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United States opens Priority American Space @CcHub Yaba

ITRealms :   The United States , today in Lagos open a Priority American Space at the Co-Creation Hub Nigeria, in the heart of Lagos, ...

PC Summit 2017

Thursday, June 28, 2007

NGNs, the future networks

Features of the week:

The need to offer converged and qualitative telecommunications services have paved the way for the focus on Next Generation Networks (NGNs) to further reduce digital divide, reports REMMY NWEKE.

Recently the Seventh Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) ended its three-day meeting in Dubai, with a 38-point roadmap as guidelines for migration of telecommunications infrastructure into the Next Generation Networks (NGNs).

Subscribers lay siege on Celtel Sunday unlimited

FOLLOWING the successful outing of the Sunday free calls on the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) network, Celtel Nigeria, subscribers are now laying siege on the Sunday Unlimited.

This is coming as Celtel’s Subscriber Identification Module (SIMs) and recharge cards are becoming scarce.

Also, telecommunication consumers now besieged Commercial Telephone Operators (CTOs) for various Celtel’s top-up denomination cards.

Champion Infotel investigations revealed that some of the Celtel subscribers who lost out at the initial Sunday Unlimited fortnight ago, took the just ended weekend to prepare themselves by ensuring that they loaded upto N500 and above in order to benefit from the current promotion by Celtel in the country.

Champion Infotel recalls that Celtel recently announced the offering of a promo that gives unlimited free call services to some of its subscribers.

Any qualified subscribers is likely to receive a Short Messaging Service (SMS) the reads like this: “Congratulations! You are now entitled to enjoy up to 60/120 free minutes worth of Celtel to Celtel calls between Saturday midnight and Sunday might.”

Announcing the promo earlier, Head, Public Relations, Events and Sponsorship at Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Oparah, said it affords the company’s loyal pre-paid customers the opportunity to make free on-net calls on Sundays only.

He also said that the offer enables subscribers to recharge their phones with a minimum of N500 within the week, and get 60 free minutes to make on-net calls on Sunday of that week, whereas those who recharged N1000 within the same period will attract 120 free minutes.

In addition, Mr. Oparah said that the offer, which commenced immediately on introduction, is open to existing and new pre-paid customers, just as cumulative recharges will also qualify for the free minutes of airtime.

Further investigations by Champion Infotel showed that after the initial Sunday unlimited calls by some of their friends and relatives on Celtel network, most consumers who are on other GSM networks began to buy new Celtel’s SIM cards and recharge their GSM lines immediately.

As gathered by our investigations, even Celtel subscribers who probably forgot about the promo were forced to recall by calls from family members and colleagues on the network, hence necessitating rush for its recharge cards.

Although some of the subscribers who found themselves recharging the same Sunday afternoon expected instant bonus and access to the awards of relevant minutes of free calls were disappointed, but following clarifications by operatives of Celtel and CTOs, consumers were encouraged to continue recharge, afterwards, it would not be a waste, but would be credited to them for use the following weekend.

“After-all I would still get my bonus and free airtime,” one of the subscribers told our correspondent.

Noteworthy was that the first and second Sundays of unlimited free calls saw to the ‘jamming’ of the network for hours as revealed by our investigations late in Sunday evenings.

It was also revealed that most subscribers used the opportunity to call their relatives, especially in the South-Eastern part of the country.

According to those who spoke and those want their names in prints, the development is better than the so called midnight calls that keep them awake on night.

One of the subscribers, informed that she was able to make several calls to her loved family members, whom she saw last December and who are on Celtel network, declaring, “In fact, I did not even remember it until a friend reminded me about it.”

A male subscriber, informed our correspondent that it took him time to get on the network, as he continued to try to get across to his friends since Sunday morning till the evening, but was successful at the end of the day.

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Nigeria missing from Internet-2 evolution

Nigeria is missing out from the revolution known as Internet 2, according to the investigations by Champion Infotel.

Internet 2 is a project to develop new technologies for high-performance computer networking, which is specifically developed to facilitate research and educational purposes, the involvement of research, commercial and government organisations also aims to distribute this technology into the wider community.

Spearheaded by a non-profit consortium of universities working in partnership with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies under the aegis of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), develops advanced network applications and technologies, for deployment in education sector with high-speed data transfer purposes.

It is led by 212 universities in partnership with about 60 companies in areas from the networking such as Cisco Systems, publishing firms like Prous Science and technology industries such as Comcast, Intel and Sun Microsystems among others.

Champion Infotel recalls that reports have it that Internet may soon be overloaded due to avalanche of transactions especially the number of electronic mails being generated daily.

Proponents of this opinion said that the flood of data across the Internet have continued to increase, which suggest that sometime soon it’s going to collapse under its own weight.

Noteworthy, however, is that the same report was also awash last year, and in the early 90s, Internet users were merely sending text e-mails of a few bytes each, even as traffic across the main United States (US) data lines, for instance, were estimated at a few terabytes a month, which have steadily doubled on yearly basis.

And by mid 90s, industry observers witnessed the arrival of picture-rich websites, and the invention of the Media Player (MP3), even as suddenly each net user wanted megabytes of pictures and music, and the monthly traffic figure exploded.

It was also gathered that in the next few years that followed were more steady growth with traffic again increasing by estimated 200 per cent.

But since 2003, Internet users reportedly grew astronomically, through YouTube generation for those who want to stream video and download gigabytes of data whilst on the move.

Commenting on this report, chief executive of an Internet Service Provider (ISP), PiNet Informatics, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said he was not surprised, because the infrastructure on ground seems to be overstretched.

“This has led to development of the Internet 2 with more capacity focusing on education institutions,” he said.

Mr. Ajayi stressed that Internet 2 has commenced in the US, Europe and North Africa, but is yet to get to Nigeria as expected, just as the government and its agencies charged with Information Technology (IT) development are still grabbling in ignorance.

“Internet 2 is having much more capacity and this is because Internet-1 was built without the kind of today’s traffic in mind since most people now want to stream video and pictures among other files that consume lots of bandwidth exist,” Mr. Ajayi said.

He however, decried non-effort of the Nigerian government or any of its agencies in developing Internet-2, describing it as “unfortunately.”

“Our country has not made any serious move in developing Internet 2 or joining efforts in this direction,” he told Champion Infotel.

Also speaking, chief executive of another ISP firm, Amsco Telecoms Limited, Mr. Ndukwe Kalu, noted that the whole Internet is a network connections and where there is a burden is the pipe that connects these networks, such as bandwidth availability.

He pointed out that over 99 per cent of Internet users across six United States-based data or major telcom companies, which developed a national fibre network including OneCom.

According to him, the Internet is evolving from mere text to graphics to video and noted that video is based on bandwidth and that means the capacity, so its not just the pipe, but the Personal Computers (PCs) have to be upgraded too, to meet the demands, citing an instance that with a low end Pentium 2, it (Internet) cannot optimised.

“Internet 2 is evolving in US, so all we need to do is to factor correct infrastructure such as broadband in our development plan,” Mr. Kalu advised.

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Beta Computers opens factory

One of the nation’s Personal Computer (PS) Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs), Beta Computers Limited, has concluded arrangements to officially open its ultra-modern SpeedStar Computer factory in Lagos.

Disclosing this, Managing Director, Beta Computers, Mr. Will Anyaegbunam, said the manufacturers of the award winning SpeedStar range of PCs, would formally open its ultra-modern factory in Surulere area of Lagos, today, Wednesday, July 27.

He also said that the event would be presided over by the Group Managing Director, Union Bank Plc, Mr. Bath Ebong, and supported by the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, ( NITDA) , Prof. Cleopas Angaye as the special guest of honor.

Mr. Anyaegbunam equally said that other eminent personalities billed to grace the event include the Group Managing Director (GMD), Afribank Plc, Dr Sebastian Adigwe, President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Dr Chris Nwannenna and his counterpart at the Computers Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), Dr. (Mrs) Adenike Osofisan, Managing Director, FedEx, Mr. Isaac Orolugbabe, Managing Director, CI Leasing PLC, Mr Emeka Ndu, Managing Director, Unique Venture Capital Management Company, Dr. Anthony Osa Oboh and former commissioner and governorship aspirant in Lagos State, Chief Hakeem Gbajabiamilia.

The event, he said, is a milestone for the company as the factory is the first of its kind in the country with semi-automated, motorized conveyor line for the actual assembly of PCs with the capacity for 200 PC output.

Mr. Anyaegbunam further said that the event would herald the unveiling of its brand of SpeedStar laptops, code-named “SpeedStar StarNote” series, which the firm claimed was developed over 12 months.

According to him, SpeedStar StarNote, was developed and tested to ensure that the final product is of the highest quality comparable to any international brand Notebook in the market today.

Champion Infotel recalls that barely two weeks ago, Beta Computers introduced SpeedStar Skola, which Anyaegbunam said, was specially designed for learning, education and training both at homes and in schools.

Further, Mr. Anyaegbunam assured Nigerians that Skola PCs offer the best value today in the market for propagating the desired e-learning experience of scholars and to boost Information Technology (IT) penetration in the country.

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NIG set to launch Internet-for-Job initiative

In living up to its self-outlined goals, the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) is set to launch its Internet-For-Jobs (I4J) Initiative, to create jobs for Nigerians and boost the local content online.

This is coming as NIG said it has commenced establishment of its school chapters in the nation’s tertiary institutions.

President, NIG, Mr. Lanre Ajayi told newsmen in Lagos that the initiative was encapsulated towards making Nigeria a knowledge economy, beginning with a seminar to sensitise Nigerians on what I4J is all about.

The event scheduled to hold on July 12 at Golden Gate, he said, would have as its theme “Internet for Jobs: Promoting Internet Entrepreneurship in Nigeria” is in fulfilment of his team on assumption of office to take the organisation to the next level of its mandate, through promotion and development of local content on the Internet and creating local Internet entrepreneurs.

“Specifically, this was encapsulated in our vision statement ‘to use the internet as a platform for creating jobs opportunities for Nigerians and making Nigeria a positive contributor to the emergent knowledge economy.’”

Mr. Ajayi, accompanied by NIG’s publicity and financial secretaries, Messrs Kasim Akinrete and Bosun Arebuwa, respectively, also said that the aspiration of NIG at this time in point, is to make Nigeria a preferred destination for the global internet-related services including outsourcing web application development, e-commerce and software development thereby creating job opportunities for our people.

He stressed that this issue is pace setting one and germane to the growth of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the country.

He also said that I4J would go a long way in generating interests of the young ones in the ICT sector, and give them the much-needed leap in this 21st century.

In addition, Mr. Ajayi said that the seminar is being organised in collaboration with Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), with support from the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), as well as NITDA and Zenith Bank.

NIG is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) committed to the promotion and growth of the Internet in Nigeria with membership cutting across all who are interested in the growth of the Internet technology, irrespective of educational background and current field of employment, including the academia, non-governmental organizations, government parastatals, Internet Service Providers, private organizations and individuals.

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Tradeways Express ready to explore West African market

Indigenous courier company, Tradeways Express International Limited, has reiterated its resolve to explore the West African market, and serve its customers nationwide.

Chief executive, Tradeways Express, Mr. Larry Chinekezi gave this commitment at the just ended one-day business forum organized by the firm, tagged “Beyond Service, A culture of Customer Satisfaction,” which held in Lagos.

He also disclosed that with Tradeways expansion touching ground in Accra-Ghana, the courier giant is ready to explore the West African market fully.

According to him, the entrance of the company into the Ghanaian market paved the way for major restructuring in its operations.

“We’re now firmly positioned to expand to other West African countries in no distant time,” he said.

In addition, he said that, as the largest indigenous courier entity in the country of today, Tradeways Express, would frequently fashion a means of repositioning so as to surpass customers’ expectations round the clock.

The forum, which is in its third year, he said, affords Tradeways the exclusive chance of feeling the pulse of its customers in order to serve them better and increase its market share within the courier industry in the country.

The event attended by over 80 participants drawn from its customers, courier and other sub-sectors of the economy, Mr. Chinekezi noted, gave a boost to the company, which since inception of business have been persistent in strengthening its visions and plans for each financial year.

“We would always make efforts to continually be focused on exploring means of serving the customers to surpass their expectations,” he declared.

Mr. Chinekezi, while expressing his firm’s appreciation to the participants and staff for their devotion to duty, and enjoined them to be more dedicated, mostly at this time of expansion into the sub-region.

He emphasized that the company would acquire more operational vehicles and also open more strategic offices nationwide and in the sub-region.

These steps, he said, are all geared towards rendering seamless services to its valued customers and to continually strive for uniqueness and efficiency, which the firm have been known for.

Also speaking, the General Manager, Commercial, Mr. ThankGod Ntaku, said that the summit was momentous because it gave the management the occasion to enlighten the public on its customer-centric initiatives.

According to him, Tradeways recently took delivery of branded security seal to further guarantee the security of customers’ shipments.

Mr. Ntaku further noted that the summit was intellectually enriching as well as entertaining, reiterating that Tradeways commitment is to regularly improve upon its professionalism through adequate training for its staff, which is expected to boost productivity.

In his comment, the facilitator at the summit, chief executive officer, Dennis Catherine Consulting, a peak performance and life-coaching firm, Dr Chidi Okpaluba, urged other courier companies in the country to emulate Tradeways in being customer-centric.

He added that Tradeways Express is a force to reckon with in the courier cum logistics industry and that it had all it takes to go as far as making other courier companies both locally and internationally its licensees.

Tradeways, he said, is going to be a reference point to what Nigerians can do especially in courier industry. “Tradeways is going to be a world class brand, all they need is to sustain what is driving them,” Dr. Okpaluba advised.

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Intermarc conducts research on e-banking

Worried by the dearth of verifiable data in the nation’s financial services industry, Intermarc Consulting, an electronic-payment consulting firm, has commissioned Research and Marketing Services (RMS) to conduct an in-depth research on electronic banking (e-banking) in Nigeria.

Managing Partner, Intermarc Consulting, Mr. Adeyinka Adeyemi informed that the objectives of the research include to determine the bank with the highest e-banking performance based on consumers’ perception.

In addition, it would seek out the key drivers determining positive performance on e-banking across the country.

Also in executing the study, RMS would interview over 2000 Nigerians with various bank accounts.

The interview would be conducted in 15 states, cutting across the six geo-political zones of the country.

The research, he added would focus on the availability of cash machine popularly known as Automated Teller Machine (ATM), it’s functionality, ease of obtaining and replacing ATM cards as well as the perceived security of ATM transactions, just as it would determine the level of awareness, the availability of credit and debit cards, perceived coverage of the cards, acceptability and the ease of applying for them from the issuing banks.

RMS is also expected to determine the availability of telephone banking and ease of using its facilities across the country.

Also, the study will find out the availability of Internet banking, its reliability and perceived security issues, among others.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Lagos, Mr. Adeyemi, explained the rationale behind the study, saying that it would assist Nigerian banks and other financial institutions in taking full advantage of their investments in e-payment systems.

“It will certainly help the banks to adopt a deliberate strategy and align public perception to position their various e-banking portfolios,” he said.

He pointed out that the market for e-banking products is very promising, as such consumers will continue to demand fast, efficient and convenient banking options.

In order to meet these potential demands, banks will benefit immensely from a comprehensive research of this kind, stressing that the reports of this research will be in two folds, namely on general industry situation report while the other will focus on specifics to each bank in the industry.

Equally speaking, Country Head, RMS, Mr. Aggrey Maposa promised that his company will complete the evaluative research in a record time, with assurance of high literacy level of the respondents who are banks customers.

“We are quite adept with carrying out research in emerging markets; essentially we are an African agency with global perspective. Our focus is the African market, and we stand by our knowledge and the understanding as African specialists, which are evident in our wide-ranging experience across the continents’ market,” he declared.

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Otudeko tasks Nigerians on phone repairs

Chairman, E-tel Group and President, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oba Otudeko, has tasked Nigerian telecommunications consumers, decrying that subscribers spend lots of money on mobile phones.

He also advised Nigerians on how best to maintain their Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), so as to save money they could reinvest in other sectors of the economy.

Speaking as a special guest at the opening of Nokia Customer Care Centre ‘Nokia Care’ at the weekend in Lagos, Oba Otudeko, noted that major challenge facing Nigerians and telecommunications subscribers at this time of national development is how to maintain their phones.

He also said that maintaining GSM phones at authorized places through good repair services by renowned mobile phone manufacturers like Nokia is intended to reduce cost of these Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools.

“A major problem of our country is lack of maintenance culture,” he said, stressing that accumulation of goods amongst the good things of life without proper maintenance amount to waste in any economy.

He emphasized that lack of maintenance culture is the key problem of the nation’s oil sector that have left Nigerians yearning for oil products amidst abundant blessing from nature.

While he advocated for excellence in all sector, the business magnet decried that Nigerians spend so much money on phones and needs a good service center in order for them to use their phones for a longer time, far beyond the warranty period.

He expressed optimistic that with the likes of warranty being offered by Nokia in collaboration with Telecare Wireless at this new service center if well tapped, would give telecom subscribers in the country the great opportunity of having enough to invest.

“They would have the opportunity to invest these monies saved for other socio-economic development of the country,” he declared.

Oba Otudeko equally said that the plan of E-tel Group through its subsidiary Telecare Wireless in partnering with Nokia on the service center is to increase the longevity of handsets in the country, mostly the Nokia brand.

“We want to leave this country better than we met it,” he asserted, adding that technology is the brainchild of brain itself and must be used optimally, just as he encouraged Nigerians and subscribers precisely to adapt the ability of even applying some minor repairs on their own.

“This facility is part of our commitment with the Nigerian people to offer proper care to more Nigerians while saving more money for them,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Managing Director, Telecare Wireless, Mr. Peter Rebak, said the center would enable Nokia to draw nearer to its customers, even as they have what it takes to ensure that mobile telecom consumers of Nokia relevance are given the best in terms of services.

He also said that Telecare has the manpower to withstand any number of customers and intends to increase the manpower as time goes on.

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Samsung launches ultra edition II series

Korean electronics firm, Samsung Electronics has launched its Ultra edition II series in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) markets.

Addressing the media recently in Dubai, General Manager, Mobile Phones at Samsung headquarters, Mr. K.B. Roh, said this would usher in an advanced immense success of its initial Ultra edition series in mobile phones.

This, he said, gives boast to the slimmest models of phones in the future, especially in the stable of Samsung Electronics.

Additionally, he said that the line-up, redefines the global mobile handset market and sets new standards in terms of performance, design and features, with each model offering advanced features such as 3.2 mega pixel camera, high-speed web connectivity as well as extensive multimedia and audio capabilities.

Mr. Roh also said Samsung is delighted to introduce the new Ultra series into MEA, stressing that it is just an introduction of a few more mobile phones into the market place.

“It’s a testament of our core product philosophy of striking a balance between innovative technology and refined design. At the same time, the new series attests to our aggressive marketing strategy for the Middle East and African market including our commitment to bring the latest mobile communications technology to this region. Samsung has always had a customer-oriented approach to product development and we are now thrilled to introduce our new range in the Middle East and Africa,” he said.

Mr. Roh pointed out that Samsung’s Ultra series has began to attract confidence from business users, fashion-conscious consumers, and multimedia enthusiasts in the region and this is reflected by the approximately 25 per cent increase in sales over the past two years.

Equally speaking, President, Samsung Electronics, Middle East and Africa Operations, Mr. Chiwon Suh said that the success recorded so far on this product series is based on Samsung’s ability to accommodate multiple market segments, just as they expect the ultra edition II to widen and deepen this niche in this region.

“The new range is slimmer and stronger than the first edition and boasts an even more advanced design,” he said.

Mr. Suh described the United Arab Emirate (UAE) as its hub for competition, innovation and business excellence, adding “Our success in this region has further consolidated our market leadership in the high-end mobile phone segments.”

According to him, sales figures for Samsung mobile phones for the Middle East and Africa region have already registered a growth of 73 per cent at the first half of this year, 2007 and Samsung intends to maintain and strengthen this growth till the end of the year.

The ultra edition II range, he said, comes with optimized power usage solution, which guarantees maximum performance by increasing talk time by 10 per cent, stressing that this saves power by 30 per cent and battery capacity by 10 per cent.

Additionally, Samsung’s Smart Surface Mounting Technology (SSMT), which was initially developed for the Ultra Edition range, has been embedded in the ultra edition II handsets, thereby reducing the number of required components, interference and noise made while ensuring that quality does not get sacrificed for good looks.

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ReltelWireless gets unified license

Apex telecommunications regulator in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has awarded Reltelwireless, one of the leading private telcos, the National Unified Access Service (UAS) license.

This would facilitate the telco’s desire to offer its services across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

Champion Infotel recalls that early June the telco was given a directive from NCC to stop expansion of its network, which the commission claimed was out of its license coverage.

The latest development, according to the Head, Corporate Communications of Reltelwireless, Mr. Oge Udeagha, was contained in a letter signed by the Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, and dated June 15, 2007.

Part of the letter read that with this approval, “Reltelwireless has been cleared to offer National Mobile Telephony, National Fixed Telephony Services, International Data Access Services, International Gateway Services, and National Long Distance Services.”

Mr. Udeagha pointed out that the telco had earlier secured the national spectrum for its allocated frequencies, covering all the 36 states of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory, thus making it one of the few telecommunications operators in the country, and the first Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator, to fully pay for a national spectrum as opposed to a regional coverage.

He explained that the company had been working hard to roll out its network across the geopolitical zones of the country and this would be complemented with a mobile license to give its subscribers the roaming benefits of its pan-Nigeria coverage.

“We’re happy that our subscribers can now enjoy unlimited access to our services across the country. It was essential to first roll-out extensively across the country, so that our customers can derive maximum value from the Unified License. This is good news for us, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. We shall be launching our unified numbering plan very soon, and our subscribers can look forward to enjoying our quality service anywhere in Nigeria,” he said.

Reltelwireless currently operates in 11 cities, as the CDMA operator with the most extensive reach in Nigeria, just as it plans to go live in 30 more, within the next two months.



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MTN may face NCC wrath

Global System for Mobile (GSM) operator, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, may face the wrath of the industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), over poor quality of service (QoS) and lack of adherence to earlier directives.

This indication emerged through the Commission’s Secretary, Mr. Felix Adeoye, who said that the directive became imperative due to degenerating quality of service on the network, just as it said that MTN response to its earlier query is not ‘unacceptable’.

A letter in respect of the direction titled ‘Issuance of Direction to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited’ dated June 14, 2007, a copy of which was sighted by Champion Infotel, the commission said that it was in pursuance of Section 53 (1) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.

The letter endorsed by Mr. Adeoye, pointed out that by virtue of the provision of Section 104 (a) of the same Act, all service providers shall in respect of their specific services meet such minimum standards of quality of service as the Commission may from time to time specify and publish and by its letter dated May 26, 2006 the Commission forwarded the agreed and final version of the QoS indicators to all mobile operators including MTN for implementation.

Mr. Adeoye also noted that by a notice of intention to issue a direction dated May 28, 2007 sent to MTN by the Commission, the telco was mandated to within seven (7) days to comply with the agreed quality of service parameters and submit to the Commission on a weekly basis the report of its achievements on the stated parameters; suspend all current promotions until such a time as MTN achieves an acceptable quality of service level and will be required to compensate subscribers on its network as long as the poor quality of service subsists.

NCC said that by MTN response dated June 4, 2007 that it’s impossible for any operator to comply with the QoS indicators within seven (7) days.

MTN response also stated, “The directive to suspend all current promotions will not be in its best interest, that of the subscribers and will be anti-competitive and unfair.”

Just as the directive to pay compensation by MTN to its subscribers was described by the telco as punitive, unprecedented and retroactive.

Mr. Adeoye also said that the Commission reviewed the reasons advanced by MTN and is not satisfied with most of the reasons in view of the fact that even in MTN’s “it conceded to the quality of service challenges it is faced with.”

Hence, NCC after due deliberation on this matter found that MTN has not complied with the quality of service threshold specified in the notice of intention to issued direction and no new QoS performance indicator was introduced in its notice of intention to issue a Direction as alleged by MTN.

Whereas its call retention ratio with a minimum at 98 per cent of successful call set up remained the same as call drop rate of not more than 2 per cent published in the QoS indicators for mobile services.

Therefore, in exercise of its powers contained in Sections 4 (1) (b), 53 of the NCA, 2003 and Condition 30.3 of the Digital Mobile Licence, the Commission having also considered the appeal of MTN, hereby directed MTN to should comply with the QoS parameters stated the said intention to issue to issue.

“MTN should comply with quality of service parameters stated in the said notice of intention to issue a Direction and should submit to the Commission on weekly basis a report of its achievements on these parameters for an initial period of ninety (90) days or until the QoS improves,” NCC said.

As said by the Commission, it expects to receive the first report on June 25, 2007, instructing that the telco should not embark on any future promotional activities geared towards encouraging more minutes of calls in excess of its current capacity for a period of ninety (90) days in the first instance.

This shall take effect within seven (7) days from the receipt of this direction, and the direction not to embark on future promotional activities as in above may be subject to a thirty (30) day review, so as to monitor improvements in the quality of service level.

“In the event that MTN fails to comply with this direction, the commission shall in accordance with the Nigerian Communications enforcement processes, it would regulations 2005 impose a fine in the sum of =N=5, 000, 000. 00 (five million Naira only) and a further sum of N500, 000.00 (five hundred thousand Naira only) per day that such penalty remains unpaid and for as long as the contravention persists.

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HP begins shipping of iPAO 500 series to EMEA

Leading Information and Communication Technology (ICT) giant, Hewlett Packard (HP) has announced the commencement of its shipping of its smartphone, otherwise known as iPAQ, to Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Disclosing this at the recently held 3GSM in Barcelona, HP said that the sleek and small smartphone delivers a flexible wireless electronic mail (e-mail) experience for business customers through convenient voice control and hands-free operation.

Vice President, Handheld Business Unit, Personal Systems Group at HP, Mr. Dave Rothschild, said that the HP iPAQ 500 series Voice Messenger features Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) capabilities, “push” email and the latest Windows Mobile 6 operating system.

In addition, he said that with up to six hours of continuous talk time on a fully charged battery, the HP iPAQ Voice Messenger also leads the competition in battery life., stressing that as the first in HP’s new smartphone lineup, HP iPAQ 500 series helps highly mobile professionals to stay connected wherever they are.

He noted that with more than 20 voice commands available on the iPAQ, it offers customers hands-free operation and the ability to use a powerful “voice reply” feature, just as people could reply to emails by dictating and sending a voice response, without the need for any typing.

“Users also could listen to email and text messages, navigate through phone and calendar tasks and speak to start applications,” he said.

Additionally, Mr. Rothschild said that HP iPAQ Voice Messenger has built-in Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) to provide business customers a VoIP alternative to traditional office phone setups, even as by integrating the HP iPAQ Voice Messenger with office phone systems, businesses could eliminate the need for desk phones and benefit from streamlined communications and reduced Information Technology (IT) management, just as the smartphone also includes Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and EDGE as well as Bluetooth wireless technology connectivity options.

“Busy professionals are constantly flooded with email and looking for ways to quickly and easily manage it and move on with their day,” he said, stressing that HP iPAQ Voice Messenger smartphone gives mobile users an easy way to manage all types of communications and stay focused on their business.”

Based on the new Windows Mobile 6 platform, the HP iPAQ 500 series, he explained provides business professionals with an enhanced Outlook Mobile experience, thus allowing customers to view emails in their original Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) format and enjoy quick access to contacts with the ability to search a call history and contacts database.

According to him, the built-in Microsoft Office Mobile suite provides customers with a familiar, easy-to-use experience is a plus.

Corporate Vice President, Mobile and Embedded Devices Division, Microsoft Corporation, Mr. Todd Warren, said that Windows Mobile 6 delivers advanced communications, increased productivity and integrated mobile business performance; all within the familiar Microsoft software experience.

“We’re pleased to work with HP to offer a device that will help businesses thrive by enabling people to access important data wherever they are,” he said.

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Apple set to unveil iPhone

The much anticipated iPhone from Apple is gathering momentum just as its launch slated for this Friday, June 29, draw nearer.

According to reports from ABC News and Associate Press, the debut of its much coveted iPhone is already sending some frenzy feeling among consumers.

“I’m a slave to the iPod I might as well be a slave to the iPhone,” a telecom consumer was quoted as saying.

Champion Infotel recalls that the chief executive, Apple, Mr. Steve Jobs, had brought iPhone excitement to fever pitch when he announced last January of the intended launch and ever since then consumers have waited anxiously for the iPhone to arrival.

“It’s a cell phone, music and video player, Internet browser and e-mail device.,” Mr. Job declared.

The product would only be available for purchase at Apple stores and through AT&T, the exclusive cell phone carrier for the iPhone.

As said in a recent survey by M Metrics, more than 60 per cent of consumers are aware of what the iPhone is and an unprecedented chunk of those people are interested in buying one.

“Having an iPhone within the first six months is going to be a status symbol: ‘I have one. You don’t have one,’” said analyst Mike Goodman of Yankee Group.

The media has featured more than 5,000 articles about the iPhone till date and the hype keeps growing, with Apple unveiling displays at some of their stores. The company also has posted new iPhone tutorial videos online.

AT&T is so bullish about the consumer interest since they have hired an extra 2,000 temporary employees just to handle the onslaught.

Apple has not even released the $500 ( about N70,000) phone to tech experts for an objective review, but that is not deterring some consumers.

A telecom consumer had told ABC News that he would buy the phone sight unseen because he trusts it.

“I think people are expecting something really innovative from Apple,” said analyst Nick Wingfield of the Wall Street Journal.

“They have done incredible things with the iPod. So, they are thinking that they might have a similar turn out in terms of innovation from the cell phone market,” he added

However, the superstar of the wireless market does have some cons. It is a first generation product, which may mean it could have some bugs or quirks and it’s a pricey venture, with an eight gigabyte model costing $600 and the four gigabyte model $500.

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InterSwitch provides EMV solution to Access, UBA Group

Electronic transaction switching and payment processing company, InterSwitch Limited, announced the provision of Europay MasterCard and Visa (EMV) to top runners of the nation’s 25 recapitalised banks, namely Access and UBA banks.

This is coming as merchants and cardholders will begin to see the introduction of InterSwitch-enabled cards that feature the Chip & PIN technology as from September this year.

Group Head, Service Delivery at InterSwitch, Mr. Akeem Lawal, said that the availability of EMV at these banks would enabled the usage of its “Chip and Pin” solution with Access Bank and UBA’s Automated Teller Machines (ATM) Driving Front End Processors (FEP).

Mr. Lawal explained that it allows for the acceptance and processing of smart, chip-based cards on all payment terminals or channels on the InterSwitch platform.

He also said that the chip and PIN solution is based on the EMV standard, which is widely adopted in other advanced parts of the world, especially in Europe.

Mr. Lawal stressed that the new solution would afford UBA and Access banks the ability to issue chip cards conforming to ‘EMV’ standard, process the cards, transact on their own in-house systems as well as enable the acceptance of all EMV compliant cards on the ATMs deployed by the banks.

“Cards accepted include the domestic ‘Chip & Pin’ version of the popular InterSwitch ATM/Debit cards and local as well as international VISA chip cards. The existing ATM/Debit cards will still be accepted on all ATMs,” he enlightened.

The group head noted that with this product, Access bank and United Bank for Africa facilitates the usage of the “Chip and PIN” solution to their FEP is a very straight forward way out.

“The two banks ATMs can now accept both magnetic stripe cards and EMV Chip cards. We have used the innate ability of the position switching software to achieve this feat with relative ease and we will continue to build our fully secure InterSwitch payment infrastructure on this platform,” he said.

According to him, the chip and PIN solution offers new features that keep Access Bank and UBA one step ahead of competition.

“I look forward to seeing the new breed of chip-enabled products the bank have in store for their customers,” Mr. Lawal said.

Equally commenting on the revolution, Managing Director, InterSwitch, Mr. Mitchell Elegbe said his firm is using the open standards and proven technology to make already safe payment system even more secured.

“However, what is more exciting are the opportunities that open up with the intelligence that can be put on the chip cards to offer innovative value adding products and services that address customer’s needs and drives banks’ profitability” Mr. Elegbe noted, adding that although Chip & PIN migration in other parts of the world has been very expensive exercise and takes many years to complete InterSwitch was able to achieve this in Nigeria in a few months at a fraction of the cost.

“The complete migration of all the banks on our network to Chip & PIN will take a few more months and the timing for the introduction of Chip & PIN will vary from one financial institution to another, however, the migration will be completed before the end of December 2007” he enthused.

He revealed that beginning in September 2007, merchants and cardholders will start to see the introduction of InterSwitch-enabled cards that feature the Chip & PIN technology.

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ITU partners ICO, CBC on SatCom for disasters

Global telecommunications regulator, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is partnering with the ICO Global Communications and Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) in deploying Satellite Communications (SatCom) in disaster situations globally.

ITU said it has reached an agreement with ICO Global Communications and the Commonwealth Business Council to utilize satellite communications to improved global response in the face of natural disasters.

Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, Mr. Sanjay Acharya and Head, Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States and Emergency Telecommunications at ITU, Mr. Cosmas Zavazava, in a joint statement made available to Champion Infotel, noted that natural calamities have spread mayhem around the world.

The partnership said that severely disasters have impacted on the lives of people and the environment, such as the recent spate of Tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides and forest fires have left behind a legacy of lost and broken lives, economic upheaval and sheer devastation, imposing long-lasting impediments to sustainable development and global efforts for poverty reduction.

“The poor, especially those living in remote and isolated areas, are the most vulnerable and disaster-prone,” the partnership was quoted as saying.

It would be recalled that in 2006 alone, 21,800 people were reported to have succumbed to natural disasters, with 95 per cent of those killed residing in least developed countries, just as $65 billion, about the United States Dollar worth 65 billion of economic loss were recorded worldwide.

However, the partnership would afford ICO Global Communications to provide satellite airtime on its F2 satellite for disaster prevention and effective response in the aftermath of natural disasters through both voice communications and other telecommunication applications, including telemedicine.

Champion Infotel gathered that an hour’s airtime would be provided every day for use through ITU to help countries maintain preparedness, provide early-warning information and elicit quick response.

ITU stressed that in the event of a disaster, this time will be adjusted according to demand to facilitate rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

Secretary-General, ITU, Dr Hamadoun Touré, pointed out that the partnership established with ICO Global Communications and the Commonwealth Business Council is an important milestone towards ITU’s effort to save human life.

“Satellite communication provides a platform to deliver a wide range of services and applications even to remote areas. In the digital age, we are able to provide an ICT lifeline to disaster victims and humanitarian personnel entrusted with coordinating rescue and relief operations, especially when terrestrial communications infrastructure is disrupted, overloaded or destroyed,” Dr. Toure said.

He added that while ITU will manage and coordinate emergency telecommunications, CBC would provide content and manage the entrepreneurial skill development programme.

Also speaking, the chief executive of ICO, Mr. Timothy J. Bryan, said that his firm strongly supports the goals of ITU and CBC, and is pleased to contribute via its satellite services to these efforts.

He noted that as next-generation satellite operator, “ICO’s development and global implementation of S-band technology will serve our interests well as we continue to work with key suppliers to create advanced user terminals to access F2 for humanitarian and emergency uses.”

Equally speaking, the Director General, CBC, Dr Mohan Kaul, said, the council is pleased to work with ITU and ICO to contribute towards development and disaster preparedness.

“What is required for the future is increased economic empowerment of wider segments of society, to lift people out of poverty and give them new opportunity. This can be achieved by bringing technology and innovation to the service of many.” He said, adding that CBC need to pursue the ‘democratization of knowledge’ by making technology more widely and freely accessible, especially by means of tele-education and entrepreneurial development programmes, CBC would equip and prepare global citizens for economic empowerment and disaster management.

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Ericsson takes ‘broadband everywhere’ to 3GSM West Africa

Mobile and broadband Internet communications giant, Ericsson, took its broadband technology otherwise called ‘Broadband Everywhere’ to the just concluded Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Third Generation (3G) West Africa 2007 show, which held in Senegal at the weekend.

Marketing & Communications Manager at Ericsson West Africa, Mr. Olabode Sowunmi, said that his firm used the occasion to demonstrate why it is the perfect partner for progress in the rapidly evolving and converging telecom world.

He said that Ericsson displayed its capability of full service broadband offering and extensive range of end-to-end network solutions from the company’s stand at the event held in Le Meridien President Hotel Dakar, Senegal.

The company also focused on why mobile broadband is the natural evolution of mobile data services and the tremendous opportunities this offers operators.

Also speaking, Vice President, Networks and Sales Support for Ericsson’s Market Unit for sub-Saharan Africa (MUSA), Mr. Pieter van der Westhuizen, said that the demonstration is a challenging, but exciting time in the telecom market and stressed that the end-to-end network solutions from Ericsson are likely to generate a lot of interest.

“Particularly now that High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) is starting to make mobile broadband a reality,” he said.

Mr. Westhuizen explained that the remarkable peak data rates and increased system capacity generated by HSPA has been attracting the attention of operators globally and in West Africa precisely.

“Developing a new generation of Value Added Services (VAS) with HSPA’s was presented at the event,” he said.

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Nokia, Telecare open service centre in Lagos

A collaboration between the mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia and a subsidiary of E-Tel Group, Telecare Wireless, have opened the mobile company’s customer service center in the highbrow area of Lagos.

Speaking at the ceremony, Managing Director, Telecare Wireless, Mr. Peter Rebak, said the center would enable Nokia to draw nearer to its customers.

The center located at the Amodu Ojikutu area of Victoria Island, he said would offer full Nokia customer care services, stressing that nowadays, consumers are in search of beyond mere purchasing of mobile tool

“Today’s consumers are looking not only to buy products but expect that these products can be serviced, enhanced and upgraded,” he said.

Also speaking, Senior Customer Care Manager at Nokia for North and West Africa, Mr. Sherif Barakat said the center is supported in a full scale by Nokia’s empowered technical staff drawn from Middle East and Africa’s office.

He equally expressed confidence over the center, saying that as one of the premier centers that will effectively serve the Nigerian market, it has been equipped with the latest repair tools to ensure that customers demands are met at all times.

“This has been opened to keep to Nokia’s tradition of serving its customers whenever and wherever possible,” he said, emphasizing that all Nokia mobile phones which come with one year warranty would be repaired with high quality products, including replacement.

“Nokia gives 12-month manufacturers limited warranty on any Nokia product and is offered from the date of purchase of the original product by the first end user. This limited warranty is valid and enforceable in the country where the product has been purchased, if Nokia intended the product for a resale and Nokia warranty is available in that country,” he explained.

Nokia Care Manager for Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia, Mr. Raymond Olatokun, disclosed to newsmen that the telco has advanced plans to set up collection centers nationwide to ease consumers search for customers care centers.

“Plans are afoot to address the geographical challenges in Nigeria, as Nokia is currently finalizing plans to establish more service points in some of the major cities of Nigeria as well as the remote areas to quickly solve customer service issues,” he added.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Zenith boss advances plan to buy Nigeria’s Cellcom

Renowned banker and chief executive of Zenith International Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia, may have advanced plans to buy over Cellcom Limited, one of the Nigeria’s licensed private telecommunications operators.

Company sources informed ITRealms Online that Mr. Ovia, might have concluded plan for the 100 per cent acquisition of the telco.

Also, Mr. Ovia was said to have acquired the telco for the sum N3 billion with some conditions to cushion some indebtedness in excess of N1 billion.

Our sources added that the acquisition was through one of Mr. Ovia’s entities and an Internet Service Provider (ISP), the Cyberspace Nigeria Limited.

Explaining further, our sources said that the amount N4 billion includes N3 billion slated for the main purchase of the telco, while over N1 has been voted for the payment of debts owed by CellCom as at the time of acquisition.

Additionally, the takeover was said to have began since June 1, 2007.

Speaking on the acquisition, the promoter and chairman of Cellcom Limited, Chief Chidolue said that though he would not like to engage on the matter, but they are still in talks, hence he could not confirm completion of the deal.

Even when contact, a manager in the Corporate Affairs of Zenith, Mr. Victor Adoji, said he could not confirm the story as at the time of filling the report Wednesday, and asked for time.

Further, company sources told HANA that the new owners have moved in since June 1, and had even began negotiations with Huawei Technologies, an equipment supplier so as to revitalize the Cellcom, which currently have estimated 30,000 subscribers since its commercial roll out in 2001, with major presence in Lagos and at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

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Internet Governance: Stakeholders divided over financing method

The global Internet community is facing a hard time deciding the modalities of funding the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and the entire United Nations activities.

Stakeholders under the aegis of the Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus were at the weekend undecided over how the proposed multi-stakeholders could be financed to avoid undue influence on the forum and the entire UN processes at large.

While some lauded the idea of ‘multi-stakeholder financing for multi-stakeholder forum’ it was received with mixed feelings.

According to some members of the caucus, the inability to have a good structure for the proposed multi-stakeholders forum as encouraged by the outcome of the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and the first session of IGF meeting in Athens last year.

Those who classified themselves as moral advocates among the caucus informed that the absence of this structure means simply that those who fund IGF will push their agenda because they have the wherewithal, “so that others who want their agenda pushed should step up their contributions.”

Those opposing this idea had argued that it would lead the Civil Society groups and the generality of the public to no where, because its not based on public interest.

One of the key contributors on the issue, Mr. Bertrand de La Chapelle opined that the viability of this initiative could only succeed if implemented with appropriate rules of transparency.

Some of the key questions raised at the online session, as gathered by Champion Infotel include “What is the appropriate financing structure for the IGF in order to guarantee regularity of resources and independence from lobbies and pressure groups?

For another veritable voice in the caucus, Parminder Jeet Singh of IT for Change, Bangalore, the mere thinking of multi-stakeholder financing is a very bad idea, “And, an even worse principle.”

He expressed fear that most stakeholders lack the knowledge of what multi-stakeholders is all about, especially pertaining to the Internet Governance Forum, stressing that it is a principle that will take the Internet community to no where and without any good outcome.

He elaborated by saying that for most stakeholders and civil society activists, who usually lack the funding, cannot go to their government, because the government does not share in their agenda.

“For me and many in public interest advocacy it is an important principle, and I can’t let such formulations pass by,” he said, adding that it could be fine for the private sectors to finance public functions and bodies where there is a plurality, like a foundation funding a university programme or non-governmental organisation (NGO).

“It is also fine to extend part financing, under certain conditions, to core public bodies which are monopolistic such as states, UN bodies to name a few, in their constituency and mandate, but then the proportion of private funding needs to be adequately low for any one interest group as well as in total proportion to public funds.

This, he pointed out, should be governed with strict rules of propriety, saying that many in the civil society (CS) and outside the typical Internet Governance cum Information Society (IG/IS) groups who are sometimes suspicious of the term multi-stakeholder feel so because they know such bodies can easily show tendencies to move towards ‘privatised governance’.

Yet for others, they are not under the illusion that the answers to these questions are easy to come by or determine, but expressed optimism these are crucial to determine “if we’re to build a just society.”

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Celtel subscribers scramble for Sunday Unlimited

Last weekend introduction of Sunday free calls on one of the leading Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), Celtel Nigeria, is generating lots of hit as subscribers scrambled for access on the network.

The beginning of the week was a beehive of activities for those subscribers who struggle to take advantage of the promo tagged ‘Sunday Unlimited’ by some subscribers.

Champion Infotel recalls that mid-last week, Celtel announced that it’s offering a promotion that gives unlimited free call services to some of its subscribers.

According to Head, Public Relations, Events and Sponsorship at Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Oparah, the new offer gives the company’s loyal pre-paid customers the opportunity to make free on-net calls on Sundays only.

As said by him, the latest offer avails subscribers who recharge their phones with a minimum of N500 within the week, that is, between Monday and Saturday, to get 60 free minutes to make on-net calls on the Sunday of that particular week, while those who recharged N1000 within the same period will attract 120 free minutes.

Mr. Oparah also said that the offer, which commences immediately, is open to existing and new pre-paid customers, just as cumulative recharges will also qualify for the free minutes.

Champion Infotel investigations revealed that the network was simply ‘jammed’ as many subscribers who did not engage the network early enough were unable to join their folks in making free calls.

It was also revealed that most subscribers used the opportunity to call their relatives, especially in the South-Eastern part of the country.

One of the subscribers, informed that she was able to make several calls to her loved family members, whom she saw last December and who are on Celtel network.

“In fact, I did not even remember it until a friend reminded me about it,” she said.

Another subscriber, told our correspondent that he it took him time to get on the network, as he continued tried to engage his friends since Sunday morning all to no avail, but was lucky as at 2pm.

For Mr. Oparah, the promo is another innovative way of delighting Celtel subscribers in the country, saying the “new offer is a perfect, innovative complement to our existing offers including the trail-blazing Unity Tariff and the 10 million free minutes currently on offer.”

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Celtel subscribers scramble for Sunday Unlimited

Last weekend introduction of Sunday free calls on one of the leading Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), Celtel Nigeria, is generating lots of hit as subscribers scrambled for access on the network.

The beginning of the week was a beehive of activities for those subscribers who struggle to take advantage of the promo tagged ‘Sunday Unlimited’ by some subscribers.

Champion Infotel recalls that mid-last week, Celtel announced that it’s offering a promotion that gives unlimited free call services to some of its subscribers.

According to Head, Public Relations, Events and Sponsorship at Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Oparah, the new offer gives the company’s loyal pre-paid customers the opportunity to make free on-net calls on Sundays only.

As said by him, the latest offer avails subscribers who recharge their phones with a minimum of N500 within the week, that is, between Monday and Saturday, to get 60 free minutes to make on-net calls on the Sunday of that particular week, while those who recharged N1000 within the same period will attract 120 free minutes.

Mr. Oparah also said that the offer, which commences immediately, is open to existing and new pre-paid customers, just as cumulative recharges will also qualify for the free minutes.

Champion Infotel investigations revealed that the network was simply ‘jammed’ as many subscribers who did not engage the network early enough were unable to join their folks in making free calls.

It was also revealed that most subscribers used the opportunity to call their relatives, especially in the South-Eastern part of the country.

One of the subscribers, informed that she was able to make several calls to her loved family members, whom she saw last December and who are on Celtel network.

“In fact, I did not even remember it until a friend reminded me about it,” she said.

Another subscriber, told our correspondent that he it took him time to get on the network, as he continued tried to engage his friends since Sunday morning all to no avail, but was lucky as at 2pm.

For Mr. Oparah, the promo is another innovative way of delighting Celtel subscribers in the country, saying the “new offer is a perfect, innovative complement to our existing offers including the trail-blazing Unity Tariff and the 10 million free minutes currently on offer.”

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Many lawsuits against Samsung

Market Intelligence:

In recent times, a lot have happened to one of the Koreans mobile communications company, Samsung Electronics and most worrisome has been the avalanche of lawsuits against the organisation.

Investigations by Champion Infotel indicated that almost on quarterly basis, Samsung has one case to answer at the global level. This industry analysts said is not good for the image of the company and as such attributed it to the dwindling market presence it has in Nigeria, the most populous on the continent of Africa.

Rewinding a bit, at the inception of the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), the Korean company invaded the nation’s market like a bee with everyone carrying one Samsung brand or another.

But today, the trend has changed and drastically too according to industry observers as more competition kept emerging into the Nigerian market. As mildly put by one observer, if Samsung is in the fifth position among mobile companies operating and battling for the Nigeria’s market and mobile phone share precisely and currently, it should count itself lucky.

Conversely, at the global level, Samsung Electronics was recently sued by Ericsson of being involved in the infringement of 11 patents concerning mobile phones.

This was contained in a lawsuit Ericsson filed on July 28 last year in the United States District Court in Marshall, Texas.

As reported by TechShout.com, Ericsson’s complaint included that Samsung allegedly used patented technology comprising methods of reducing cell phone power usage and intensifying and adjusting radio frequency.

Ericsson had reportedly filed a lawsuit against Samsung on February 2006 and asked the courts to rule that Samsung infringed its patents. Ericsson also asked the courts to rule that phones made by collaboration with Sony Corp do not breach Samsung patents.

Also in February this year, Samsung was involved an Media Player 3 patent alongside Apple and Sandisk, which covered “an MPEG portable sound reproducing system.”

Reports had it that Texas MP3 Technologies had filed a patent suit in Marshall, Texas alleging that the three companies infringed on its patent.

The complaint specifically cites US patent 7,065,417, which was awarded in June 2006 to multimedia chip-maker SigmaTel and sold the US rights to the patent a few months back. Apple’s media player products have used both SigmaTel and Samsung multimedia decoding processors.

Equally, Apple’s second-generation iPod shuffle is said to use a Samsung decoding processor for its multimedia functions, rather than the expected SigmaTel chip, which Apple has used within its first-generation iPod shuffle since its introduction in January of 2005.

Also, Washington Research Foundation (WRF), which assists Washington state universities with commercializing technology, on December 21, 2006 filed a patent suit alleging that Samsung joined by Matsushita’s Panasonic division and Nokia, were infringing on four patents sold under the “Bluetooth” name.

Above all, the fact according to observers have been that these lawsuits have continuously denied the optimal growth of developing markets such as Nigeria and West Africa at large by the likes of Samsung.

A quick reminder here, was the experience of Econet Wireless, which ended up spending more money on lawsuits than it did on deployment of its services in most countries where it has operations, which resulted in retrogressive acceptance attitude by consumers.

As for Nigeria, most supposed dealers of Samsung brands of mobile phones have since dumped the brand for other ones with ease sail in terms of total cost of doing business with a given company, while those who still stick to Samsung brand are no longer involved in mobile phones, hence they now concentrate on other electronics gadgets of Samsung with groans.

A redefinition of its objectives could save the telco from further reduction in fortune, even as it now ranks about fifth; after Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG, Motorola in the Nigerian market.

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Cisco pushes 900 CRS-1 in 3yrs

Worldwide leader in networking, Cisco Systems, has shipped 900 Carrier Routing Systems (CRS-1), since its first product shipment in August 2004.

The company also said that its CRS-1 is in use by over 85 providers globally as the basis of converged services, which include Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and TelePresence.

Sources at the San Jose, California office of Cisco, informed that the CRS-1, are the core component of Cisco Internet Protocol for Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture.

Company sources also said that the CRS-1 offers providers a cost-effective means to meet the performance and reliability requirements of advanced service delivery while accommodating ever-increasing IP traffic.

“The rapid growth of CRS-1 sales has been both accompanied and, to some degree, driven by significant IP traffic growth on global networks as video and other advanced service deployments continue,” our sources said.

As contained in a data compiled by Cisco and industry analysts, Internet video produced six times more IP traffic in 2006 than the amount of IP traffic that crossed the entire United States (U.S.) Internet backbone in 2000.

Equally, by 2011, global IP traffic is projected to reach more than 26 exabytes per month; an exabyte is a unit of information or computer storage equal to one quintillion bytes.

In addition, Cisco said that BT and Sprint are among the leading global providers that have deployed its CRS-1 as the foundation of their IP transformation initiatives.

Affirming this, Group Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at BT Group, Mr. Matt Bross, said that the consolidation of BT’s various service-specific networks onto a single IP infrastructure, combined with the growth of Internet traffic due to advanced services like IPTV and collaboration, makes it a reliable, highly-scalable, IP/MPLS core critical.

“Our aggressive 21CN service strategy, driven by the growing needs of our residential, business and industry customers, will increase traffic growth and we wanted to deploy a core routing system that would meet those needs now and in the future,” he said, noting that by deploying Cisco CRS-1 to support the telco’s dramatic growth in 1 services including the step to migrate customers from legacy non-IP-based technologies to SprintLink IP and Global MPLS platforms.

Vice President of Network Development at Sprint, Iyad Tarazi, said that in addition to the company’s wireline investments, “we expect to see exponential growth in wireless data for 3G and Wi-Max services which also require significant investments in our IP core. The CRS-1 is well-suited to meet our needs, thus allowing us to support the long-term needs of our customers.”

It was further gathered that other publicly announced CRS-1 customers included Cable & Wireless, Comcast, China Telecom (ChinaNet), China Education and Research Network (CERNET), Deutsche Telecom, Korea Telecom, FREE, the National Institute of Informatics’ SuperSINET research network in Japan, Neuf Cegetel, National LambdaRail, MTS Allstream, MTN, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), SaskTel, Savvis, Softbank, Yahoo! BB, Swisscom, Shanghai Telecom, Strato Medien, Teliasonera, Terremark, Telstra and VTR to name a few.

Highlight the efficacy of Cisco CRS-1, company sources said its the industry’s most powerful carrier routing system, designed with the aim of offering continuous system operation as well as unprecedented service flexibility and scalability.

Powered by Cisco IOS XR Software, its designed for always-on operation while scaling system capacity up to 92 terabits-per-second (Tbps), even as the innovative system architecture combines the Cisco Silicon Packet Processor, the first programmable 40-Gbps ASIC, with the Cisco Service Separation Architecture for unprecedented service flexibility and speed to service. The CRS-1 marks a new era in carrier IP communications by powering the foundation for IP NGNs today while protecting investments for decades to come.

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Forrester names HP leader in BSM software market

Forrester Research Incorporated, a leading analyst firm has named Hewlett Packard (HP) the leader in the business service management (BSM) software market.

Report released by Forrester on BSM report, said that HP software earned the highest score for business service mapping and the second highest score for both its overall current product offering and end-to-end monitoring.

Analysts at Forrester Research and authors of the BSM report, Mr, Peter O’Neill and Ms Evelyn Hubbert, defined BSM as software that dynamically links business-focused Information Technology (IT) services to the underlying IT infrastructure.

“The acquisition of Mercury Interactive provides HP with a strong BSM solution with a new and improved configuration management database (CMDB) strategy,” the authors wrote, adding that the HP solution allows IT to either take a back-end approach by monitoring the processes supporting the business services through HP business process insight software or by monitoring the front end – the end user experience.

On vendor summary specific, Forrester noted that the strength of HP’s modular implementation approach, allows quick time-to-value and a step-by-step approach to managing the business services of an organization.

The vendor summary also noted that HP Universal CMDB is “a complete system that provides the key capabilities required to support today’s business service management processes,” and that HP Service Desk Customers “are able to receive a closed-loop service health view.”

Vice President, Products, Management Software, HP, Deb Traub, pointed out that key technologies acquired from Mercury have allowed HP to become a leader in the BSM market.

“With the Mercury assets, HP can provide a comprehensive solution that enables customers to monitor the health of business services and applications from the points of view of the business, its customers and its partners,” the VP said.

He also said that the HP Business Availability Center software, a comprehensive business service and application management solution, helps businesses to manage the health of business services and applications as well as optimize their availability, performance and effectiveness.

“Using HP Business Availability Center along with HP Business Process Insight software further enables both bottom-up and top-down analysis,” Traub said.

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M-Net rounds-up Idols West Africa

Digital Satellite Television (DSTV) distributing channel, M-Net in collaboration with MultiChoice Nigeria announced officially the conclusion of this year’s Idols West Africa with presentation of a Dana Picanto car to the star prize-winner and student, Mr. Timi Dakolo.

Speaking at the session with the media in Lagos, Director, Operations at M-Net for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Joseph Hundah said that he was excited at the successful end of Idols West Africa, especially on the auditing process that the series was based on.

“Alexander Forbes in Nigeria delivered a stellar service in ensuring that the voting process for Idols was accurate and precise. We thank them for lending their skill and expertise to the series.”

Public Relations and Communications Manager at MultiChoice, Mr. Segun Fayose, informed that now that the Idols is over, Mr. Timi Dakolo would embark on his newest adventure by recording a four track album with BMG Africa International including his first single I Love you.

“Timi is well assured that the affection of his fans is what saw him through to fulfilling a life-long dream,” he said.

Meanwhile, outside the top two contestants, Omawumi and Timi, the only other contestant to ever draw over 20 per of the audience vote was Temitayo.

An exciting on stage performer, Temitayo garnered the most votes after the top 10.

With the end of Idols West Africa now over, all eyes are now on M-Net next reality series on its highly prized Big Brother Africa 2.

DStv audiences will be able to tune in for the series from August 5, this year.

According to Fayose, it would run for 98 days with 12 housemates.

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ICT Africa to host Finance-IT seminar

Leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) content provider, ICT Africa has announced its plan to host Finance and Information Technology Summit (FITS) in Lagos, with theme, “Seamless IT integration in post – Consolidation Era.”

Managing Consultant, ICT Africa, Mr. Don Pedro Aganbi who disclosed this said that the summit has been designed to create an interface between professionals in the nation’s ICT sector and their counterparts in the finance and banking industry.

He also said that apart from the conference aspect of the event, there would be exhibition to enable participants exhibit their offerings to the populace.

He said the choice of the theme was to facilitate opportunity to review progress made in IT integration on post-consolidation and to chart a new course for the future.

“The massive investments in ICT by banks following the successful consolidation of the banking sector indicates the high level of faith in IT products and solutions to improve productivity and boost the bottom line,” he said.

According to him, the post consolidation era has been dogged by such issues as, systems audit and security, network security versus providing faster service, risks associated with online transaction, finding cost effective IT infrastructure to handle the new distributed network systems, power problems and data protection, data warehousing vis-à-vis Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) new guidelines, systems reliability and availability, business continuity planning for IT disaster recovery, e-payment, secure deployment of ATMs and corporate governance among others.

The successful consolidation of the nation’s banking sector followed the 2004, 13–point reform agenda rolled out by the CBN with the prescription of minimum shareholders’ funds of N25 Billion.

This, he said, has led to the creation of 25 banks down from the previous 89, a process that has also precipitated massive investment in IT infrastructure by all the banks meant to improve service delivery and to gain competitive edge.

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ICT Africa to host Finance-IT seminar

Leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) content provider, ICT Africa has announced its plan to host Finance and Information Technology Summit (FITS) in Lagos, with theme, “Seamless IT integration in post – Consolidation Era.”

Managing Consultant, ICT Africa, Mr. Don Pedro Aganbi who disclosed this said that the summit has been designed to create an interface between professionals in the nation’s ICT sector and their counterparts in the finance and banking industry.

He also said that apart from the conference aspect of the event, there would be exhibition to enable participants exhibit their offerings to the populace.

He said the choice of the theme was to facilitate opportunity to review progress made in IT integration on post-consolidation and to chart a new course for the future.

“The massive investments in ICT by banks following the successful consolidation of the banking sector indicates the high level of faith in IT products and solutions to improve productivity and boost the bottom line,” he said.

According to him, the post consolidation era has been dogged by such issues as, systems audit and security, network security versus providing faster service, risks associated with online transaction, finding cost effective IT infrastructure to handle the new distributed network systems, power problems and data protection, data warehousing vis-à-vis Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) new guidelines, systems reliability and availability, business continuity planning for IT disaster recovery, e-payment, secure deployment of ATMs and corporate governance among others.

The successful consolidation of the nation’s banking sector followed the 2004, 13–point reform agenda rolled out by the CBN with the prescription of minimum shareholders’ funds of N25 Billion.

This, he said, has led to the creation of 25 banks down from the previous 89, a process that has also precipitated massive investment in IT infrastructure by all the banks meant to improve service delivery and to gain competitive edge.

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... As HR-Tech conference holds

The management of AlliedSoft Limited in partnership with Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and Intel Corporation, have concluded plans to set the Lagos Civil Centre agog as they host this year’s Human Resource (HR) Technology conference, today.

Tagged the HR Best Practices and Technology, according to the Allied Soft chief executive, Mr. Chuma Ofoche, the conference has become imperative given the growth and emergence of more and more Information Technology (IT) driven companies in the country.

He said that there is need to continuously recognise the importance of proper management of their greatest assets – people through technology solution.

“Human Resources and Human Capital Development will continue to be an increasingly important aspect of business strategy execution,” he said, adding that this conference recognizes the global and local trends in effective workforce management and provides the platform to explore creative ways through which the business of HR management would be supported and enabled by appropriate technology, thus driving organizational productivity to new level of efficiency.

Mr. Ofoche stressed that the conference offers the opportunity for experts in the fields of Human Resources and Technology to come together for the first time in Nigeria, meet and interact with industry experts and get their questions answered.

He noted that the sessions, which have been carefully selected, will discuss various aspects and challenges faced by HR practitioners and demonstrate how technology has stepped up to address these challenges.

“The very seasoned speakers will offer an opportunity for the participants to learn directly from experienced practitioners who are putting some of these principles on workforce management to use in their own organisations today,” he said.

Mr. Ofoche emphasized that the business of HR management has gone beyond routine HR administration like payrolls and benefits administration.

“Companies today compete primarily for and on the basis of talent. This conference redirects focus on how HR managers can support their business by having the capability to do more creative and strategic work in people management,” Mr. Ofoche said.

He pointed out that Allied Soft as the developer of the Exceed HR Management solution, is the foremost HR management solution in Nigeria today.

Allied Soft is also a prominent indigenous technology company certified as Microsoft Gold Partner and also a Hewlett Packard software development partner, he added that the company has deep technical expertise on software development and has been in the forefront of software technology development with many landmark projects in different industry verticals.

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Obim heads HiRest operations @ eastern states

Acclaimed Nigeria’s fastest growing Internet Service Provider, HiRest Africa Limited has announced the appointment of Mrs. Ify Obim as the company’s Regional Director, Eastern Region of Nigeria.

Mrs. Obim is a 1996 graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), with B.Sc second class upper division, and is an exceptional sales and marketing professional with over 10 years industry experience in the sales and marketing of various ICT services and products in the Eastern Nigeria market and Business Sector, according to the Director, Corporate Affairs at HiRest, Mrs. Ufuoma ‘Daro.

“Ify is a multi dimensional sales specialist and was at various times, Head of Consumer sales, Business Head and Branch Manager at Linkserve Port Harcourt respectively,” she said.

Also, Mrs. Obim, she added has attended various sales and marketing courses with Lagos Business School and other professional business training institutions and was prior to joining HiRest, the Best Sales Staff Nationwide at Linkserve Limited.

The corporate director, further said that Mrs. Obim will oversee the West and Central Africa Market for HiRest Africa from the new HiRest Africa office at Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

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‘Advantages of Seven Always-On over Blackberry’

Chief executive, Race Telecommunications International Limited, Mr. Theo Manafa, has declared that his company’s offering brand of push electronic mail (push e-mail) known as Seven Always-On, has lots of advantages over competition, especially the Blackberry.

Speaking to newsmen on the efficacy of the Seven Always-On, Mr. Manafa, said Race Telecom version of push e-mail is already making waves globally.

According to him, Seven Always-On has been deployed by over 120 telecommunications operators worldwide, unlike Blackberry, which limits users.

Mr. Manafa noted that in the nation’s telecommunications market today, Seven Always-On is offered at the cheapest price with a world-class service in push-email solution, insisting that it should be seen as a tool not for a few selected elites as projected by competitors.

According to him, Seven Always-On has over 40 mobile handset compatibility while Blackberry has only two, stressing that customers are free to bring their own handsets as long as its listed among the compatible phones on the company’s list.

He added that the list of compatible phones came from seven brands, hence its Seven Always-On mail enterprise edition, enables users to keep in touch presently.

Mr. Manafa disclosed that Seven Always On comes in two editions, the enterprise and personal editions respectively.

As said by him, as a global leader in push email solution, Seven’s patented software is available across enhanced second generation (2.5) and Third Generation (3G) networks around the world.

Seven Always-On, he said, is currently offered worldwide in 64 countries by 120 leading mobile operators and Internet email service providers, including Cingular Wireless, Globe Telecom, Hutchison, KDDI Corporation, NTT DoCoMo, O2, Optus, Orange, SingTel, Sprint Nextel and Yahoo to name a few.

Seven Always-On also partners with the top device manufacturers including Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Siemens.

“Seven Always-On is offered worldwide as either complementary or direct competitor to Blackberry,” he asserted.

Making a brief comparism of the current offerings in the Nigerian market, he said that on monthly basis, subscribers of MTN Blackberry spend an average of N6,000 while their email servers is routed through Exchange, Lotus Domino, IBM, Novell Group Wise with 10 email accounts and runs only on Blackberry 63,000 and 65,000 series in addition to free Global Packet Racket Services (GPRS) but limited and software is installed on exchange, information will be sent to Blackberry and it will take five days for the telco to finish configuration with the license which is then sent back and takes few hours to set up on the exchange.

For the Glo version, which cost between N8,000 and N10,000 monthly, he said, that they use the same email servers with multiple email account while available on Blackberry 80,000 and 100,000 mobile devices, just as the software is installed on exchange on separate enterprise server provided for customers.

And as for Seven Always-On, Mr. Manafa said that it cost N3,500 monthly whereas it hings on Exchange and Lotus Domino with multiple email accounts available with over 200 makes and models of mobile phones devices for customers without limitation to free GPRS traffic.

He explained that license could be generated in a day, installation takes about one to two hours with dedicated machine is required for push connector installation.

“Seven Always-On means that key people must be able to participate in the flow of information in real time wherever they are,” he declared.

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