Friday, November 27, 2015

$5.2trn fine: Only President Buhari can save MTN - Shittu

Only the President, Muhammadu Buhari has the power to reverse or grant any waiver to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited over the $5.2 trillion fine shower by the industry regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), reports ITRealms.

Making this disclosure in Lagos at the coalition meeting of the Access for Affordable Internet (A4AI) Nigeria chapter, the Minister of Communications, Barr. Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu has said that its only the president, Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari that can change the conditions attached to the fine.

Responding to newsmen on if NCC and his ministry could tamper justice with human face, Mr. Shittu noted that the level of violation and subsequent penalty has gone beyond what either NCC or the Ministry of Communication could simply intervene.

He made it clear that no well-meaning Nigerian would like MTN to close shop because they have a good number of Nigerians in its employ and if it could close shop, those people are likely to swell the labour market.

Shittu also empahasised that MTN never denied the violations that attracted the huge fine, but stressed that a child is loved does not mean that you have to spear the rod and spoil the child, arguing that if requisite action is not taken like NCC did, any other operator could as well flout the orders of the regulator and go to sleep with it. 

He lamented the inability of the telecom operator to take action when it was necessary than compounding the issue which earned it such a huge sum of fine.

He used the opportunity to caution operators in the sector to always ensure they operate within the ambit of the law.

The minister equally assured Nigerians and stakeholders in the industry during his inaugural outing that he would operate an open-door policy and solicited well-meaning Nigerians and stakeholders alike to send their good ideas that could move the country forward.

He went ahead to share his business card to almost all the participants to drive home his open door declaration, even as he is ready to learn the industry ropes.

  +Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) +ITRealms DSA @NGRCommTech @NgComCommission
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Pix: Minister of Communications, Barr. Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu

WRC-15 rounds up, allocates spectrum for future innovation

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) concluded its four-week meeting in the Geneva with a sign-off on the Final Acts that revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits and allocating spectrum for future innovation, reports ITRealms.

This step, experts said would spur long-term investments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry globally.

Also, this meeting marked the first Nigerian chairmanship over the conference led by Mr Festus Yusufu Narai Daudu, evena as he was assisted in the task by six Vice Chairmen, namely Mr A. Jamieson (New Zealand), Mr Y. Al-Bulushi (Oman), Mr D. Obam (Kenya), Ms D. Tomimura (Brazil), Mr A. Kühn (Germany), and Mr N. Nikiforov (Russian Federation).

An estimated 3,300 participants, representing 162 out of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s 193 Member States attended the four-week conference from 2 to 27 November. Some 500 participants representing 130 other entities, including industry, also attended the conference as observers. 

In his address, chairman of WRC-15, Mr. Daudu noted that as new technological innovations and applications emerge, they set new challenges as well as bring new opportunities for billions around the world. 

“This conference dealt with a large number of important and sensitive issues, ranging from mobile broadband communications and satellite systems to emergency communications and disaster relief, maritime and aeronautical communications, environmental monitoring and climate change, universal time and space research as well as radiocommunication services that the public relies on for health, information, education, security and safety,” he said.

Also speaking, the ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao pointed out that this World Radiocommunication Conference has defined new and better ways to regulate radio services and applications.

“In a world where radiocommunications are playing an increasingly important role in connecting people, I am convinced that the outcome of this conference will represent a major contribution in making the world a better –  and safer –  place for all,” Mr. Zhao said.

“A great deal has been achieved in the last four weeks and the results will have a major impact on the future of the telecommunication sector in general and radiocommunications in particular,” said
For the Director, ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, Mr François Rancy, the outcomes of WRC-15 are aimed at maintaining a stable, predictable and universally applied regulatory environment that secures long-term investments for the multi-trillion dollar ICT industry.

WRC-15 addressed over 40 topics related to frequency allocation and frequency sharing for the efficient use of spectrum and orbital resources. The outcomes ensure high quality radiocommunication services for mobile and satellite communications, maritime and aeronautical transport, air and road safety as well as for scientific purposes related to the environment, meteorology and climatology, disaster prediction, mitigation and relief. 

The ITU Radiocommunication Sector has been set an ambitious studies programme for the next four years covering a wide range of services from amateur radio to broadcasting, mobile broadband, mobile satellite, fixed satellite, earth stations on mobile platforms, and space exploration services.

WRC-15 adopted a revised version of Resolution 12 on Assistance and Support to Palestine, which resolves to continue assistance to Palestine and to enable Palestine to obtain and manage the spectrum required to operate telecommunications networks and wireless services. This followed an Israeli-Palestinian agreement to facilitate cellular phone operations and the establishment of a modern and reliable telecommunication network in Palestine.

 +Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) 

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Pix: Sec-Gen, CTO, Shola Taylor congratulating Mr. Festus Daudu after his election as chairman WRC

Multiple taxation: NCC, NGF, MDAs tinker on harmonizing thoughts


The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) alongside other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are tinkering on modalities to end multiple taxations, regulations in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry, reports ITRealms.

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta gave this indication at the end of meeting with a delegation from ATC Wireless Infrastructure Company of Nigeria (ATC Nigeria) in his office who paid him a courtesy call.

Danbatta said the Commission is also engaging other agencies of government in talks with a view to improving relationship with telecommunications Service Providers who are often the victims of these taxes and multiple regulations.

The EVC said that NCC as a responsible regulatory agency is worried about multiple regulations and taxes because they do not augur well for smooth development of the telecommunications sector “so we have decided to engage all stakeholders especially other government agencies in order to cushion the pains operators go through”.

“The NCC is particularly worried about the indiscriminate way base transceiver stations are sealed by agencies and some State governments and we have appealed to these agencies and the State Governors to show some understanding,” he said.

Stressing that NCC is particularly in talks with them to understand the implications of these actions as they affect quality of service and other sundry matters, including power supply.

He therefore implored ATC Nigeria to ensure regular power supply to the managed base stations in order to make a difference, because government has created an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

Earlier in his remarks, Chief Executive of ATC Nigeria, Mr. Gordon Porter said his team came to familiarize itself with the NCC management and to “tell you what we do, how we do it and why we do what we do”.

ATC recently acquired 4716 cell sites from Bharti Airtel Nigeria and for the past 146 days it has deployed 1,000 generators and replaced 600 air-condition units.

So far, over $11Million has been invested by the company on these towers with a view to improving quality of service very significantly.

Porter said, ATC has been in constant talks with host communities with a view to improving relations and right-of-way.

Porter explained that although it has a commercial relationship with Airtel, it is interested in working with other operators especially on the issue of co-location adding that ATC hopes to inject about $100Million in the business in the next two years.

The EVC received the visitors in the presence of Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, Chief of Staff to the EVC, Mr. Usman Malah, while Porter led Ms Lucretia Fontaine, Director, Corporate Advisory & International Compliance, Nigeria, Mr. Onyeaghana Oji, Regional Manager, Regulatory and Mr. Dubem Agbakoba, Head, Health, Safety and Environment.

  +Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) 

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Prof. Danbatta confirmed by Senate as EVC of NCC

The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday confirmed Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta as the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), reports ITRealms.

Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo who disclosed this in a press statement noted that Prof. Danbatta was appointed in acting capacity by President Muhammadu Buhari on August 4, 2015 following the expiration of the tenure of the erstwhile EVC, Dr. Eugene Juwah.

According to him, Prof. Danbatta had gone through thorough screening by the Senator Gilbert Nnaji-led Communication Committee, the whole Tuesday hence they upheld Danbatta’s appointment for the next five years in the first instance.

ITRealms recalls that hitherto, Prof. Danbatta was the Acting Vice Chancellor, Kano State University of Science & Technology, Wudil. Born in Danbatta Local Government Council of Kano State, Prof. Danbatta obtained his BEng, MSc degrees from the Technical University of Wroclaw in Poland and his PhD from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) UK respectively.

He has served as a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Technology of Bayero University Kano for 28 years, where he taught courses in telecommunications engineering and electronics and held academic positions of Dean of the Faculty and Head of Department. His main responsibilities, in the university, included Deputy and Acting Dean of Students’ Affairs, Administrator of the Works Department and later, Director of the Centre for Information Technology (CIT).

He was also a member of over 60 University committees and task forces, including numerous stints as Chairman.  In administrative and other responsibilities outside the university, he has served on over 20 committees, prominent among which was his Chairmanship of the implementation Committee of pioneer Deputy and Acting Vice-chancellor when it took off in 2001.  Prof. Danbatta has supervised more than 60 PhD, MEng and BEng projects in diverse areas of telecommunications.

He has to his credit more than 50 articles in journals, conference proceedings and technical reports.  He is also the author of a six-chapter, 167 – page book titled Element of Static Engineering Electromagnetics.

He is a recipient of 18 distinguished awards and certificates of honour.  Prof. Danbatta has served two terms of five years as a Member of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), and is also a COREN registered Engineer and member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).

He was the Vice President of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), International Centre for Advanced Communication Studies, Kano campus, which was established in the year 2004 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to build capacity for the Nigerian/African telecom industry in the diverse areas of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).  While at DBI, he has developed expertise in the following major areas of ICT implementation policy.

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