance the possibilities of telemedicine and remote surgery.

Similarly, the EVC said the educational sector has also greatly soared on the wings of ICT, as there has been a surge in online learning in many institutions around the globe due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, while illustrating the symbiotic relationship between ICT and educational sectors.

Danbatta said “the relationship between ICT and the educational sector has been mutually beneficial. He assured the stakeholders that the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to enhance the capabilities of the educational sector even further.”

According to him, the agricultural sector has also benefitted from ICT, as several agro-based apps have been designed to ensure that stakeholders in the sector are able to provide and improve on essential agro-services.

These developments have helped to boost food production and security, just as a lot of digitisation is also holding sway in the creative industry, enhancing its growth thereby enabling job creation and greater contribution to the Gross Domestic product (GDP).


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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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