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Zinox Withdraws from 2.3GHz Spectrum Auction

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Zinox Telecom, arm of Zinox Group, the integrated Information and Communications company,  has withdrawn from the 2.3GHz spectrum auction, preferring to focus on its core end to service delivery, a top official of the company told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek last night.

The 2.3GHz spectrum auction is open to new entrants as well as companies operating in the telecommunications market in Nigeria and abroad.

Zinox Telecoms had expressed interest in the auction of the 2.3GHz spectrum, a frequency band touted to possess the potentials to foster penetration of high speed Internet services across the country.

MTN Nigeria, Globacom, Airtel, Etisalat, Spectranet, Main One, Mobitel and Brymedia are all reportedly in the race to grab the spectrum.

Uche Nnadozie, communications adviser to Zinox Group however told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that his company has withdrawn from the auction.

Nnadozie said that “there was a last minute decision by the board which discouraged the management from the bid. The board argues that 2.3GHz license will divert attention from our core competence”

“You know we are already have an end to end solutions service provider in the ICT sector. So the advice of the board is that we should focus on our core competence. You also know, we have a hub here in Nigeria” he added.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek recalled that Zinox had last February relocated her iDirect Internet Evolution Hub to Nigeria to help drive a new knowledge economy.

The state-of -the-art hub is equipped with state of the art facilities.


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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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Buhari Reappoints Danbatta as  NCC Boss

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reappointment of Umar Danbatta as executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Buhari Reappoints Danbatta as  NCC Boss

Umar Danbatta

Uwa Suleiman, spokesman to Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, broke the news in a statement on Friday.

He said the reappointment was based on the recommendation of Pantami and in line with the Nigerian communications act of 2003.

Suleiman said Pantami urged the reappointed executive vice chairman to improve on the commission’s performance and also ensure compliance with federal government directives.

“In an effort to consolidate the gains made in the telecommunications sector in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the reappointment of Professor Umar Garba Danbatta as the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission,” the statement read.

“Professor Danbatta’s reappointment was based on the recommendation of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, in line with the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.

“While wishing Professor Danbatta the best, the Honourable Minister directed him to significantly improve on the overall performance of the Commission as well as ensure that adequate mechanisms are put in place to facilitate the implementation of all policies of Federal Government through the Ministry.

“Furthermore, the Honourable Minister enjoined him to ensure that the interest of telecommunication consumers, Nigerians and investors are adequately protected.”


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Infracos Begin Roll-Out of Services –NCC

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Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), has said that all is now set for internet broadband infrastructure companies (InfraCos) to roll out services across the country.

Infracos Begin Roll-Out of Services –NCC

Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman (EVC), disclosed this while speaking at a virtual conversation on the socio-conomic and political impact of COVID-19 on telecom and ICT sector in Nigeria, organized by the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).

The EVC stated that the Commission would not rest on its oars until affordable and accessible broadband is available across the country.

“Everything that is needed to be done to kick-start the infrastructure projects in the various zones has been done. And very soon, the  Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, will provide the exact time that these projects will kick-off,” Danbatta said.

He added: “It is more important, right from the beginning, that the protection of telecom infrastructure is critical. With the challenges of RoW , no meaningful progress will be made even if we attempt to deploy more infrastructure.

“By the Federal Government’s statement as well as what we have seen some state governments do by either sticking to the harmonised price of right of way or by waiving it all together, I think we are making a statement that finally, this country is ready to deploy infrastructure.”

He noted that network congestion experienced by Nigerians during the lockdown has exposed the inadequacy for the existing broadband infrastructure.

The EVC commended the network providers for their resilience despite the challenges they faced.

Danbatta said it was time to address the redundancies by rolling out fibre through the infrastructure companies that had already been licensed for the six geopolitical zones of the country.


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Gilat Telecom Expands VSAT Services Across Africa

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Satellite and fibre-based connectivity solutions provider Gilat Telecom has confirmed its VSAT services are now available in every country in Africa, amid an increasing demand for broadband connectivity across the continent.

The company has been in operation for 20 years, with a strong base in East Africa. It continues to witness a surge in VSAT adoption, primarily within businesses serving MNOs with cellular backhaul (CBH), financial institutions connecting multiple branches to their headquarters, as well as operators in hospitality and military, and ISPs.

The company says there is a growing need for VSAT services within MNOs with CBH and businesses in the maritime industry, specifically.

As to what is driving demand, executives from Gilat Telecom say rural areas have had little in the way of other connectivity options and generally satellite reliability is much higher than that of fibre, which allows businesses to keep operating without losing customers.

“Backup services and BoD (Bandwidth on Demand) is crucial as well, and many MNOs, financial institutions and ISPs that use VSAT combined with a fibre to ensure a high quality of service,” the company adds.

Gilat Telecom asserts that on many occasions VSAT is less expensive than laying fibre or operating a microwave deployment, both CAPEX and OPEX, without mentioning the multiple sites which require pan-Africa communication, and this may replace a fibre MPLS network.

It says, “For a global bank for example, with twenty or more branches in different cities across hundreds of kilometres, deploying a microwave network is almost impossible.”

The fibre versus satellite connectivity debate is one the company is quite used to. With so much fibre being laid across the continent, will VSAT still have a role to play in ten years’ time?

The company explains: “This has been said since 2005, and indeed many new fibres have been laid, however the VSAT market has increased, mostly because the internet usage trend changes. Today, the single end user is consuming more than five times bandwidth compared to last five years. It’s an application evolution with bandwidth and speed key.”

With this in mind, Gilat Telecom has invested in its VSAT offering and developed a new self-control portal, designed specifically for the African market.

According to the company, this gives organisations complete control over their networks and full visibility of all their services, including billing, OSS and BSS visible on the same dashboard.

IPTEC has been using Gilat Telecom’s VSAT service to provide connectivity to NGOS, ISPs and enterprises across South Sudan.

CEO Kamrul Hasan Sagar said: “We are using various VSAT technologies as a managed service, VNO and more. “

Davor Folkenfolk, Head of Engineering at Gilat Telecom, added: “We use an extensive number of satellite providers which means we can pick the best service for our customers.

“We can then help them to maximise their bandwidth so that connectivity isn’t something they have to worry about anymore. Our new VSAT capabilities have been driven by demand and developed with our long-term customers.”


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