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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stakeholders celebrate silver jubilee of TCP/IP standards

Quarter of a century ago, some founding fathers of the Internet Protocols toiled endlessly to develop and standardise the network-of-networks thereby facilitating seamless data packet transmission, REMMY NWEKE reports that undoubtedly their efforts have not been in vain.

IN the early 1960 when some experts were tinkering on what today has become network-of-networks, little did they envisage the importance and evolution, thereafter.

Although, the history of the Internet could be traced to the first recorded description based on memos authored by J.C.R. Licklider of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), according to “A brief History of the Internet” as at August 1962, on which he raised the issue of ‘Galactic Network’ concept.

The initial concept was also recorded by the aforementioned same authors, as having originated through the growth of ARPANET.

But a new phase cropped up with the decision of the founding fathers of the Internet, Mr. Robert E Kahn to dig further by developing a new version of the Protocols, that hitherto existed, that is, the Network Control Protocol (NCP) into what is today referred to as an open-architecture network environment.

Nowadays, this open architecture is referred otherwise as the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).

Experts said that the difference between NCP and today’s TCP/IP has been that while NCP is inclined to being the spanner on the device driver, TCP/IP remained predicted to be more of a communications protocol.

Origin of Internet cannot be complete without notable inputs by Messrs Barry M. Leiner, Vinton G. Cerf, David D. Clark, Robert E. Kahn, Leonard Kleinrock, Daniel C. Lynch, late Jon Postel, Larry G. Roberts, and Stephen Wolff.

Rules of Kahn theory
For Mr. Kahn, there are four rules that should characterise the TCP/IP procedure; as each network must be built to be distinct thereby standing alone without any intra-netting changes to achieve this concept of stand-alone.

The number two in Kahn’s lead theory of TCP/IP was that communications would be on a best effort basis; hat is, if a packet fails to get to its destination, it should have the option or chance of retransmission without distraction of any kind to the packet.

On the third layer of this protocol, Kahn had canvassed that the evolution of routers also known as gateways in connecting the networks; without retention of packet assumed information concerning the passages through them, thus simple and non-complicated.

The last but not the list on the protocol theory established by Kahn, and friends was that there would be no global control of the operations at all levels.

This last theory, obviously gave impetus to the progression of today’s free and open source software (FOSS), despite other issues based on preventive algorithms to avoiding packet lost of potential disabling communications so as to enable successful retransmission of source eventually among others.

Standards for life
However, on September 26, 1981, the TCP/IP, was formally published in the RFC 791 and 793 as a mark of standardization, gave credence to these two key protocols that is, nowadays described as determining factors behind data transmission over the Internet.

Looking back on these protocols, Internet experts noted that the duo of Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn among others must be singled out for their efforts and painstakingness in developing these standards.

The Internet Society (ISOC), a Geneva-based not-for-profit organisation, speaking through its communications manager, Mr. Peter Godwin, recalled that the documents of these standards were published on RFC 675 in December 1974 by Cerf and co-authored by Carl Sunshine and Yogen Dalal.

While subsequent documents – RFC 791/795; obviously benefited from inputs by the likes of Dave Clerk, Jon Postel, Bob Braden among others.

Internet yet to mature …
Chairman, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Mr. Brain Carpenter, while reacting to the silver jubilee of TCP/IP evolution, said, it could come of age but not yet matured.

“We can’t yet say that the Internet is mature, but it’s a great tribute to its pioneers that the two most basic specifications that were published a quarter of a century ago are still largely valid today,” he said, stressing that the Internet Protocol (IP) version 6 standard will do well too, as the journey to better Internet access globally goes by.

Noteworthy is that the RFC series launched in 1969 by Steve Crocker at the University of California, Los Angels (UCLA) and of course, he said, edited for many years by late Mr. Postel, continues today as the public archive of the Internet’s fundamental technology.

Since 1977, it has been hosted by the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute (ISI), whereas ARPA support ended in 1998, at which time the ISOC took over providing the funding for the publication of Internet standards; having been founded six years earlier, even as ISOC recently extended its support to include other areas critical to the open development of Internet standards.

Also evaluating the standardization of TCP/IP 25 years afterwards, the Secretary General, African Internet Service Providers Association (AfriSPA), and Internet Consultant, Mr. Eric Osiakwan, said that these protocols have shown they work and since it has no major breakdown, should remain undeterred.

In his words, “the TCP/IP framework works and being active for the past 25 years so in my opinion, if it is not broken why fix it.”

On the way forward, he enjoined the global populace and precisely Africans to keep up the beat by optimising it and even find better ways of using it until something totally new and better is invented.

President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Mr. Lanre Ajayi, was not left out in commending the inventors of TCP/IP, saying that although they did not anticipate the growth it has achieved in recent years, but has surpassed all predictions.

He also invited more Nigerians to embrace the Internet as a medium that could change their lives for better, especially when they are positive about life.

Conclusion
Despite that the cost of having Internet access has remained high, the urge to belong to the group of Internet users and enthusiasts, has kept the standards going, more especially in developing countries where it has been discovered as a way of bridging the information gap across the north and south.

At the same time as, honour must be given to whom it is due and the founding fathers spirit, evident in the likes of Messrs Cerf and Kahn, cannot be wished away or over-emphasised, therefore, it will be not in vain; as the world gets closer with this innovation.

Keep networking.

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Nigeria eyes ITU-R council seat

Remmy Nweke

BARELY 12 days to the global telecommunications regulator confab known as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-organised Plenipotentiary conference (PP-06) in the city of Antalya-Turkey, indications are awash that Nigeria is eyeing a council position at the ITU-Radio Regulations board.

This development came in the wake of advanced plans to mark the centenary of signing the international radio regulations at the 1906 Berlin Convention.

ITRealms Online gathered of this indication that Nigeria has interest in the ITU-R board showed that the chief executive of Kemlinks International, Mr. Shola Taylor, has been tipped to fly the nation’s flag at the council elections slated as part of the 18-day conference.

Sources close to Kemlinks International and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), informed our correspondent that Mr. Taylor’s nomination has since received the green light of the federal government through the relevant telecom bodies led by NCC, to contest for the position of a council member of the ITU Radio Regulations (ITU-R) board.

Seasoned telecommunications engineer, Mr. Taylor has been an active player on the international scene on development of telecommunications especially on radio and broadcasting.

The PP-06, which is 17th in the series would have as agenda to organisationally review ITU’s federal structure, its role in the two-phased World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and highlighting discussions on the blown up participation of new stakeholders in its work, including civil society, based on expectations raised at the WSIS process.

These expectations include broadening the mandate of ITU to encompass Information Society issues such as maintaining ITU’s pre-eminent role in global ICT affairs and balancing the union’s budget within a general framework of zero-growth despite the need to respond to the challenges of a changing ICT environment which calls for additional resources to carry out an ever increasing number of activities.

Chief Media Relations and Public Information at ITU, Mr. Sanjay Acharya, said the confab equally would look into the future of the union, mostly on its strategies in addressing the rapidly changing ICT environment and implications for the union.

Meanwhile, plans have been advanced by ITU to commemorate the 100 years of endorsing the international agreement on radio regulations that took place at the 1906 Berlin Convention.

The 1906 Convention, according to ITU, aimed at two-way coast to ship radio communication free from harmful interference. These first regulations laid down rules for spectrum use for the operation of stations to reduce radio interference and establish technical standards for radio equipment.

The regulations, which have since been expanded and revised by numerous radio conferences, are now known as the ITU Radio Regulations.

Presently, radio regulations; a binding international treaty, apply to frequencies ranging from 9 Kilo Hertz (kHz) to 400 Gega Hertz (GHz), and incorporate over 1,000 pages of information describing how the spectrum could be used and shared by over 40 services around the globe representing around 1,265,000 frequency assignments for terrestrial stations, while 390,000 frequency assignments related to around 380 GSO orbital positions and around 250 non-GSO satellite systems along with another 50,000 assignments related to 3,700 satellite earth stations2.

The commemoration, holding at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG), Room 1, Mr. Acharya said, has been slated for Monday, October 30, this year, even as keynote speakers comprise the Deputy Secretary-General, ITU, Mr. Roberto Blois; Director, Radiocommunication Bureau at ITU, Mr Valery Timofeev and Vice President, Marketing, Mobility and Converged Core Networks, Nortel, Mr Scott Wickware.

Also the Executive Vice President, Head of Radiomonitoring and Radiolocation Division at Rohde & Schwarz, Ing. Gerhard Geier, would be making a video presentation at the event.Other participants expected at the event include honorary guests representing the original 27-member state signatories to the 1906 convention.

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GSMA lauds CelTel on free regional roaming

Remmy Nweke just back from South Africa

PAN-African telecommunications company, CelTel International was at the just concluded Global System for Mobile (GSM-3G) conference in Cape Town, South Africa lauded for initiating free regional roaming on its network in Africa, with particular reference to the East African countries.

It would be recalled that few months ago, CelTel International opened up its networks across the East African nations, including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania.

Commending CelTel on behalf of the African GSM Association was its Director of Regulations, Mr. Gabriel Solomon, even as he also commended governments in those countries for facilitating the regional roaming as well as their respective regulators.

Speaking on the “Universal Access: Mobile Communications for all” Mr. Solomon told audience at the conference that enabling environment today are being matched readily by operators especially in Africa.

He cited what CelTel is doing in penetrating the East African nations as very encouraging and MTN in the southern Africa.

According to him, with the growth of mobile penetration, mostly on the continent, it would also increase the level of development that is attracted to a given community, especially in the rural areas.

“By connecting people, it increases people’s loyalty,” he asserted.

Mr. Solomon also said that investment must be balanced between access and services.

Despite recognising the fact that mobile operators now build four networks in order to connect the teeming unconnected in developing nations, he noted that operators now build four separate networks in order to sustain operations in rural areas.

As said by him, some of the operators keen in developing or penetrating rural communities like Celtel, builds radio, transmission, power and distribution networks.

This is because most of these factors especially the security are not in existence in most rural communities, thus any operator optimising rural connection should be commended.

He was convinced that liberalisation of international gateways would bring about low cost of running telecommunications operations in the affected regions as well as cost of ownership and sustenance for the end users.


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VIA, UK firms launch carbon free PC

Remmy Nweke

TAIwan-based VIA Technologies Incorporated and two United Kingdom (UK) affiliates, Evesham Technology and Tranquil PC jointly launched the world’s first carbon free personal computers (PC).

The latest PC was produced based on the ultra energy-efficient VIA C7Â-D processor platform.

Vice President, Marketing at VIA Technologies, Mr. Richard Brown, while announcing this development noted that as the awareness of the effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) on global warming grows, individuals, governments, and organizations are searching for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Hence, people have increasingly demanded better energy efficiency and greater environmental awareness in the ICT products they purchase.

In order to meet this growing demand, he said, VIA joined hands with leading UK system integrators, namely Tranquil PC and Evesham Technology to launch the world’s first carbon free PC, based on the VIA C7-D processor, the renowned carbon free processor that made a debut last month.

These systems bring together ultra-energy efficient operation and any CO2 emissions produced from the operation of the systems over their lifetime are offset through UK based projects in energy conservation, reforestation, and alternative energy.

“Since its inception the PC industry has been ramping up the Mega Hertz (MHz), faster feeds, and today more cores, all of which dramatically increase the electricity demands of not just the CPU, but all the other supporting components regardless of application necessity,” he said.

The Vice President, also noted that VIA has together with Evesham and Tranquil, showed a different path for the industry by the focus on energy-efficient performance and environmental sustainability, while still meeting user demands.

Chief executive, Tranquil PC Ltd, David J Thompson, pointed out that in the UK and Europe, for instance, his firm has seen a real shift in organizational demands whereby companies are taking serious look at the environmental impact of their Information Technology (IT) infrastructure purchases.

“Tranquil has been an early leader in this area with our zero-carbon computing products, together with our traditional leadership in fanless computing,” he declared.Also for the chief executive of Evesham Technology Limited, Mr. Richard Austin, “Building on our recent release of the ‘All you need PC’ focused on the UK Public Sector,” noting that the recent launch of first carbon free PCs based on the VIA C7-D processor is a natural progression in Evesham’s product line for organizations determination on greater efficiencies and green awareness in their ICT purchases,” Mr. Austin said.

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Upfront, KHF package Nigerian group for GITEX-07

Remmy Nweke

THis year’s Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) annually held in Dubai, may have a strong Nigerian team as plans is up by Upfront and Personal in partnership with KHF Travels and Tours to offer participants from this part of the world a special treat.

Led by Mr. Paul Okoye, the group said GITEX draws about 4,000 participants annually, and that has made it a major get-together for key IT players around the world.

“In the world of information technology, new products emerge nearly every minute even as old ones go obsolete with the same speed. So, people who lay emphasis on the use of information technology and want to remain on top of the game visit trade shows like the GITEX,” he said.

He also said that the event holding at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, is what his organisation is doing its best to ensure that Nigerians partake in by making the processes simple.

On display in the four-day show, he said, would be Gulfcom, the Middle East largest Telecommunications technology session, covering mobile, fixed, Internet Protocol (IP) and satellite.

Other specials to be on display include IT equipment and systems, comprising computer components and peripherals, storage media, printers, copiers and pre-print systems, consumer electronics and home automation, office automation, as well as point-of-sales systems, embedded computer technology, security systems, power supplies for ICT systems, and biometric identification systems.

Also expected on the showcase are software and services, consisting of complete solutions, IT services and consulting, and e-government; and banking technology and financial solutions.

He expressed optimism that those attending from Nigeria will have more than a mouthful to chose from, get a great opportunity to network and build business bridges.

The packages his company has put together will cater for the Visa, Flight, transportation, hotel accommodation and a one-hour sightseeing every evening.“Once a person has come onboard, he explained, Upfront and Personal will take over his burden and ensure his comfort throughout the duration of the trip,” he promised.

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CANi commends Zinox on first roll-out

Remmy Nweke

HEAD, Product and Vendor Management Computer for All Nigerians Initiative (CANi), Mr. Seye Obisesan has described as remarkable the Zinox Computer’s feat to produce the first ever batch of systems for the project.

Zinox Computers, manufacturers of Nigeria’s first internationally certified branded computers had recently rolled out computers under the CANi initiative to concretise the vision.
The systems included laptops, desktops, which all had World Class quality.

Speaking at the event Mr. Obisesan had commended Zinox Computers for being the first to respond to the CANi project and declared “these were the very first ever CANi systems to be ever produced”. He praised Zinox for maintaining its hallmark of excellence.

In her response, CEO of Computerize Nigeria Project, CNP, Mrs. Vivian Abii said that the resolve to make CANi a success is deep rooted and watered by the altruistic quest to place a computer on every available table in Nigeria, be it in a school, at home or at work.

Mrs. Abii explained that from the launch of the CNP on October 9, 2001, her NGO has invested huge resources in drumming up support for the adoption of the computer as a work tool that is very vital for national development.

Mrs. Abii explained that the timely rollout of the CANi systems signified the preparedness of Zinox Computers to deliver on large numbers within short periods.

It is a testimonial to the tireless efforts from Zinox to increase its production capacity to satisfy the obviously desperate IT needs of Nigeria and West Africa. Mrs. Vivian Abii observed that guided by the vision of the founding fathers that Zinox has mobilized resources, human and financial, to consolidate her position as a source of national pride.

It would be recalled that on August 6, 2006, the President of the Federal Republic, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, launched the computer for All Nigerians Initiative (CANi).

The initiative is a government assisted PC Purchase Programme (GAPP) designed to expand the usage of computers and information technology in Nigeria. CANi is a public private partnership between the federal government represented by NITDA, industry giants like Intel, Microsoft, Zinox, some other PC manufacturers and financial houses.

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Yakubu Gowon presides over NITTA-07

Remmy Nweke

FORMER Nigerian head of state and the current national coordinator of Nigeria Prays, General Yakubu Gowon, retired, has been confirmed to preside over the fifth edition of the Nigerian Information Technology and Telecom Awards (NITTA-06).

Confirming this to our correspondent, the chief host and editor-in-chief of IT & Telecom Digest, the organisers, Mr. Mkpe Abang also noted that three distinguished state governors are equally on the line-up for the occasion scheduled to hold at the Muson Centre, Lagos, on November 24.

According to him, governors of Akwa Ibom, Lagos and Ogun States; Obong Victor Attah, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Otunba Gbenga Daniel top the list as nominees for Best ICT Governor of the Year.

A press statement made available to Champion Infotel by Mr. Abang said that the NITTA Board of Trustees made the choice of Gen. Gowon as chairman of the occasion given his statesmanship in the international community as well as his track record as Nigeria ’s head of state to have served the longest.

He recalled that Gen. Gowon was Nigeria ’s head of state from 1966 – 1975 and of late has engaged himself in advancing good governance.

In addition, the organisers said that Nigeria ’s first high commissioner to the United Kingdom, Amb. Matthew T. Mbu, who presided over last year’s edition would be supporting Gen. Gowon at this year’s occasion as the Father of the Day.

The organisers noted that nominations and entries have continued to increase by the day for various categories announced for the awards programme, comprising the Best Telephone Company of the Year (Mobile/Fixed), Best Customer Care Telephone Company of the Year, Best ICT Reporter of the year (Print/Electronic), Best ICT Advert/Commercial of the Year (Print/Electronic), Best Telephone Equipment Distributor/Supplier of the Year and Best Telecom network partner of the Year.

Others are Best Computer Company of the Year, Best ISP of the Year, Best Prepaid Phone Card Company of the Year, Best Indigenous Software Company of the Year, Fastest Selling GSM handset brand of the year, IT/Telecom Personality of the Year, IT Woman of the Year, Best Banking Solution/Application of the year, Best Online Bank of the Year, Banker of the Year, Telecom CEO of the Year and Man of the Year.

Winner of the Best Telephone Company of the Year at the debut edition of NITTA in 2002, Reliance Telecommunications (Reltelwireless) as well as reigning Best ISP of the Year, Direct-On-PC are supporting this year’s NITTA as corporate sponsors. DOPC has won the Best ISP of the Year Award in Nigeria consecutively for the past three years.

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Kotoye named CEO @ SmartSwitch

Remmy Nweke

NEwly registered cashless solution provider, SmartSwitch Nigeria Limited, has named a computer expert, Mr. Olatokunbo Kotoye, its chief executive, just as Mr. Kelechi Dozie becomes the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

The company, set up in June 2006, as collaboration among some Nigerian blue-chip companies including Diamond Bank Limited, Innovative Capital and Investment Limited and Net 1 UEPS Technologies Incorporated, a South Africa based company.

The new Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kotoye, obtained a Bsc (Hons) degree in Computing Studies from the Southbank University, London and Masters in Business Systems Analysis and Design from the City University, London. He equally has an advanced diploma in Computing from the United States.

He began his career as a consultant in London with CWB Systems Services, a specialist financial technology consultancy company and later worked with NatWest Markets, one of the largest investment banks in London.

In 1995, he set up Creative Telecoms and Technologies, a service company that specializes in providing a broad range of quality systems solutions to many banks and financial institutions.

On the other hand, the new CMO, Mr. Dozie holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina in the United States, and commenced his career at the Cash Management department of Standard Chartered Bank of Nigeria.

A member of CIMA and CPI, Mr. Dozie, has worked through various departments including cash management, leaving the banking industry as head of payment services department of Diamond Bank Plc with a move on to Smartswitch.

SmartSwitch Nigeria, is anticipated to resume full operations by 1st quarter of 2007, as it intends to provide unique and intelligent electronic payment system using the Universal Electronic Payment System (UEPS) technology platform pioneered by Net 1, targeting the un-banked and under-banked populations in the country.

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Ericsson tests IMS in sub-Sahara Africa

Remmy Nweke who was in South Africa

GLobal telecommunications equipment manufacturer, Ericsson BA of Sweden, has commenced trials of its Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), a soft switching industry standard infrastructure.

The IMS infrastructure, according to Ericsson’s Marketing Manager, Ms Lara van Rooyen facilitates the introduction of new data services using Internet Protocol (IP) in what she described as a common signaling protocol for all its services and tagged the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).

Ericsson IMS, she said, is expected to take off strongly in Europe while trials have commenced in the sub-Saharan Africa.

“It would soon take off strongly in Europe and already some trials are going on in sub-Saharan Africa,” she affirmed.

Ms Rooyen said that deployment of IMS would offer an advanced package of value proposition from what is obtainable today from the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM).

She also said that the latest infrastructure from Ericsson brings to the market place an end-to-end interaction enabling the switching on of several value chains for the operators and consumers too, even as it is access independent and could be deployed on the GSM, Global Packet Radio System (GPRS), Enhanced DGE, Wide Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA), CDMA 2000 as well as fixed broadband networks.

The marketing manager further described IMS as the next generation of networks that would enable networks to work together without hassles.

She noted that with IMS, it would become history for telecom operators to launch a new product with a distinct network infrastructure to drive it.

“Very importantly, end-users would be able to get more functions on every platform deploying this IMS, such as seeing it the caller is busy among others,” she said.

Above all, there are lots of synergy and less operators’ worry about options whenever they want to introduce new and more products on their platforms, but now they have the option of offering even better options at that.

“They would start to do things more interactively through the IP”, she said, stressing that it is more of interactive experience.

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We take Nigerian market very seriously – Lutgerink

Remmy Nweke just back from South Africa

SONY Ericsson may have concluded plans to take its place in the nation’s telecommunications market, just as the telco said it takes the Nigerian market very seriously.

This resolve, was disclosed by the Regional Director, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications International for Southern Africa, Mr. Martijn Lutgerink in a chat with our correspondent at the just concluded Global System for Mobile communications (GSM-3G) Africa conference put together by Informa Telecom and Media at the Cape Town International Convention Centre South Africa.

“We’re taking Nigerian market very seriously” he declared, stressing that Sony Ericsson promise is that consumers would soon begin to enjoy the company’s presence in the country.

He also said that by first quarter of next year, Sony Ericsson would have taken its rightful place in the nation’s market by way of deploying human and capital resources to increase its presence locally in Nigeria.

Currently, he said, that the telco is deploying relevant resources in collaboration with its local partners to ensure visibility in various different ways.

“We’re very interested in developing our presence in Nigeria and this will make the difference in the near future,” Mr. Lutgerink asserted.

Emphasising that Sony Ericsson needs to expose its avalanche of products including its J100 mobile phones in Nigeria, basically because of its affordability.

Although, he noted that J100 for instance sells for about E35, about N5,950, even as the telco intends to build upon its Walkman series including W850, W300, W710 and better designed module of Z610, which he said, is third generation (3G) enabled.He said that Sony Ericsson series, stands the company out and very importantly they come with warrantees.

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ICANN opens debate on transparency

Remmy Nweke

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced a new public comment forum on the principles of transparency and accountability on how best to manage the Internet at the global level.

ICANN also informed that the forum could be located at the http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-16oct06.htm.

This forum, it was also gathered, has until Tuesday, October 31 to accept responses from the public.

"Responses are sought by October 31, 2006 and based on the responses received among other research, a first draft of the principles will be published for community comment in November, 2006,” a press statement from ICANN said, stressing it is hoped that the Management Operating Principles will be adopted by the Board as part of the Strategic Plan at the Sao Paulo meeting, come early December.

One of the specific questions ICANN is asking, "What standards of transparency are appropriate in ICANN operations and activity?"

The obvious answer is that the appropriate standard of transparency is set by ICANN's Bylaws: "the maximum extent feasible" hence it’s unclear after the announcement if someone at ICANN wants to change that standard.

However, it's odd that this is slated for inclusion in ICANN's Strategic Plan.

The only non-spam comments submitted to ICANN's previous public forum on the draft Strategic Plan were mine, related to exactly this issue.

But until now, ICANN has entirely ignored them http://forum.icann.org/lists/stratplan-draft-comments/msg00000.html
http://forum.icann.org/lists/stratplan-draft-comments/Also comments could be sent to , and viewed at .

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Globacom begins coverage campaign

Remmy Nweke

Globacom Limited, the Second National Operator (SNO), has advanced plans to officially launch its coverage marketing campaign with the theme, We Live Where You Live, in three cities, beginning with Lagos, Thursday this week.

Globacom sources said that thereafter the campaign would be launched in Port Harcourt on October 31 and in Abuja on November 2, 2006.

Press statement from the operator, said the Lagos flag-off ceremony will hold at the Women Development Centre, Agege and will be followed by a tour of communities in the South-West.

The statement added that the campaign will be taking place in phases over a period of three weeks, during which time, officials of the company will be engaging the respective communities in brand awareness and enlightenment initiatives, intended to entrench the people-sensitive spirit of the Glo brand, with the aim of creating stronger bonds of affinity with Glo subscribers and the entire citizenry.

Globacom’s chief operating officer (COO), Mr. Mohammed Jameel said the campaign was conceptualised to capture Glo’s extensive coverage of urban cities, rural communities and road networks across the country.
“It is the story of a world-class company with an eye on the grassroots,” he declared.

He also informed that members of the Globacom family will be embarking on a tour of rural communities across the six geo-political zones within the next couple of days, to enable residents of these communities interact with the brand on a one-to-one basis.

Globacom, he said, is perceived as an indigenous telecommunications company that has kept its brand promise of providing affordable telecom services and helping Nigerians to excel, especially to those in the rural communities and facilitating their participation in the global market.

“Since launch the company has led the vanguard for the downward review of SIM acquisition and service costs, forcing down the cost of GSM lines from N20,000 to about N200 today” he asserted.

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Nokia unveils solution for prepaid services

Remmy Nweke

In determination to continuously keep people of the world connected, Nokia has unveiled new solution called Nokia Cost Control.

The solution, described as innovative is most beneficial to operators that have a significant, untapped potential in lower-income consumer segments among which shared phones are prevalent.

Sources at Nokia Finland, informed that the solution would avail operators with the software implementation, even as it supports the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) phones.

Director, New Growth Markets Networks, Nokia, Rauno Granath, said that the new solution is easy to use.

“When making a phone call from a mobile phone, the caller keys in a simple command string to define the cost of the call before connecting. After the money is spent, the call will be cut off. This gives the caller total control over their spending,” the director said.

Explaining further that callers could use the calling time they invested in to its full extent, compared to normal charging by the minute.

“The Nokia Cost Control solution is designed to support consumers in multiple ways, giving the control over the expenditure on single calls, addressing fear of overspending, optimizing the use of call time, and setting transparency in the use of shared phones. Phone sharing lowers the cash barrier to communication, and takes various forms from sharing between friends, roommates or family to small businesses that allow consumers to make calls or send SMS messages for a fee,” Granath explained.

Stressing for instance that in developing countries, many of which could be found in Africa, especially in urban areas, selling airtime and usage of mobile phones is very popular business.

Therefore, Nokia Cost Control makes these transactions transparent with no fear of
Overspending, just as the solution has been designed to meet the needs of the consumers and the operators especially in new growth markets.

Pointing out that this new solution could be implemented with the Nokia Unified Charging Suite (UCS), a solution for convergent charging.

It would be recalled that Nokia Cost Control is the newest addition to Nokia Connect GSM solution aside from comprehensive portfolio of network features, products and services to assist operators in new growth markets in providing mobile services to new subscriber segments.

Equally, the Nokia Cost Control complements other innovations, such as Nokia Prepaid Tracker and Nokia Connect eRefill, further enhancing the prepaid services that mobile operators can provide to their customers.

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Nokia unveils solution for prepaid services

Remmy Nweke

In determination to continuously keep people of the world connected, Nokia has unveiled new solution called Nokia Cost Control.

The solution, described as innovative is most beneficial to operators that have a significant, untapped potential in lower-income consumer segments among which shared phones are prevalent.

Sources at Nokia Finland, informed that the solution would avail operators with the software implementation, even as it supports the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) phones.

Director, New Growth Markets Networks, Nokia, Rauno Granath, said that the new solution is easy to use.

“When making a phone call from a mobile phone, the caller keys in a simple command string to define the cost of the call before connecting. After the money is spent, the call will be cut off. This gives the caller total control over their spending,” the director said.

Explaining further that callers could use the calling time they invested in to its full extent, compared to normal charging by the minute.

“The Nokia Cost Control solution is designed to support consumers in multiple ways, giving the control over the expenditure on single calls, addressing fear of overspending, optimizing the use of call time, and setting transparency in the use of shared phones. Phone sharing lowers the cash barrier to communication, and takes various forms from sharing between friends, roommates or family to small businesses that allow consumers to make calls or send SMS messages for a fee,” Granath explained.

Stressing for instance that in developing countries, many of which could be found in Africa, especially in urban areas, selling airtime and usage of mobile phones is very popular business.

Therefore, Nokia Cost Control makes these transactions transparent with no fear of
Overspending, just as the solution has been designed to meet the needs of the consumers and the operators especially in new growth markets.

Pointing out that this new solution could be implemented with the Nokia Unified Charging Suite (UCS), a solution for convergent charging.

It would be recalled that Nokia Cost Control is the newest addition to Nokia Connect GSM solution aside from comprehensive portfolio of network features, products and services to assist operators in new growth markets in providing mobile services to new subscriber segments.

Equally, the Nokia Cost Control complements other innovations, such as Nokia Prepaid Tracker and Nokia Connect eRefill, further enhancing the prepaid services that mobile operators can provide to their customers.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

M600i for Remmy Nweke @ GSM-3G


Travelling, according to an adage is part of learning and it was no difference for the multiple award winner and first-ever Highway Africa News Agency (HANA) Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Journalist of the Year 2006, Mr. Remmy Nweke, who was picked at the global series of GSM-3G Africa 2006, held in Cape Town, South Africa, as the winner of Ericsson’s competition for participants at the conference.

Mr. Nweke was chosen after responding correctly to a question administered by the management of Ericsson at the event held at the Cape Town International Exhibition Centre, Cape Town, South Africa.

The question which came as insertion in Ericsson’s leaflet distributed widely at the event, was part of the initiative by the giant telecommunications equipment supplier to put participants in a line of style with one of its latest, M600i.

This was achieved by tearing the competition entry off the pamphlet, fill-in the information requested such as the name of the contestant and mobile number, then answer the question which reads: What is the name of the smallest macro-RBS (Radio Base Station) in the world? Followed by submitting the entry at the Ericsson’s stand (C9) before 11am on October 20, 2006.

Speaking on the prize, which he answered corrected by entering RBS 2216, Mr. Nweke noted that as matter of fact, he was not at the Ericsson’s stand the previous day following his late arrival at the event venue on Thursday, October 19, due to connecting flight delays at Johannesburg, hence he found the entry at the Press Zone, where he had gone to file his story.

Mr. Nweke, who was at the event on the instance of CelTel Nigeria, also expressed gratitude to God for making all things possible and Ericsson’s management for the prize.

Congratulating Mr. Nweke while presenting the prize, the External Communications Manager at Ericsson South Africa, Ms Anabel Cele, accompanied by her counterpart from Nigeria, Mr. Olabode Sowunmi, said that the rules of the competition was that the draw would take place by 11.30am on Friday, October 20, at Ericsson’s stand, whereas the telcos staff were not eligible to enter the competition, the judges decision is final and the prize cannot be exchanged.

Ms Cele also enjoined Nweke to make good use of the phone, which she said, has all any user needs to keep in touch with friends and colleagues in every way, every day.

“It gives you secure push e-mail, Internet and company intranet access” she noted.

For Mr. Sowunmi, “when you are browsing the web with your M600i, you can still make and take calls.”

Stressing that M600i is truly a 3G multi-tasking device that affords users to send and receive electronic mails, edit and re-send attachments and if a compatible printer is nearby, “users could print attached documents.”

He explained that with M600i a touch-screen navigation is intuitive, just as users could tap any function icon on the phone desktop to open an application.

Further, he said, M600i is a Symbian Open Software (OS) device, which makes it possible to add applications and useful tools to the phone including navigation, travel and organizer enhancements.

Made in France, the M600i is also compatible with the Global System for Mobile (GSM) 900/1800/1900 and the Universal Mobile Terrestrial System (UMTS), even as it has bluetooth.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

MTN moves Nigeria forward with fibre optic

Features of the week:

Last Thursday marked a rebirth of MTN network in the country with the commissioning of its three-phased national Fibre Optic Transmission Network (FOTN) in Abuja, in determination to move Nigeria and Nigerians ahead. REMMY NWEKE who was there reports.


“Investment in infrastructure is the key to sustainable
development,”
says Ms Lyndall Shope-Mafole.

The Director-General, Department of Communications, South Africa, Ms Lyndall Shope-Mafole made this assertion at the 10th Highway Africa conference held in Grahamstown, in her paper, “Making South Africa a global leader in harnessing ICT for socio-economic development,” last month.

This seems to explain the continued investment of the South African companies led by the like of MTN Group in infrastructure on the continent; the latest of which was the investment of over $300m on national Fibre Optic Transmission Network (FOTN) in Nigeria.

The telecommunications giant and leading Global System for Mobile (GSM) operator on the continent, MTN Group, it was gathered invested in excess of $300 million.

Revealing this much at a colourful launch of the network in the nation’s capital Abuja, the Group President cum chief executive, MTN Group, Mr. Phuthuma Nhleko, informed penultimate Thursday, that the backbone infrastructure is a necessity for telecommunications development and network expansion precisely.

He also disclosed that the group was considering the issue of seamless roaming on the continent and was emphatic that seamless roaming will avail subscribers lots of advantages such as in the West African sub-region where the telco has operations to move across borders without communication hitches.

As said by him, this figure is merely “cost of transmission and only 10 per cent of what we have invested in the country on network basis,” noting that the switching backbone is very important for telecommunications operations.

“Because without the transmission backbone, you’re limiting the amount of penetration we can have in a country, while maintaining reasonable service, so this is very crucial,” he asserted.

Welcoming guests to the occasion, chairman, MTN Nigeria, Dr. Pascal Dozie, described the backbone infrastructure as the largest of its kind in Africa with the highest capacity in Nigeria as of date, saying that MTN is renowned for setting pace for others to follow.

“Our commitment to the Nigerian people is best demonstrated on level of investment,” he affirmed.

Emphasizing that right from inception five years ago, MTN Nigeria has established a remarkable track record of undisputed leadership in the telecommunications sector in the country.

MTN, he said, has excelled in diverse areas which have also had a powerful influence on the life of millions of Nigerians through service delivery based on cutting edge technology deployment, innovative products, life-changing promotions, sponsorships and award winning social investment initiatives among others.

The telco’s entrance into Nigeria, he said, “was at a time when many others were apprehensive, but because MTN saw the formidable developmental potentials in the country and took all necessary steps to unleash it.”

Dr. Dozie also said that history alone could adequately assess the level of skill transfer to scores of young Nigerian engineers during the planning, design and building of its Y’ello Bahn launch in 2003 and now the fibre optic network, which has the ability to accommodate over 5 million simultaneous calls, data and multimedia transmission all at once.

“We deliberately ensured a strong local content in implementing the project with over 60 per cent of the engineers involved in executing the job being Nigerians,” he said.

The bold investment, according to the chief marketing and customer relations officer at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Bola Akingbade, as he told audience at the Ladi Kwali hall venue that the move was the desire to democratise access to quality telephony services across the length and breadth of its network nationwide and in response to its avowed customer-friendly initiative.

He also said that it is a major instrument for moving MTN customers ahead in their world with availability of variety of benefits for the entire cross-section of “our ever-growing customer base.”

For the individual MTN subscriber, he said that the national fibre optic backbone would avail positive changes in experiences that are expected in improved speech quality, better short messaging services (SMS) response time, reduction in congestion and dropped calls as well as the ability to carry far more traffic.

And for corporate bodies, their experiences, he outlined would transform to unlimited transmission capacity, appreciable reduction in transmission error, extra accurate customer billing system and superior data offering.

Explaining further on the fibre optic scheme, General Manager, Access Network, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Lance Dickerson, said the backbone process began 18 months ago as an expansion project on the network, describing it as the most ambitious project to date since it launched the 4,500 kilometres Y’ello Bahn based on microwave backbone in January 2003.

Phases one and two, he said, constitute a total of 2,420km and the addition of phase three avails the additional 1,116km of fibre to the project, bringing a total of 3,536km to the network.

The backbone, he also said has been segmented into three main phases out of which, the first and second phases were completed prior to the launch, while the third phase will be finished before the end of this year.

Mr. Dickerson further said the backbone ring covers Lagos-Benin-Asaba-Port Harcourt-Enugu-Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos, just as the ring has before now commenced carrying of live traffic.

Elated Communications Minister, Dr. Obafemi Anibaba, could not hide his joy as he declared “MTN has done a great thing in Nigeria” with the launch of the backbone, stressing that by the time he pressed the button to commission the network, he realised that the ring is for telecommunications and not roads.

He implored telcos to ensure they send their technical staff to the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) for training, praying that as “You continue to develop manpower in Nigeria, God would continue to bless your business.”

Equally, he tasked MTN to invest in the rural telephony out of the profits made from the urban centres and went further to enjoin the group President to table his request as they move ahead and challenged the telco to also sustain its pace of growth.

For the chief executive, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ahmed Farroukh, there are lots of people and corporations to thank mostly the federal Ministry of Works controllers particularly in Imo, Anambra and Abia states for their truly understanding cooperation.

“I must also thank the state ministry of works in Lagos, Enugu, Delta, Benue, Ogun, Oyo, Kwara, Imo and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” Mr. Farroukh said, emphasising that their support for contractors especially in facilitating cordial relations with the various host communities has been remarkable.

He did not leave out the northern states of Kaduna, Kano, Plateau, and Bauchi states as work on the third phase advances.

Like one of the guests declared, this backbone is really a way of moving Nigeria ahead aside from aligning itself to the call by Ms Shope-Mafole for African investors to optimise this opportunity by investing in infrastructure in order to sustain development on the continent.

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NRTP: Nigeria to access .6m lines

Remmy Nweke

NIGERIA is to access an estimated 636,256 telephone lines across the three zones of the National Rural Telephony Programme (NRTP).

The NRTP lines would be driven from the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) deployment, just as the project is planned for commissioning before the end of this administration on May 27, 2007.

Director, NRTP, in the Federal Ministry of Communications (MoC), Mr. S.S. Ahmed made this disclosure in Abuja at the just ended forum on “Connecting Rural Communities Africa 2006,” organised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO).

Speaking on the progress report of the project, the director said that the second phase has been expanded with the number of core investors increased by one, with the inclusion of Messrs Huawei Technologies in the project.

He recalled that during the first phase, two-Chinese telecom firms were adopted into the project and said why only Chinese firms were participating in the project was due to the agreement with the government of China that drew up the loan, which stipulated that basically Chinese telcos are to execute the project.

According to him, presidential approval has already been obtained to sign contract for the second phase involving three Chinese companies equally approved for participation, namely Messrs Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corporation, and ASB Fixed.

The project to cover the entire 36 states of the federation and Abuja, he said, has been configured into three zones.

Mr. Ahmed informed that zone one is made up of Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe, Borno, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa and Plateau, which would be managed by ZTE.

Zone two, he said, comprised of Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger, Kogi, Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states, would be managed by ASB Fixed. Whereas Huawei would administer zone three, to connect Enugu, Abia, Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross-River, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa and Nassarawa states.

Out of the total CDMA lines to be connected via the project, the director said that ZTE is expected to turn out 200,000, ASB fixed, 236, 256 and Huawei 200,000.

On the way forward, he said, that there is plan to sustain and improve upon the current tempo of activities on the project to ensure its completion and commissioning, on time and mainly before the end of the Obasanjo’s administration on May 27, 2007.

Monitoring visits to actually ascertain the level of execution of the project, Mr. Ahmed said, is on-going, while there will be a public forum to effectively inform the citizenry through organized stakeholders’ forum.

This, he also said will be scheduled within the year by way of involving the media, periodic interaction with interested members of the public followed by “commissioning of the project within the tenure of this administration.”

He noted that the liberalization of the telecommunications sector by this administration led to its unprecedented growth.

“Government is relentless in its commitment to the full development of the sector” he asserted, stressing that the enabling environment has been provided for the private sector participation, just as the primary and ancillary services are being provided while the backbone services and handset assembly are on course.

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Get free calls, forfeit customer care

Market Intelligence:

Remmy Nweke

The telecommunications industry in Nigeria is no doubt witnessing a burgeoning regime, mostly with the recent introduction of midnight free calls on some of the networks.

A trend that seems worrisome, is the possible negates the effect of the free calls, may have as customers may have foregone their right to good customer care services from most of the telecommunications operators and particularly those that are offering this ‘free calls’.

For one of the telcos, once the customer care line is called, the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) would respond by informing the caller that a specialist would soon be with him or her.

And in the next 20 minutes the subscriber would still be kept waiting for the customer care specialist.

For another operator, telecom subscribers need not worry specialist as the IVR would as soon as possible direct whoever cares to visit their website and at the event pay about N200 to get access to the Internet and only God knows when such a person would expect response; probably online too.

Equally, a factor here is that every customer is being forced to get an electronic mail (e-mail) address, which in the first instance, is not acceptable and moreover, is not even obtainable for the rural dwellers on the network.

Investigations conducted by our correspondent, showed that the outcry is on the rise and in fact, subscribers, especially those on the prepaid platforms, which formed the bulk of most of the networks, and precisely on the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operators, are beginning to consider being charged for customer care services they receive as long as they get through to experts to address their issues rather than the responses from the Interactive Voice Response systems.

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Share ‘n’ sell airtime, an accord with subscribers – Farroukh

Remmy Nweke

Chief executive of MTN Nigeria Communications, Mr. Ahmed Farroukh, has described the newly introduced ‘Share and Sell airtime’ package as an accord with its teeming subscribers.

Speaking on the product recently in Lagos, he said, that the product was specially developed to add miles to the beautiful experiences offered by the fantastic price cut by MTN, which was pronounced lately.

“The new product is in accord with our recent unprecedented price cuts and will allow many more Nigerians to achieve whatever they want to achieve everywhere they go, in consonance with MTN’s value proposition of moving Nigerians ahead in their endeavours,” he asserted.

Mr. Farroukh also said that it was introduced in determination to spread the benefits of price cuts across board to all Nigerians on the network.

He explained that the product was specifically put together for subscribers who are active on the network, so as to enable them to transfer airtime value from their prepaid accounts to another prepaid account either in exchange for money or as a kind gesture.

“What this means is that airtime on a prepaid account on the MTN network can now be sent as a gift to a loved one and can also be readily converted to money in moments of need,” he said.

Mr. Farroukh highlighted that transfer of airtime on this service could be done by composing a text message with the appropriate command to the service short code 777.

Stressing that a user, who wishes to transfer N5,000 worth of airtime, for instance, would be required to simply key-in the MTN number the subscriber wanted to send the transfer to through a command thus; “Transfer 08033592762 5,000 to 777.”

This, MTN said, would be followed with a confirmation as well as reconfirmation as the sender would be required to write YES in an SMS and send back to 777 within five minutes of receiving response from initial SMS. MTN prides itself as Nigeria’s leading Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) provider and part of the MTN Group.

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ICT literacy, prerequisite for 2007 politicians – Uwaje

Remmy Nweke

As the political terrain gains momentum for the 2007 general election in the country, the immediate past-president of the Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Mr. Chris Uwaje, has said that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) knowledge and literacy should form the prerequisite for political aspirants.

Mr. Uwaje who also is the chief executive of Connect Technologies Limited, made this declaration in a chat with ITRealms Online in Lagos.

“ICT knowledge and literacy should be one of the fundamental and critical factor for all political aspirants for 2007,” he asserted, stressing that also, tax clearance and criminal conduct as well as clean slate should form the bases for endorsing any politician.

In using ICT literacy as a criterion for 2007 political aspirants, he said, the central issue here, is because government in this 21st century “Can only function with the knowledge of electronic Government (e-Government) by government policy makers.”

He cited an instance where members of the future legislators are not ICT literates, which he postulated would amount to a disaster.

Emphasising that ICT literacy requirement from the political class would facilitate the way to a knowledge society.

“The future National Assembly should be in the forefront of transforming our nation in preparation for the knowledge society,” Mr. Uwaje said.

Just as Mr. Uwaje, who also presides over the Event and Sponsorship committee of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), pointed out that being ICT literate would engender the compliant policy makers to re-engineer the education, culture, environment, entertainment among other sectors including telecommunications.
This, he said, would require abundant ICT projects to succeed.

According to him, all they (policy makers) will need is the ICT knowledge in order to transform and restructure change instrument like the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

“As a disaster recovery structure for national development” he said and stressed that all these would not be achieved without the knowledge and skill of ICT by politicians at this time in point.

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Motorola delivers on WiMAX

Remmy Nweke

United States-based wireless and broadband communications leader, Motorola, has delivered on its Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) expectations as the telco bagged the best WiMax world award for industry innovation.

The award which was presented by the Xchange magazine and Trendsmedia, said that the telco was recognised for its aggressive leadership in bringing WiMAX to market by unveiling its first generation portfolio of WiMAX Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) at the WiMAX world held recently in the US.

Motorola also featured its first live mobile WiMAX demonstration using its Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) 25400 access points with diversity antenna techniques to perform handoffs to a WiMAX end-user device.

Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Motorola Networks & Enterprise, Mr. Dan Coombes, noted that the telco has been at the forefront of delivering complete end-to-end WiMAX solution and services to meet operators’ ever-growing demands for bandwidth, simple networks and mobility.

“Mobility is the key to delivering what consumers, enterprise and governments want - personal broadband services and experiences that match what they have at home or in the office while they are out in the world,” he declared.

Pointing out that operator’s interest in and commitment to WiMAX has continued to grow, especially in the US.

He cited an instance, that in the United States, Motorola has been selected by Sprint Nextel as a vendor for its nationwide WiMAX network, while Clearwire also selected Motorola’s WiMAX technology for its nationwide broadband network.

Mr. Coombes further said that Motorola is actively engaged in delivering WiMAX equipment to support 18 market trials globally, and currently is deploying a nationwide 802.16e network in Pakistan.

Stressing that Motorola’s portfolio of WiMAX devices on display at WiMAX World included the outdoor CPEo 200 series unit as well as indoor desktop units from the CPEi 200 Series, the CPEi 400 Series, and the CPEi 600 Series.

These Motorola WiMAX desktop CPEs, he explained, are easy to install with “plug and play” functionality.
In addition, the event featured multiple antennas that support advanced diversity techniques coupled with multi-antenna operations at the access points, provide excellent range, throughput, and indoor penetration.

Available features include integrated Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), remote antenna options, robust security and full Quality of Service (QoS) support.

The full range of Motorola WiMAX devices on display at WiMAX World, he said, is scheduled to be available for trials in fourth quarter of this year, 2006, with general availability within the first half of 2007.

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APC tops IT vendors’ survey

Remmy Nweke

END-to-end power solution provider for real-time infrastructure, the American Power Conversion (APC), has been named top on the Information Technology (IT) vendors’ report card released recently.

Announcing this development to newsmen, APC said the survey was conducted by CIO magazine’s at its inaugural vendor report card, late spring.

It also informed that in the 2006 Vendor Report Card survey, more than 1,000 CIO readers ranked APC the number one IT vendor, out of a total of 58 companies, based on a series of performance factors.

The top five vendors ranked were APC, Cisco Systems, AMD, Intel, and Adobe in that order, even as survey respondents rated APC as the top IT vendor based on performance areas such as product quality and reliability; after sale support; and the ability to deliver on promises and deadlines.

The survey also noted that more than 85 per cent of CIOs were willing to recommend APC to other IT executives, second only to Cisco Systems.

In addition to capturing the overall top spot, more respondents said they have purchased or plan to purchase hardware and network equipment from APC than any other vendor.

According to survey, “its brand study helped provide a comparison of the IT community’s perception of technology vendors.”

Survey respondents included IT executives that were considering a vendor, currently evaluating a vendor’s offerings, or who purchased products or services from a vendor.

Also, respondents selected vendors from a list of enterprise providers of hardware, software, IT services, printers, network equipment and telecommunications.

Commenting on APC’s performance in the survey, CIO Magazine’s publisher Gary Beach said, “CIOs gave APC a strong endorsement in the 2006 CIO Magazine Vendor Report Card survey.

In addition to the company’s top overall position, respondents also ranked APC number one with the best competitive set of network hardware and software products. I commend APC on its achievements and recognition in the CIO community.”

APC was founded in 1981 and has since emerged as a leading provider of global solution for real-time infrastructure.

The firm’s comprehensive products and services for home and corporate environments improve the availability, manageability and performance of sensitive electronic, network, communication and industrial equipment of all sizes.

Just as the firm also offer APC a wide variety of products for network-critical physical infrastructure consisting of InfraStruXure, its revolutionary architecture for on-demand data centres, as well as physical threat management products through the company’s NetBotz division.

These products and services help companies increase the availability and reliability of their IT systems.

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CANi to impact positively – Romeo

Remmy Nweke

Government Assisted (Personal Computer) Purchase Programme (GAPP) known as the Computer for All Nigerians Initiative (CANi), has declared its resolve to impact positively on the citizenry.

Director, CANi Programme Management Office (PMO), Mr. Soji Romeo, gave this assurance in his submission at the recently concluded forum at the federal capital territory (FCT) Abuja on “Connecting Rural Communities Africa 2006,” said that the project is poised to impact positively on the populace.

“CANi is a well-thought out programme and is poised to greatly impact positively on the lives of ordinary Nigerians,” he asserted.

Mr. Romeo also said that the goal is not mere provision of PCs, but to add its voice in the development of an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) culture within the Nigerian society.

While urging Nigerians to grab the opportunities CANi has put on the table, Mr. Romeo noted that the implementation strategy has been structured in phases.

This, he said, is to ensure wider reach and penetration to all segments of society, namely the federal public servants and parastatals, state governments, corporate organisations, educational institutions, small and medium scale enterprises, cooperative societies and the entire spectrum of the Nigerian public.

He stressed that CANi’s objective is to make computers available to Nigerians at an affordable prices, arrange loan finance for the purchases at preferential interest rates and under a convenient repayment plan, which would eventually build a computer-literate workforce for the nation, and also achieve the nation’s millennium development goals on Information Technology (IT).
CANi is an initiative of government in collaboration of Microsoft and Intel as well as local hardware partners including Beta, Brian, Omatek, Zinox, IBM and Hewlett Packard (HP), even as the scheme has financial partners to include UBA, Fidelity Bank and Skye Bank currently.

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Fanawapo leads JACITAD

Remmy Nweke

A non-governmental organisation with focus on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the Joint Action Committee on Information Technology Awareness and Development (JACITAD), has elected Mr. Sola Fanawapo, it’s new president.

Mr. Fanawapo would lead the group for the next two years and was elected along with Mr. Don Pedro Aganbi as the vice president, Mr. Prince Osuagwu – Secretary General, Mr. Chris Njoku – Financial Secretary, Ms Joke Femi-Solaja – Treasurer and Mr. Emeka Aginam as director of social.

They were chosen in an election presided over by Mr. Chima Akwaja-led three-man electoral committee included Messrs Chidiebere Nwankwo and Peter Jones.

Declaring the result, Mr. Akwaja tasked the newly elected executive to ensure they move JACITAD to the next level with their programmes and lauded members for turning out in good numbers to exercise their voting rights by fulfilling their fundamental obligation.

He said that the new executive would be inaugurated in a future date to be made known soon and commended members for their co-operation during the campaign and election proper.

One of the founding fathers of JACITAD, who witnessed the election, Mr. Inye Kemabonta noted that the group has come of age and needs to move to the next level in the evolution of its avowed objectives, which is centred on ICT awareness and development.

He also charged the new exco to explore avenues of optimising various opportunities available to take JACITAD to the next height, especially by leveraging on its board of trustees to enable the board members to work for JACITAD.

In his acceptance speech, the newly elected president of JACITAD, Mr. Fanawapo, said that the new exco would in less than two weeks unfold its agenda, which he promised to lead the organisation with the involvement of all stakeholders.

He further solicited for support to ensure that they succeed, even as the inauguration of board of trustees would also top the agenda of the latest leadership.

Equally commenting the newly elected secretary general, Mr. Osuagwu, noted that the planning of the elections and the strategies adopted by the electoral committee, were unique in their own ways.
“It however couldn’t have been possible without your (members) calm, calculated and unflinching support that you gave. That is the spirit we have resolved to work with. JACITAD is not political party and so in the election there are no losers, no endangered species. We all are developers,” he submitted.

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Ndukwe to present ‘A role in the call’

Remmy Nweke

CHIEF executive and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, would later this month present a book, “Telecom in Nigeria: A role in the call” authored by a renowned telecom engineer, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo.

Chairman of the book launch planning committee, Mr. Robert Anyanwu, made this known to our correspondent, while speaking on the plans to make the book available to the populace.

He also said that the book has been scheduled for launch at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos, on Monday, October 30, this year.

According to him, the Chief Executive of Lagos-based eShekels Limited, Mr. Fola Odufuwa, would be reviewing the book, even as some royal fathers from across the country are expected to grace the occasion.

This is apart from the telecommunications stakeholders to be led by the Executive Vice Chairman, Teledom Group International and President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem.

Mr. Anyanwu, who also is the Human Resources Manager at the VGC Communications Limited, noted that adequate security has been put in place to ensure peaceful conduct before and during the launch.

Invitation to the occasion, he said, is presently being sent out to stakeholders and enjoined those yet to receive theirs to get in touch with his office to ensure a place at the launch.

Telecom in Nigeria; A role in the call by Mr. Adebayo, tends to provide an overview of the telecommunications industry and its development as well as the challenges that led in part to the transformation.

The author, Mr. Adebayo, joined the VGC Communications as its Technical Manager in year 2000, with instinct with Siemens AG Germany.

He was promoted as the first indigenous General Manager in year 2002 and has since transformed the telco from a community telephone service provider to full national operator status within five years, even as a Unified Licensed Operator (ULO) in the country.

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Glo Gateway takes prepaid roaming to US

Remmy Nweke

Subsidiary of Globacom, the Glo Gateway International, has taken the prepaid roaming on the network to eight countries, namely the United States (US), France, Israel, Russia, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, India and Sri Lanka.

It would be recalled that Globacom in December 2004 became the first network in Nigeria to introduce prepaid roaming. Hitherto, roaming facility was enjoyed only by post-paid subscribers in other networks in the country.

Chief Operating Officer (COO), Glo Gateway, Mr. Charles Odiase, disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos, saying that the next phase will encompass some African countries such as Kenya, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Mali.

Mr. Odiase also disclosed that arrangements have been advanced to ensure that services would take off as planned.

“The extension of prepaid roaming to these selected countries was to offer Glo prepaid subscribers who travel abroad for business or leisure, broader opportunities to stay on the Glo network,” he said.

Mr. Odiase equally said that the roaming plan would enable subscribers to make and receive calls on their phones in major countries around the world.

He described the proposal as a way of making Glo prepaid roaming service available in most parts of the world.

Odiase further said Glo Gateway’s roaming option “gives subscribers crisp clear calls. The subscriber, whether on a prepaid or post-paid platform, and is able to stay in touch with friends, family and business associates back home and the quality of service makes him feel as if he is just next door.”

The COO equally said Globacom’s prepaid roaming is offered on the Customised Applications for Mobile Enhanced Logic (CAMEL) phase 2 platforms, which allows inbound and outbound roaming.

CAMEL is superior to the one-way roaming or the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) roaming obtainable in some other African countries.

He explained that CAMEL enables the prepaid customer to enjoy all the privileges currently being enjoyed by the post-paid subscribers including the ability to make and receive calls as well as receive text messages.

To enjoy the prepaid roaming service, Odiase further explained, a Glo Mobile subscriber would simply recharge his account and takes off for his destination, where he will be able to all services offered on the network.

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Anibaba commends MTN, unveils backbone

Remmy Nweke

Communications Minister, Dr. Obafemi Anibaba, has commended MTN Group for investing in Nigeria, just as he unveiled the fibre optic backbone network at the nation’s capital, Abuja.

This came as MTN is contemplating seamless roaming within the West African sub-region.

Anibaba also lauded MTN for the kind of massive investment in the country since inception five years ago, saying that it gladdens his heart that the investment interest from MTN Group has continued to grow.

“I am happy today because MTN has done a great thing in Nigeria and by the time I pressed the button, I saw a network of fibre optic, which reminds me of the network of roads,” he declared.

He also said that the present government is offering investors what he described as ‘total support’ and tasked MTN to ensure satisfaction of all its subscribers as well as consider other operators, if need be.

The minister further challenged MTN to sustain its claim of being the largest network on the continent.

Giving details of the project, the General Manager, Access Network, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Lance Dickerson, said that the backbone commenced 18 months ago as part of its network expansion.

Describing it as the most ambitious project of the telco since it launched the 4,500 kilometre Y’ello Bahn based on microwave backbone in January 2003.

The backbone which cost was placed in excess of $300 million, he said, was divided into three main phases.

Till date, he said, the first and second phases have been completed while the third phase is due for completion by December 2006.

Mr. Dickerson listed the core advantages of the fibre over existing transmission technology to include availability of unlimited transmission capacity, dramatic reduction in transmission round trip delays and improvement in transmission availability as well as appreciable reduction in transmission errors.

He stressed it would facilitate the delivery of building and expanding the Telco’s sites, improved call and speech quality with more traffic, even as there would be better Short Messaging Service (SMS) response and reduction in congestion and drop calls among others.

Speaking to newsmen after the launch, the Group CEO, Mr. Phuthuma Nhleko, disclosed that the telco is advancing plans to introduce sub regional roaming package that would enable subscribers on the network from the region to roam freely without additional cost to the subscribers.He also said that competition in the telecommunications sector on the continent is really helping to drive the cost of services.
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CelTel reassures SP partners on service delivery

Remmy Nweke

IN effort to strengthen its relationship with its Service Provider (SP) banks, leading Pan African Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operator, CelTel, has reassured that taking over of formerly Vmobile Networks by Celtel, would not hinder the grow and services of the telco.

Instead, he said, it would give a boost to the relationships the company has made over the years.

Head, CelTel Service Provider Business, Mr. Tolu Ojo, informed at a one-day forum for the telco SPs, that it is an avenue set aside by the telco to strengthen its business relationship with its partners, mostly from the financial sector.

The company, he said, is committed to making life better for all its stakeholders, as such supports the communities it serves by way of helping to improve the lives of individuals and group within the society.

He highlighted at the event attended by the top officials of Access Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank, Skye Bank, Sterling Bank, UBA and Zenith Bank International, the importance of the Service Provider in the mobile network service delivery chain.

Mr. Ojo also explained that the value of transactions and revenue from the SP model increased significantly between the period, August 2005 and 2006.

He also reassured the SP banks that the takeover of Vmobile by Celtel would greatly improve their fortunes, urging them to join hands with Celtel to “make life better” for all its stakeholders.

Celtel officials at the forum included Mr. Saeta Ukpemo, Head of Celtel Direct; Mr. Kunle Adebiyi, Head of Sales Distribution and channel; Mr. Obinna Ariwodo, Head of PR, Events & Sponsorships; Mr. Oare Ojeikere, Head of Brands Division; Mr. Emeka Oparah, PR Manger; Mr. Taiwo Onakoya, Manager, Corporate Sales; Mr. Victor Iduwe, Manager Corporate Sales and Mr. Oladele Balogun, Manager, Sales Service Delivery.SP Banks Model was introduced by the company in October, 2004 and SP Banks are partners with Celtel for the sale of Celtel’s products and services.

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CelTel reassures SP partners on service delivery

Remmy Nweke

IN effort to strengthen its relationship with its Service Provider (SP) banks, leading Pan African Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operator, CelTel, has reassured that taking over of formerly Vmobile Networks by Celtel, would not hinder the grow and services of the telco.

Instead, he said, it would give a boost to the relationships the company has made over the years.

Head, CelTel Service Provider Business, Mr. Tolu Ojo, informed at a one-day forum for the telco SPs, that it is an avenue set aside by the telco to strengthen its business relationship with its partners, mostly from the financial sector.

The company, he said, is committed to making life better for all its stakeholders, as such supports the communities it serves by way of helping to improve the lives of individuals and group within the society.

He highlighted at the event attended by the top officials of Access Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank, Skye Bank, Sterling Bank, UBA and Zenith Bank International, the importance of the Service Provider in the mobile network service delivery chain.

Mr. Ojo also explained that the value of transactions and revenue from the SP model increased significantly between the period, August 2005 and 2006.

He also reassured the SP banks that the takeover of Vmobile by Celtel would greatly improve their fortunes, urging them to join hands with Celtel to “make life better” for all its stakeholders.

Celtel officials at the forum included Mr. Saeta Ukpemo, Head of Celtel Direct; Mr. Kunle Adebiyi, Head of Sales Distribution and channel; Mr. Obinna Ariwodo, Head of PR, Events & Sponsorships; Mr. Oare Ojeikere, Head of Brands Division; Mr. Emeka Oparah, PR Manger; Mr. Taiwo Onakoya, Manager, Corporate Sales; Mr. Victor Iduwe, Manager Corporate Sales and Mr. Oladele Balogun, Manager, Sales Service Delivery.SP Banks Model was introduced by the company in October, 2004 and SP Banks are partners with Celtel for the sale of Celtel’s products and services.

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Dealers enter pact with LG brand

Remmy Nweke

ARISING from a one-day convention at the garden city of Port Harcourt, dealers of the LG Electronics seem to have entered into long time pact with the brand.

According to some of the dealers, LG Electronics brand has proved quality and good business for them in the country.

Speaking to newsmen at the end of the event, one of the dealers, Mr. Sunday Molokwe, noted with delight the mutually beneficial business relationship that has existed between them and LG Electronics on one hand, and the company’s major distributor and sales partner, Somotex Nigeria Limited on the other hand.

He also commended both LG and Somotex for making the LG products and services readily available in all parts of the country.

Mr. Molokwe, pointed out that the good quality of LG products, coupled with the warranty arrangement with the distribution has continued to endear the LG brand to the Nigerian consumers.

“If you buy any of the LG products and you detect a fault within 12 months of purchase, all you need do is to take the product back to where you bought it and a new one will be given to you in return. How many companies do that sincerely these days?” he asked rhetorically, stressing, “We on our own part have resolved to do everything possible to reciprocate the good gesture of LG and Somotex by making the brand our own brand in Nigeria,” he declared.

General Manager and National Sales Manager, both of Somotex Nigeria Limited, Messrs Ashish Dey and Siddhalt Kaul, were full of praises for the dealers for their unflinching support for the LG brand in Nigeria, noting that nothing could be too much for the company to do in its quest to give maximum encouragement to them.

While speaking, Mr. Kaul said the dealers in their resolve to make LG Electronics the national brand in the country, had continued to be the prime mover of the company through their loyalty and sincere solidarity.
“I can’t thank you enough for making us proud and for making LG your brand,” Kaul said.

Assistant General Manager at LG Electronics, Mr. Daniel Yon commended the dealers for making the LG brand a household name in Nigeria within the short period it made its debut in the nation’s market.

“As we face the 21st century, new challenges are rising in the market such as technological advancement into digitalisation. To prepare for this, LG Electronics has been fully transformed into digital technology provider with continuous research and development,” he said.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Glo wins IDMN award, introduces caller tunes

Remmy Nweke

SECOND National Operator (SNO), Globacom has won the West Africa’s Most Preferred telecom company award by the Institute of Direct Marketing of Nigeria (IDMN) for the year 2006, just as the telco has introduced personalised caller tunes.

Globacom was presented with the award at the West African Direct Marketing Awards 2006 in Ikeja Lagos recently.

The award was organized in conjunction with the Direct Marketing Association of Nigeria and the Confederation of African Direct Marketing Association.

IDMN was quoted in a press statement made available toITrealms Online that the annual award was to reward excellence and merit.

“Deserving individuals and corporate organizations are selected based on merit,” it noted, adding that organizations that are either based in West Africa or international organisations whose services and products are present in West African market were assessed.

Chairman of the awards board, Col. Timothy Aiyedehin, said Globacom’s robust achievements in the last three years of its operation qualified it for the award.

He also noted that Globacom’s unique and strong marketing initiatives and its world-class products and services stood the telco out in the industry.

According to the institute, Globacom played revolutionary roles in the telecom industry and recorded a series of outstanding achievements since it began operations in 2003.

Globacom’s Zonal Sales Coordinator, Mr. David Maji, who received the award on behalf of the company said Globacom had, since launch, played a lead role in jump-starting the country’s economic and social success by ensuring that Nigerians were availed the best in telecommunications and information technology.

The IDMN award is one of several such awards and recognitions Globacom has won in its three years of operation.

Its unique products, aggressive marketing initiatives and social responsibility thrust have attracted to the company acclaim and laurels, the latest of which is the rating as best GSM operator by a network audit done by IT Edge, a leading IT/Telecom news magazine.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations, had in its report on African Telecommunication Indicators noted that the entry of Globacom into Nigeria’s telecom industry had brought “greater innovation, lower tariffs and better services.”

Meanwhile, Globacom, has introduced personalized Caller Tunes which facilitates unique identities for its subscribers, both corporate and individual.

Head, Consumer Marketing at Globacom, Mr. Chris Ehimen, said subscribers of this service could personalize their phone so that their callers can listen to a variety of selected tunes instead of listening only to default ring back tones.

Also he said that corporate organizations could also use the service for disseminating information relating to their brand or company in general, while corporate jingles could be converted to corporate caller tunes.

Features of this service include downloading up to five different tunes onto the subscriber’s album at a time and then assigning each of the tunes downloaded to as many callers as the subscriber wishes.

“Therefore by providing this fully personalized service, a subscriber can have different tunes for his family members as well as for his office colleagues,” Mr. Ehimen explained.

The service, he further said, is targeted at young and middle age groups who are easily fascinated by customized ring tones, hence it seeks to add uniqueness and flavour to subscribers’ personalities.


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Glo wins IDMN award, introduces caller tunes

Remmy Nweke

SECOND National Operator (SNO), Globacom has won the West Africa’s Most Preferred telecom company award by the Institute of Direct Marketing of Nigeria (IDMN) for the year 2006, just as the telco has introduced personalised caller tunes.

Globacom was presented with the award at the West African Direct Marketing Awards 2006 in Ikeja Lagos recently.

The award was organized in conjunction with the Direct Marketing Association of Nigeria and the Confederation of African Direct Marketing Association.

IDMN was quoted in a press statement made available toITrealms Online that the annual award was to reward excellence and merit.

“Deserving individuals and corporate organizations are selected based on merit,” it noted, adding that organizations that are either based in West Africa or international organisations whose services and products are present in West African market were assessed.

Chairman of the awards board, Col. Timothy Aiyedehin, said Globacom’s robust achievements in the last three years of its operation qualified it for the award.

He also noted that Globacom’s unique and strong marketing initiatives and its world-class products and services stood the telco out in the industry.

According to the institute, Globacom played revolutionary roles in the telecom industry and recorded a series of outstanding achievements since it began operations in 2003.

Globacom’s Zonal Sales Coordinator, Mr. David Maji, who received the award on behalf of the company said Globacom had, since launch, played a lead role in jump-starting the country’s economic and social success by ensuring that Nigerians were availed the best in telecommunications and information technology.

The IDMN award is one of several such awards and recognitions Globacom has won in its three years of operation.

Its unique products, aggressive marketing initiatives and social responsibility thrust have attracted to the company acclaim and laurels, the latest of which is the rating as best GSM operator by a network audit done by IT Edge, a leading IT/Telecom news magazine.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations, had in its report on African Telecommunication Indicators noted that the entry of Globacom into Nigeria’s telecom industry had brought “greater innovation, lower tariffs and better services.”

Meanwhile, Globacom, has introduced personalized Caller Tunes which facilitates unique identities for its subscribers, both corporate and individual.

Head, Consumer Marketing at Globacom, Mr. Chris Ehimen, said subscribers of this service could personalize their phone so that their callers can listen to a variety of selected tunes instead of listening only to default ring back tones.

Also he said that corporate organizations could also use the service for disseminating information relating to their brand or company in general, while corporate jingles could be converted to corporate caller tunes.

Features of this service include downloading up to five different tunes onto the subscriber’s album at a time and then assigning each of the tunes downloaded to as many callers as the subscriber wishes.

“Therefore by providing this fully personalized service, a subscriber can have different tunes for his family members as well as for his office colleagues,” Mr. Ehimen explained.

The service, he further said, is targeted at young and middle age groups who are easily fascinated by customized ring tones, hence it seeks to add uniqueness and flavour to subscribers’ personalities.


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Glo wins IDMN award, introduces caller tunes

Remmy Nweke

SECOND National Operator (SNO), Globacom has won the West Africa’s Most Preferred telecom company award by the Institute of Direct Marketing of Nigeria (IDMN) for the year 2006, just as the telco has introduced personalised caller tunes.

Globacom was presented with the award at the West African Direct Marketing Awards 2006 in Ikeja Lagos recently.

The award was organized in conjunction with the Direct Marketing Association of Nigeria and the Confederation of African Direct Marketing Association.

IDMN was quoted in a press statement made available to Daily Champion that the annual award was to reward excellence and merit.

“Deserving individuals and corporate organizations are selected based on merit,” it noted, adding that organizations that are either based in West Africa or international organisations whose services and products are present in West African market were assessed.

Chairman of the awards board, Col. Timothy Aiyedehin, said Globacom’s robust achievements in the last three years of its operation qualified it for the award.

He also noted that Globacom’s unique and strong marketing initiatives and its world-class products and services stood the telco out in the industry.

According to the institute, Globacom played revolutionary roles in the telecom industry and recorded a series of outstanding achievements since it began operations in 2003.

Globacom’s Zonal Sales Coordinator, Mr. David Maji, who received the award on behalf of the company said Globacom had, since launch, played a lead role in jump-starting the country’s economic and social success by ensuring that Nigerians were availed the best in telecommunications and information technology.

The IDMN award is one of several such awards and recognitions Globacom has won in its three years of operation.

Its unique products, aggressive marketing initiatives and social responsibility thrust have attracted to the company acclaim and laurels, the latest of which is the rating as best GSM operator by a network audit done by IT Edge, a leading IT/Telecom news magazine.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations, had in its report on African Telecommunication Indicators noted that the entry of Globacom into Nigeria’s telecom industry had brought “greater innovation, lower tariffs and better services.”

Meanwhile, Globacom, has introduced personalized Caller Tunes which facilitates unique identities for its subscribers, both corporate and individual.

Head, Consumer Marketing at Globacom, Mr. Chris Ehimen, said subscribers of this service could personalize their phone so that their callers can listen to a variety of selected tunes instead of listening only to default ring back tones.

Also he said that corporate organizations could also use the service for disseminating information relating to their brand or company in general, while corporate jingles could be converted to corporate caller tunes.

Features of this service include downloading up to five different tunes onto the subscriber’s album at a time and then assigning each of the tunes downloaded to as many callers as the subscriber wishes.

“Therefore by providing this fully personalized service, a subscriber can have different tunes for his family members as well as for his office colleagues,” Mr. Ehimen explained.

The service, he further said, is targeted at young and middle age groups who are easily fascinated by customized ring tones, hence it seeks to add uniqueness and flavour to subscribers’ personalities.


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