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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tariff hike: ALTON, NATCOMS on collision course


A collision is imminent for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector as interest groups, ALTON and NATCOMS differ on plans to increase tariff, reports REMMY NWEKE.

Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), may be heading for a collision course with an Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-based advocacy group, the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS).

The two, last week disagreed on the speculation that ALTON may bend the hands of the regulator to increase tariffs of services due to persistent government interference on infrastructure at the states and local government levels through what ALTON described as multiple taxation and indiscriminate levies on its members, as well as for unfriendly communities to the operators.

On the other hand, NATCOMS cautioned operators over the proposed tariff hike.
ITRealms Online recalls that penultimate week, Lagos State government while warning corporate organizations and mostly telecom companies against the habit of erecting base stations, towers, masts and parabolic antennae without observing the laws of the state, with the emergence of a special unit to oversee the installations.

According to the Head, Information of the new Urban Furniture Regulatory Unit (UFRU), a section of the Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA), Mrs. Rahmat Alabi, this warning came in the wake of the attention of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, that certain corporate entities, particularly telecommunications companies were erecting base stations, towers, masts parabolic antennae without regard to the Physical Planning Laws and Regulations of the state.

So, the governor issued an executive order No. EO/020 of 2008, creating a new administrative structure, UFRU, under direct supervision of LASIMRA, to address the irregularities in the erection of masts across the state.

Speaking a fortnight ago at a press meeting in Lagos, telecommunications operators in the country, condemned the imposition of what it described as “unsubstantiated levies and charges” by government agencies both at the states and local levels.
The umbrella body of operators, ALTON, said that its office has been saturated with field reports from member companies on this basis.

Chairman, ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, told newsmen penultimate Friday in Lagos, while enumerating their concerns to include the closure of some cell sites by government departments due to this ‘imposition.’ Noting that on a daily basis, network operators were being hounded, threatened and eventually extorted to part with huge sums of money or forced to abandon service roll out projects due to incessant extortion by undisclosed agents of ministries and parastatals.

These actions, he said, “Amounts to multiple taxations and in some cases have criminal undertones, which negatively impacts on the operational cost of the service providers and ultimately the overall quality of services. Our members have recorded increasing incidence of closure of Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) sites and other telecommunications infrastructure by these ministries, departments and authorities on the frivolous excuses of non-payment of the said arbitrarily imposed fines and levies.”

He emphasized that the capacity of the service providers to carry out requisite operations and maintenance activities on the affected infrastructure is often stalled with grave consequences on quality of service and network performance of telecom service providers.

As a result, Adebayo said that the security of workers of member companies are now at great danger due to the aforementioned, stressing that in the bid of these agencies of government to enforce the alleged levies and rates collections, they have purportedly resorted to acts equal to sheer brutality and threats to the lives of the staff of operating companies.

Highlighting that community hostilities and vandalism, have been another source of worry to ALTON, “Because telecommunications operators have lately become easy target for organized illegal extortion in some host communities by series of so called ‘community youths and local associations.”

Equally, he suspected that these groups are being sponsored and motivated by some community leaders, thus encouraging the supposed youths to daily take up arms against telecommunications operators, therefore, “resorting to blackmail, threats and in several instances, manifest act of brigandage and plundering of facilities at telecommunications installations, where the concerned operator fails to yield to their financial and other material demands.”

Pointing out that indiscriminate charges and incessant closure of telecommunication installations essentially exacerbate the cost of providing telecommunications services, thereby distorting operators roll out and service expansion goals to the detriment of efficient and qualitative service delivery to the subscribers.

ALTON, further said, it has resolved that member-companies may not henceforth guarantee the payment of these levies, arguing that tariff for telecommunications services shall hence be increased to, and maintained at the maximum tariff allowed under the relevant approvals of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in any State of the Federation where the aforementioned activities remain uncurbed from Thursday, November 14, 2008.

According to ALTON, such a tariff would remain in effect until such activities are controlled and totally eradicated, maintaining that subscribers within the affected States, during this period of increase, shall not benefit from any service rate discount or bonus applied in other areas of the country.

ALTON insisted that its members’ stance was predicated on the need to ensure that there is ample justification for applicable service charges, which would be structured to consider service provision cost in peculiar localities, and to ensure that subscribers in law abiding and cooperative areas within the country are not made to suffer from the impact of increased cost of service provision foisted on network service providers in other less friendly and supportive States of the country.

But reacting to the above proposal, NATCOMS in a communiqué after an emergency meeting in Lagos, noted with dismay the threat by ALTON to increase tariffs and other telecommunications charges.

“The above threat is not only vexatious, annoying and condemnable, it is callous and totally out-of-order in a country that believes in the rule-of-law,” NATCOMS national president, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo said.

He noted that on Friday, May 4, 2007, ALTON had made a similar threat which was resisted by his group and its members nationwide, stressing that this year, ALTON has resuscitated the campaign once more, over as direct sanctions to offending communities if the practice by some State governments, local governments and agencies, do not desist from imposing indiscriminate levies on their operations within their localities.

NATCOMS advised ALTON to drag any state that is not ‘friendly’ with their operations to court, especially at this era of rule of law under President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

“If ALTON feels aggrieved about multiple taxations by various tiers of government and agencies, they should take the particular government arm to court to seek redress. Once judgment is delivered in ALTON’s favour, and such an arm of government is duly served, the judgment execution and compliance will not be a problem, now that the whole nation is singing ‘rule of law’,” the group declared.

Further, NATCOMS cautioned that once any challenge is being faced by ALTON member operating companies, they found their solace on hiking charges for subscribers.

Cautioning that if ALTON believes that anytime any of its member companies is aggrieved that they could always pounce on telecom consumers for tariff increase, because they are weak and will take anything the operators so wish and desire, “they had better think twice as NATCOMS will challenge and resist any and every move by ALTON to increase tariffs/charges.”

The group alleged that ALTON is presently being used to create oligopoly in the nation’s telecom industry, which contradicts the law of healthy competition.
“ALTON is also being used only to consider tariffs increase on consumers. It becomes noteworthy to state that NATCOMS is prepared to go the full length,” the group warned.

The onus is now on the regulator, NCC to fashion a way out of the woods by way of instituting a consultative forum so as to foster the harmonious relationship that has paved the way for cordial environment in the ICT sector in recent times.

After all, when the two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers, which in this case are those who now depend on petty ICT services for daily bread such as recharge card hawkers and sellers.


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Experts agitate for NigComSAT 2, 3

In response to the recent revelation that the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat-1) is irreparable, experts in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector are agitating for the commencement of actions towards the launch of the NigComSAT 2 and 3 within the best possible time.

ITRealms Online recollects that NigComSat-1 service experienced impromptu disruption on November 10, 2008 and the government said it was merely parked for repairs as its battery could not recharge.

Some of those who commented on the issue include the Senior Engineering Manager at Philips Place, Lagos, Mr. Patrick Edeh, telecom analyst, Mr. Shola Taylor, chief executive officer (CEO) of Emperion West Africa, Sansdeep Jayaswal and a Lagos-based technology analyst and promoter of rural telephony in eastern Nigeria, Mr. Pius Ikedife.

For Mr. Edeh, government must not waste time in launching these satellites, because, as a country, Nigeria has made powerful statements with the launch of NigComSat-1 as the first black country to have a footprint in space.

“Despite the negative criticisms from a lot of western interests and their cohorts here in Africa, but the fact that NigComSat-1 changed the entire market thinking about bandwidth pricing before its technical problems proved that this is a road we must take,” he said.

Telecommunications analysts, Mr. Shola Taylor said that Nigeria must see this hiccup of NigComSAT-1 as a challenge that is surmountable.

“We must see this as a challenge. The satellite industry is a high risk sector but it offers immense benefits for any nation that veers into it. The manpower skill acquisition and infrastructure and possibility of socio-economic improvements are tremendous,” he said.

According to him, every serious country wants to have a stake in the satellite industry and Nigerian government deserves commendation for getting into it.

On his part, Mr. Ikedife noted that there is a lot of misconceptions out there about the satellite industry which tend to portray Nigeria’s entry as a disastrous one.

“More than 30 satellites have developed different levels of serious errors in the last 24 months built by the best hands in Europe and United States (US). But people don’t make fuss over this. You simply track down the problems, make amends and move on with newer investment that is ultimately justifiable,” he said.

Ikedife also said that the lesson in this current challenge for Nigeria is that it must remain up there in orbits with not one satellite but several.

“If we must sustain the radical changes we have initiated in the African satellite space,” he said.

For Mr. Jayaswal of Emperion, this incident is unfortunate, expressing the hope that it would be successfully addressed with more of Nigerian communication satellites in space very soon.

“With NigComSat-1, we at Emperion were able to leverage on the lower cost of high quality service to have competitive advantage over others,” he said.

Additionally, he said NigComSat-1 offered a rare window of bringing premium services to the market that foreign satellite companies could not have offered.


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Optimising your Google mail account (1)

Settling in with Google Mail otherwise known as Gmail could be something worth the while.

Gmail prides itself as a new kind of webmail, built on the idea that electronic mail (email) could be more intuitive, efficient, and useful. And maybe even fun. After all, Gmail has new colours and themes, option to choose from over 30 ways to personalize the look and feel of your inbox. Learn more with less spam by way of keeping unwanted messages out of your inbox with Google’s innovative technology.

Gmail also promises lots of space over 7266.378073 megabytes of free storage so that you’ll never need to delete another message, which it tagged a Google approach to email.

First, you may want to take a minute to familiarize yourself with the navigation links like the compose mail, inbox, starred, chats, sent mail, draft among others.

Compose Mail: opens a new message. If you’re feeling shaky, you can read more to brush up on sending messages.

Inbox shows your conversations; the number in parentheses indicates how many unread conversations you have.

While the Starred shows you only messages you’ve marked with a star, that is using stars to mean whatever you’d such as follow up and for any other reason.

Equally, Gmail Chats lists affords user to archive Chat conversations.

Sent Mail shows messages you’ve sent, even as Drafts houses messages you’ve started and saved to work on later.


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APC announces new InfraStruXure

Newly unveiled APC InfraStruXure has been described as enabling comprehensive data management for data managers on the continent.


According to the Regional Manager for Africa at APC by Schneider Electric, a global leader in integrated critical power and cooling services, Mr. Carl Kleynhans, who announced a new version of APC InfraStruXure central, capacity manager and change manager, the next evolution of its data centre physical infrastructure management suite of applications.

He also said that the suite consists of design, operations and monitoring capabilities providing comprehensive management of the data centre physical infrastructure.

“Data centre physical infrastructure management solutions manage power, cooling, physical space and security in dynamic data centre environments,” he said.

He pointed out that for the first time, APC’s InfraStruXure central supports multi-vendor physical infrastructure equipment including a formal validation program to actively develop and publish support for non-APC equipment.

Detailed information of all physical infrastructure devices, he said, could be consolidated in monitoring application enabling quick assessment and intelligent decision-making on issues threatening IT system availability.

APC’s change manager application provides inventory management and workflow tools to enable data centre operators to map the Information Technology (IT) and physical infrastructure equipment that is located within the data centre.

“When combined with capacity manager, these applications provide data centre operators the ability to perform predictive simulation and modeling of the physical infrastructure – evaluating “what-if” scenarios before they occur,” he said.

Maximising data centre energy efficiency while providing high availability requires measuring and monitoring the physical infrastructure to as granular a level as possible, Kleynhans noted that APC’s data centre management suite utilizes real-time data and a common database, “which means that data centre decisions can be made based on facts and not merely based on nameplate data typically used by stand-alone inventory management tools.”

On growing trends toward higher power densities, driven by technology such as virtualisation, demand, he said form the need for data centre operators to seamlessly move between monitor, design and operate activities.

“APC’s new data centre management suite provides all of this functionality from a “single console” guaranteeing operators are working from the most current data,” he said.

Stressing that APC clients have a significant need to monitor and measure power usage within their data centres.

“Power and cooling is the number one issue for data centre managers today as they face huge challenges in predicting the impact from the ever growing number of installed systems in their new and aging data centres,” he said.


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Galaxy to host 2nd infrastructure forum

Galaxy Backbone Plc (GBP) in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) has concluded plans to host the 2nd Public Sector Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Forum in Abuja, the federal capital territory.

ITRealms Online recalls that Galaxy in July this year, hosted the 1st Public Sector ICT Infrastructure Forum with the objective to initiate a strategic and cohesive approach to the acquisition and deployment of a secure, pervasive and integrated ICT infrastructure platform within the government as well as drive digital inclusion of underserved communities for the socio-economic development of the country.

According to the Chief, Business Operations at Galaxy Backbone Plc, Mr. Yusuf Kazaure, this forum is targeted at directors overseeing ICT functions and other related cadre in the Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and has been scheduled to hold on December 2, Tuesday, 2008 at the Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja.

He also said that the forum is designed as a one-day interactive workshop to focus on the 1-GOV.net services platform, which is in line with government’s resolve to adopt a more efficient and transparent approach to the acquisition and deployment of ICTs by MDAs.

“This is also the second in the series of our stakeholders’ programmes put in place to create the required awareness of the objective of the government from which the company derives its mission as well as an engagement model designed to meet the requirements of the MDAs,” he said.

Kazaure stressed that Galaxy Backbone is currently engaged in the process of rolling-out a shared ICT infrastructure platform known as ‘1-GOV.net’ consisting a national Internet Protocol (IP) Backbone and Internet Data Center infrastructure through which it offers connectivity, data centre and other ICT infrastructure services for government MDAs.

“Galaxy also develops solutions that help MDAs and other customers to better utilize its shared infrastructure and realize the benefits of ICTs,” he said.

The forum coming at this time provides Galaxy Backbone with the opportunity to properly sensitize the participants on the benefits of the 1-GOV.net services platform and its implications for the 2009 budget.

“It is also an avenue for addressing the expectations of this segment of the company’s stakeholders especially with the commencement of the roll-out of 1-GOV.net services,” he said.

A press statement from Galaxy signed by Head, Corporate Strategy and Planning, Mr. Frank Ugbodaga, informed that the keynote address would be presented by the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office in the OSGF, Dr. (Amb.) Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, with the theme; “The Impact of Galaxy’s 1-GOV.net and how it affects the 2009 budget: The need for a paradigm shift”.

He also said that this would definitely reinforce Government’s commitment to this initiative and strongly support the attainment of the anticipated benefits as encapsulated in the 7-Point Agenda and the objectives of Vision 20 2020 of this administration.



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Ekeh, Usoro bag NITTA awards

Chairman, Zinox Computers, Chief Leo-Stan Ekeh and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, alongside a notable telecoms lawyer, Mr. Paul Usoro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), have bagged the Nigeria Information Technology (IT) and Telecom Awards (NITTA).

This, according to the award organizers, the IT and Telecom Digest magazine, was in recognition of their contributions to the development and progress of the nation’s ICT sector.

While Dr. Ndukwe was named the Pan-African Telecom Regulator of All Time, Mr. Paul Usoro was named the Pan-African Telecoms Lawyer of All Times, whereas Chief Lababidi of Starcomms earned the Lifetime Award for Foresight Investment in Telecom, and Chief Ekeh was named Best Pan-African Computer Personality of All Time.

Former Head of State, Dr. Yakubu Gowon who made the presentation of the award to Ndukwe, noted that if telecom regulators from other countries continue to flock to the NCC to learn few tricks, it is only because the organisation has the right mind as its leader.

“Someone who has found it worthwhile to make Nigeria and its goodness the centre of his being; therefore, in recognition of his sterling qualities and uncompromised disposition to consumerism, the Board of NITTA today honours Chukwuka Anene Ernest Ndukwe with Best Pan-African Regulator of All Time Award,” part of the citation read.

For Lababidi it was for his investments in other sectors of the economy notwithstanding, the man attributed with an eye for the future, knew telecom was the place to be in the years ahead and he took the plunge.

Chief Ekeh, according to the organizers represents the face of the Nigerian brand and that right from the early 1990s, when he moved the magic box called computer around offices and institutions of learning around Nigeria, demonstrating to workers and students the ubiquity of the boxed device.

“This lofty idea soon materialized when he found worthy partners from France and South Africa and the result is one of the leading brands in the world of computers – Zinox Computers manufactured by Zinox Technologies. In Nigeria today, Zinox has achieved the highest penetration of the country and its sub-regional neighbours.

Civil Servants, lecturers, students in both secondary schools and tertiary institutions and corporate Nigeria can attest to the life changing initiatives of Zinox through its Computerise Nigeria project,” the citation read.

For Paul Usoro, his, was a reward for determination to make a difference, even among fellow lawyers as a regular name in drafting policies and legislations that will shape the future of Nigerian telecommunications and its regulation.


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ExpertEdge organises anti-fraud seminar

Software subsidiary of the Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), the ExpertEdge Software Ltd, would on December 2, 2008, host stakeholders to an anti- fraud solutions seminar in financial institutions.

This, according to the Marketing Communications Manager at CWG, Ms Morenike Popoola, the one-day seminar is being organised in conjunction with world leaders Actimize, ISEC and RVR.

She said that the seminar with the theme “Fighting fraud with technology: Solutions to Nigerian banks,” would hold at the Civic Centre in Lagos.

She noted that I-SEC Technologies, formally ICTS Technologies B.V, is a fully owned subsidiary of ICTS International N.V.; a world leader in aviation security for over two decades, which has pioneered the development of innovative security concepts and systems.

I-SEC Technologies, she also said, specializes in the development and implementation of unique, state-of-the-art technological solutions for the homeland security market, designed to meet financial market needs as well; current and anticipated threats to the transportation industry - aviation, mass transit; and among other also banks all by providing a front-end automated document reading and forgery detection capabilities for identity and personal cheques, as well as a sophisticated electronic identity (e-ID) documentation management system; all to provide innovative security solutions for different sectors where large numbers of individuals gather and also by providing technology means for enhancing security and comprising an effective using different tools for banks, hotels, car rental services among others.

She explained that the integrative FDI client-server system developed by the company was build based on a broad technological expertise, significant capabilities, and extensive know-how and international operational experience of its parent company, accumulated during more than two decades.

“I-SEC Technologies’ innovative FDI product has proven its effectiveness in the USA, Europe, South America and Africa, fully complying with local and international regulator requirements,” she said.

Emphasizing that mitigating transactional risk across enterprise silos, Actimize is a leading provider of software solutions for anti-money laundering, brokerage compliance and fraud prevention.

Built on a patented, scalable and extensible analytics platform, Actimize solutions enable financial institutions to increase their insight into real-time customer behavior and improve risk and compliance performance. Six of the top 10 global banks and eight of the top 10 U.S. brokerages use Actimize solutions to process hundreds of millions of transactions a day.


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Goodluck succeeds Oyagbola

Mr. Akinwale Goodluck has been appointed Corporate Services Executive for MTN Nigeria, with effect from November 1, 2008, thereby succeeding Mrs. Amina Oyagbola, who has been redeployed to Human Resources.

Sources at MTN Nigeria, informed that as the Corporate Services Executive, Akinwale would have oversight for Regulatory/Government Relations, Commercial/Legal, Company Secretariat, Corporate Communications and the Corporate Social Responsibility function.

Since joining MTN in December 2001 as Commercial Legal Advisor, Goodluck has held positions of increasing responsibilities culminating in his latest appointment.

Until his new appointment, he was General Manager, Regulatory Affairs, with primary responsibility for regulatory compliance, license obligations, regulatory risk management, government relations, legislative monitoring, industry relations and business support.

Prior to this, he was General Manager, Commercial Legal with responsibility for the management of contractual obligations of MTN, litigation management and dispute resolution as well as oversight of all commercial transactions as General Counsel.

Before joining MTN, Goodluck had worked at Nigeria’s pioneer investment bank, NAL Merchant Bank where he acquired considerable expertise in legal advisory services, corporate finance and financial services.

He, thereafter, joined the services of The Law Union, a firm of barristers and solicitors, with primary responsibility for the Corporate and Commercial Law Group of the firm. He is an acknowledged resource on issues pertaining to the legal and regulatory framework of the oil and gas, telecommunications and banking & financial services sectors.

Affirming this, MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ahmad Farroukh, said “Akinwale has shown commendable drive; imagination and a positive attitude that has seen him deploy his immense skill not only towards the goals of MTN Nigeria, but also to the goals of the larger telecommunications industry. It is a reflection of his managerial acumen and wide acceptance by his peers that he serves as Vice Chairman of the telecommunications industry group, the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria.”

In addition, Farroukh said he is very confident that Goodluck will discharge his duties as corporate services executive, just as meritoriously as he has done for every other assignment with which he has been saddled with in MTN.

Goodluck attended Kings College Lagos and thereafter obtained a bachelor’s degree in Law from the Lagos State University.

He graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 1990. He has attended several courses in telecommunications and corporate finance among others as well as the Executive Development Program of the Chicago School of Business.

A regular and much sought after speaker at local and international conferences, Akinwale is married with three adorable daughters.


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3 winners emerge in Fantastic bonanza

... As Visafone presents prize

Three more winners have emerged at the on-going Visafone Fantastic Bonanza 12 cars in 12 weeks promo at yet another draw held in Lagos.

The winners including two women and a man were picked at the second raffle draw in the series, namely, Tawa Longe, Sikiru Sule Ayo and Bukola Thomas.

This brings to five the number of winners in the current promo, which is billed to end on January 4, 2009.

Sikiru Sule Ayo, a meat seller at Yaba market was the cynosure of all eyes as a team of Visafone management and staff drove to the market to present him with his prize; a brand new Kia Rio saloon car.

Head, Corporate Communications at Visafone, Mr. Toni Kan Onwudi, said that to win in the promo, all a subscriber needs to do is to buy and activate a Visafone handset and then ensure its recharge with at least N400 weekly to qualify for the weekly draws.

“For old subscribers all you need do is recharge with at least N400 weekly,” he said.
Visafone, which has consummate banker and ICT philanthropist Jim Ovia as founder, commenced commercial operations on February 22, 2008 and crossed the 1 million subscriber mark in an unprecedented 6 months and 4 days. The company was also voted Best Telecom Brand of the Year 2008 in a Telecom News/Phillip Consulting survey.

ITRealms Online notes that two lucky subscribers of Visafone Limited, operators of the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), emerged as owners of the branded 2008 Kia Rio cars in its first and second batch of raffle draws in the on-going fantastic bonanza offering 12 cars in 12 weeks, reports.

The subscribers who emerged at raffle draws held in Lagos included Mr. Kolawole Sampson of 7up Bottling Company Ibadan and Mr. Francis Ike, a resident of Gwagwalada, Abuja.


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Regulator warns on bogus xmas promo

Industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has cautioned telecommunications operators in the country against introducing bogus promos as the Christmas season approaches.

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, who gave this warning in Lagos, recently, said that operators must be guide against making bogus promises to the consumers during the festive seasons, as sanctions awaits any erring service providers to this effect.

Ndukwe who delivered a lecture on Nigeria’s leadership and Vision 20 20-20, noted that Consumer Affairs bureau of the Commission has been mandated to make an assessment of the incentives coming from various operators by way of promotions and other consumer focused offers to ensure that they are delivered in the best interest of the subscribers without compromising the quality of services being delivered.

He also said operators are aware of the key performance indicators issued by the commission which they are expected to take into consideration in providing services and incentives.

Counseling consumers to be very wary of their choices for telecommunications services as there are many operators in the market to choose from, Ndukwe who dwelt on “Nigeria’s Vision 20 20-20: Imperatives of ICT Knowledge-Driven Economy” said that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) drives the global economy and is also key to foreign investments as a country with the requisite ICT would attract the best of investments.

“The fact that we now have some global operators like Visa Card, MasterCard and similar online banking services is as a result of the improved ICT environment in Nigeria,” he said.

Ndukwe further indicated that with these facilities, online booking of flights and other services in the country has become a reality, while doctors could engage in medical diagnosis and treatments over long distances.

Ndukwe said the revolution and possibilities existing in Nigeria today could be traced to the environment, and not just mere campaign because no amount of campaign around the world would have brought these services without the infrastructure on ground.

“We have these services because we have available ICT base upon which these services can thrive”, he said.

He noted that the nation is encouraged by government’s determination to ensure that Nigeria becomes one of the 20th economies in the year 2020 and that ICT in Nigeria is already directed towards the realization of these national objectives.

Ndukwe pointed out that with the regulatory emphasis tilting towards the provision of broadband infrastructure, the needs for ICT for accelerated social and economic growth towards the vision of the government would be achieved.

He predicted that given the current growth rate, Nigeria’s teledensity by 20-20 would be more than 100 per cent., stressing that power supply is critical to this vision, hence, the concerted efforts by the government to address these issues.

Equally speaking, President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, said there is need for the entire citizenry to embrace ICT as the nation moves ahead anybody without relevant knowledge in today’s world would soon be left behind.

Former Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Chief Arthur Mbanefo, requested government, especially the Ministry of Education to be proactive by finding a way to include ICT in the educations curricular to ensure that Nigeria and its future generation is attuned to the imperatives of ICT driven economy.

For the former nation’s envoy to Ethiopia, Ambassador Segun Olusola, commended the NCC for managing a very stable relationship with the broadcast sector, which he said has also resulted in many remarkable achievements in the sector.

The event organized by Leadership Watch, an non-governmental organization (NGO) and telecom rights advocacy group led by Rev. Dr. Martins Iwuanyanwu, saw MultiLinks and Zain emerging winners for customer focused services for the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) categories respectively.


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Glo clinches five awards @ 08’NITTA

The Second National Operator (SNO) has clinched five prizes at the just concluded Nigeria Information Technology and Telecom Awards 2008, with its chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr, bagging the Pan African Investor of the year.

Also, Glo’s Group Chief Operating Officer (GCOO), Mr. Mohamed Jameel, was named the Telecom CEO of the Year.

Globacom, equally emerged as the Rural Access Phone Service Provider of the Year, the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) Operator of the Year and the National Telephone Operator of the Year; making Globacom the highest award winner at the event with five awards.

While applauding Dr. Adenuga as the Pan African Telecom Investor of the Year, NITTA organizers said that the businessman had made Globacom the first single telecoms firm in the region to test the 3G network, lay an under sea cable across West Africa to Europe and launch the first nationwide optic fibre transmission network.

On behalf of Globacom, Dr. Adenuga also signed a contract to install West Africa’s first wireless network based on Universal Mobile Telecommunication Service/High Speed Packet Access (UMTS/HSPA) technology. “This project will provide one million subscribers with state of the arts mobile broadband services,” NITTA said.

The organizers further noted that Dr. Adenuga, recently took Glo to Ghana and the Republic of Benin, thereby setting the tempo of competition in the region, which is anticipated to automatically increase the quality of service along international standard. “The region is definitely about to experience true integration envisaged by the founding fathers of ECOWAS,” part of the citation on Glo read.

In the Glo’s citation as the GSM Operator of the Year, the organisers of the award said that Glo Mobile has been at the forefront of revolutionary changes in the GSM sector in Nigeria, offering both prepaid and contract services along with a range of Value Added Services.

“Despite losing a two-year head start to competition, Glo Mobile has in five years of operation become the fastest growing GSM network in Africa, Asia and the Middle East and the third fastest growing network in the world achieving more than 19 million subscribers. Within this period, the network has earned the reputation of providing a better coverage than competition put together wherever it is present,” the citation further read.

The citation also noted Glo Mobile’s roaming partnership agreement with over 60 telecoms operators worldwide, whereby subscribers can travel abroad and still have their mails pushed to their Blackberry devices while on the move. “This is another unrivalled edge,” it stated.

As Rural Access Phone Service Provider of the Year Globacom was commended for “deploying services into the rural underserved areas of the country.”

The panel of judges for the NITTA award, made up of eminent Nigerians from the telecoms industry, law, print and broadcast media, led by Dr. Tom Adaba, acknowledged that Globacom is a one-stop telecommunications solutions provider and the ultimate National Operator.


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Zain, British Council partner on youths empowerment

Zain Nigeria and the British Council yesterday, Tuesday begun a nationwide management training sessions in several cities to shape up the skills of young Nigerians aspiring to managerial positions and youthful entrepreneurs in order to afford the chances of running their businesses better.

Public Relations Manager, Zain Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Otokhine, said the training programme which is under the banner of the Zain’s sponsored Management Express series would provide young professionals and those with flair for private entrepreneurship, the opportunity to develop their management and leadership talents.

A press statement made available to ITRealms Online and endorsed by Otokhine, said this month’s training is centered on developing effective strategies for customer retention, customer acquisition and managing an excellent relationship with firms’ stakeholders.

He quoted the Chief Marketing Officer, Zain Nigeria, Mr. Norman Moyo, as saying that the theme of the programme is ‘Strategies for Customer Retention and Innovative Public Relation: Capturing the Consumer’s Attention.’

According to Moyo, the venues have been carefully chosen in Lagos, Abuja, and Kano, for the training to give more Nigerians the opportunity to acquire relevant competencies in business excellence.

The training, he said, would be facilitated by an internationally reputable Public Relations Specialist Ms Ruth Herman, to be supported by a host of other equally notable speakers.

He outlined that the event has been schedule for to hold on Tuesday, November 25, 2008, at the British Council Office, Ikoyi, Lagos; on Wednesday, November 26, 2008, at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Centre, Onikan, Lagos and on Thursday, November 27, 2008, at Old Rockview Hotel, Abuja. The Kano leg of the training will hold on Saturday, November 29, 2008 at the Royal Tropicana Hotel, Kano.

Moyo explained that this edition of Management Express would provide a top of the line learning experience for young Nigerians who are eager to create a big career path in the business fields of customer service, public relations and marketing, stressing that Zain would always go the extra mile to make the dreams of Nigerian youths come true.

He also explained that the programme would feature a series of lectures or professional workshops and a mentorship component, adding that the training is open to those who are just starting their professional career and those who are in middle level management and want to become better managers and leaders.


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Monday, November 24, 2008

Nokia launches latest NSeries in Africa

REMMY NWEKE,
just back from South Africa

Global leader in driving transformation and growth of the converging Internet and communications industries through mobile handsets, Nokia, has launched three of its latest NSeries in the bid to take mobiles to the next level on the continent.

The latest mobile phones in the family of NSeries include N79, N85 and N96, made debut at the launch last weekend.

Speaking at the unveiling which took place in Cape Town, South Africa, the Vice President for Sales at Nokia in charge of Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Loren Shuster, told ITRealms Online in an interview that its remarkable how technology has involved and transformed today’s world.

Tagged the “Nokia’s Roof Top Fusion,” he noted that the latest launch of NSeries devices followed on the track success of the Nokia N96 globally.

He pointed out that with a strong lineup of multimedia features, the new devices are taking the world of mobile convergence to the next level.

“Gaming, photos, navigation and music blend together with the newest Ovi and third party services to make discovery and sharing experiences quick and seamless,” he said.

These latest offerings, Shuster said, were made out of cutting-edge technology into compact, user-friendly designs; a characteristic of the iconic NSeries range, that allows people to discover, create and share their passions with others.

“Converged mobility is at the heart of every device we produce, and these three devices are shining examples of how far we have come in achieving this,” he said.

Pointing out that the new devices from Nokia, showcased their online services platform, OVI, meaning ‘door’ in Finnish and symbolizing a door to an on-line world.

“Ovi.com encompasses Share on Ovi, a one-stop storage place for photographs and other media, games on Ovi, Maps on Ovi and Mail on Ovi, a secure and spam-free personal email service was designed for Nokia Series of 40 devices.

In addition, he explained that the site functionality includes personal information management (PIM) sync as well as Nokia Ovi Suite for Personal Computer (PC) and Files on Ovi remote-access service.

The different elements of Ovi, he explained, help users to manage their personal information and media in various ways through a simple and unified interface.

For instance, describing the Nokia N85 as “engaging and interactive,” Shuster said, that along with an eye-catching 2.6” Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) screen and smooth, sleek finish, in addition to having, at least, 10 made-for-mobile N-Gage gaming titles.

“Enhancing the gaming experience, the device design includes dedicated gaming keys that light up when the device is in landscape gaming mode. While all on-board games can be sampled, the device comes with a voucher to activate the full license of the user’s choice game,” he said.

Stressing that by boasting of an in-built FM transmitter, 5 mega pixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and geo-tagging capabilities, the Nokia N85 comes out of the box with a multitude of powerful functionality.

On Nokia N79, which he described as Xpress-On style, Shuster enlightened that it’s perfect for the style conscious as it comes with Xpress-On smart covers available in five popular colours.

“The device represents true convergence of photos, music and navigation, and with hi-speed 3.5G HSDPA and Wi-Fi, it is quick and easy to share experiences on websites, blogs or online communities,” he said.

The Nokia N79, Shuster who was accompanied by the Design Manager, Nokia Design, Mr. Jonne Harju and Head, Go to Market NSeries, Sales for Middle East and Africa, said that comes packaged with a 4 Giga Bytes (GB) of microSD memory card that makes it possible to store around 3000 song files, approximately 2500 pictures and up to four hours of DVD-quality video clips that can be organized by albums or tags and uploaded directly to Share on Ovi or other third party services.

Equally on reiterating Nokia N96 as the mobile entertainment at its best, Shuster said that the handset is the flagship multimedia computer in the iconic Nokia NSeries range, and boasts live TV, a 5 mega pixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, turn-by-turn voice navigation and the transformers’ movie preloaded.

“The device also offers 16GB of internal memory that can be increased to 24GB with an optional microSD card, superior sound and music, N-Gage gaming and a stunning 2.8” display. The Nokia N96 is a fitting flagship for our NSeries range. It defines convergence by blending phone and multimedia options seamlessly. Users are able to watch live TV and video, take high quality photos and directly upload them online – it is all about taking mobile entertainment and communication to the next level,” Shuster said.

These devices, he continued, were created to be more than the sum of their parts, offering a complete mobile entertainment package.

Through the Roof Top Fusion event, he explained offers the hope to highlight what consumers could, in fact, hold their world in their hand.

Emphasizing that with Nokia NSeries products, consumers could use a single device to enjoy entertainment, access information and to capture and share pictures and videos on the go at any time.

Nokia says the S60 software built on Symbian as Operating System (OS) is the world’s leading smartphone software, and is licensed by some of the industry’s foremost mobile device manufacturers.

Currently, Nokia said, more than 150 million S60 devices had been shipped by all licensees by January 2008.

The flexibility of the S60 software allows for various hardware designs and software configurations, as evidenced by the multitude of S60 devices already available on the market.

Through its award-winning user interface, extensive support for new mobile services and the innovation potential for partner solutions, the S60 platform provides an open and scalable business opportunity for mobile operators and 3rd party developers.


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Glo-1 cable to boost bandwidth in sub-region

The Second National Operator (SNO) Globacom has planned to leverage on its Glo-1 submarine cable to boost bandwidth deployment in Nigeria and West Africa sub-region, just as arrangements have been advanced for the commissioning of the cable in the next five months.

Globacom’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Mohammed Jameel, who disclosed this, said that the billion-dollar infrastructure, which will connect West Africa to the United Kingdom, will be commissioned for commercial activities in March, 2009.

He also said that the bandwidth requirements of Nigeria and West Africa, for instance, will receive a major boost early next year with the proposed commissioning of the submarine cable.

A press statement made available to ITRealms Online in Lagos last Friday, indicated that the 9500 kilometre (km) state-of-the-art cable will afford Globacom to have a clear distinction in providing quality services through multiple and high quality direct links to various countries across the globe.

“And will enable it to interconnect with several international networks and leading traffic carriers in the world,” Jameel said.

He equally noted that 4,400 kilometres of the undersea cable has already been laid from United Kingdom, through Portugal up to Nouakchott in Mauritania, stressing that cable laying from Nouakchott to Nigeria has started and that the ship-load of cable required to complete the process is already at the high-sea.

Jameel equally said the submarine cable, with a final capacity of 640 Giga bytes, will have landing points in United Kingdom, Portugal , Ghana and Senegal as well as in Lagos and Bonny in Nigeria by February next year.

“Landing points will also be extended among West Africa countries by the fourth quarter of 2009. There will be 18 branching units along the route upon completion of the project,” he said.

Globacom, Jameel noted, embarked on Glo-1 submarine cable project in keeping with its aspirations to avail Africa the possibilities offered by broadband.

“The capacity of Glo-1 will fulfill the present and rapidly increasing high data requirement in the West African region,” Jameel maintained.

Glo-1 is being built by Alcatel submarine networks which is the leading provider of cable infrastructure in the world. It is the first such project embarked by any single organisation in the world.


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Consultation crucial to telecom regulations – Ndukwe

Chief executive officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has said that wide consultations among the key stakeholders in the industry, are critical success factors in the Nigeria’s telecom industry.

Receiving the newly constituted Committee on Communications of the House of Representatives, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office, Ndukwe said, that after such a consultation, the regulator is expected to follow with positive, bold and timely decisions which are critical to the industry where time is of essence.

He also informed the committee members led by its chairman, Hon. Dave Salako that it was such decisive resolution that led to the liberalization and encouragement of new entrants as it is the disease of incumbents everywhere in the world to stand against new entrants, but that the commission was firm in allowing other entrants into the sector for the benefit of the consumer.

Ndukwe said the national telecom policy gave confidence to the private participation in the sector, while one of the key functions of the Commission is to facilitate private sector investment.

He further said one of such decisions was taken in the transition from exclusivity period for four mobile operators, to the unified licensing regime where a single authorization allows operators to deliver multiple services under one license.

He noted that Nigeria is now rated in Africa as number one in terms of number of active connected lines while the Commission is rated as one of the foremost telecom regulatory agency because of some innovative actions and programmes like the telecom consumer parliament, among others resulting in various multilateral agencies recommending Nigeria to some nations as a model regulatory agency to understudy.

Ndukwe also noted that the Commission’s success today, resulted in latest figure of 57 million active subscribers in the country and private sector investment to the tune of about US$12 billion as against US$50 million as at 2000, are also attributable to the support of the executive and legislative arm of government in the course of the commission’s regulatory activities.

Chairman of the House Committee on Communications, Hon. Salako, earlier in his remarks, said that the Committee will focus on how to collaborate with the Commission to further achieve more of its objectives.

He said the Committee is not interested in probing or witch hunting anybody. He commended the Commission for its bold and remarkable achievements.


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More blackouts give rise to protection solution – Carl

The regional director for Africa at APC-Schneider Electric, Mr. Carl Kleynhans, has said that increased blackouts have given rise to the need to protect Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) devices.

Speaking in Lagos, Kleynhans noted that utility companies are constantly faced with the challenges of providing a continuous power supply to consumers and, with the onset of the summer season, there is the risk of electronic equipment downtime due to possible weather related brownouts and blackouts.

“Temperatures rise, and thunderstorm activity intensify during the summer, the threat of power problems combined with increased demand on power grids escalating the potential for power problems,” he said.

He noted that across Africa, the summer months bring about the most rain, storms, lightning and over-voltage. Frequent lightning accompanying summer thunderstorms may cause over-voltage that could damage sensitive electronic devices, and even lead to short-circuits or even fire.

“Lightning is one of the most spectacular and - at the same time - most dangerous natural phenomenon and the location of a lightning strike cannot be determined in advance,” he said, stressing that surges or spikes could happen at any time due to a number of causes including lightning strikes, the in-rush of current following an outage, or even the presence of high-powered electrical motors such as air conditioners or other household appliances.

"These power fluctuations not only can cause permanent damage to expensive and sensitive electronic equipment, they often result in equipment downtime, lost productivity and lost data,” h said.

The increase use of power during the summer months for items such as air conditioners and indoor electronics, along with this constant threat of power surges, spikes and lightning, he said, make it critical to have reliable power protection in the home or business,” he explained.

Pointing out that most people use a reliable surge suppressor or uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to protect their PCs, but many do not understand the need to protect themselves from ‘back-door’ surges, such as those from communication lines and computer peripherals.

He equally recommended APC power protection for PCs and peripherals including printers, telephone/fax lines and cable modems, as well as other sensitive household devices such as televisions, stereo systems, digital video display (DVD) players, and satellite dishes.

He enlightened that power protection begins with combating against surges and spikes, advising that the first consideration should be to keep the hardware itself safe from damage. When purchasing a surge protector the lower the let-through voltage rating, the better users’ equipment would be protected.

“A surge protector should also offer a warranty that not only covers the surge protection device, but the electronic equipment that it is protecting,” he said.


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ICANN tasks Nigeria on Internet governance


Internationally organized, non-profit company, responsible for the global coordination of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers like domain names such as .org, .museum and country codes like .ng, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has tasked Nigeria on ensuring that Africa take its place in the proposed global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to be hosted in Cairo, first quarter of 2009.

Champion Infotel recalls that Nigeria was in May this year at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) forum in Cairo, Egypt elected to chair the continental Conference of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministers under the leadership of Mr. John Odey.

Also, the Government of Egypt offered to host the 2009 IGF meeting.

Speaking exclusively to Champion Infotel on the forthcoming Internet Governance Forum scheduled to hold in Cairo, the African regional manager at ICANN, Ms Anne Rachel Inne, said that it is vital that Nigeria energise African participation at the forum.

According to her, little or no action has been seen since Nigeria took over the mantle of leadership of the African Conference of ICT Ministers and would like to see more action especially in preparation to the Cairo meeting, which Africa is hosting.

It is lamentable that little action is coming from Africa and it would not be an exciting future to realize that the continent did not contribute to the Internationalization of ICANN, which is touted to be top on the Cairo agenda.

She pointed out that on the continent, “our countries are at different levels right now of development the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD),” but her main concern is that most of these ccTLDs are not working the way they are supposed to be working.

“Most of them are managed by entities that either do not have the means, sustainability or simply do not have the human and technical capacity to get them to the point where they need to be,” she decried.

Conference of ICT Ministers in Africa, she said, began as a good omen two years ago with Egypt holding the first chair of the committee to be rotated every two years and Nigeria as the incumbent chairperson, it is relevant to take the bull by the horn to ensure that Africa’s voices are heard not only at the Hyderabad session but also at the 2009 session in Cairo.

“Nigeria as the incumbent chairperson of the Conference of ICT Ministers in Africa is supposed to be organizing preparatory meetings on the Internet Governance Forum which would be held in Africa- Cairo next year,” she charged.

The essence of the preparatory meeting is to help Africa harmonise its views, because, “Different people are thinking different things about IGF and we are ready to give insight into what ICANN is doing,” Inne said.

She expects Africa to be fully on ground with the developments in ICANN and raise salient issues concerning the continent.

“And I want Africa to be part of it all, especially concerning the internationalization of ICANN,” she said.

Stressing that her concerns is on the internationalization of ICANN, “because I want Africa to be part of the processes and I don’t want the region to say later that they were left out or did not know what happened or even that they did it again without African input,” she warned.

Inne advised that by taking charge of the situation Nigeria would make sure that certain issues or process that do not favour Africa are taking out of the way rather than lamenting later: “we didn’t really know what was happening.”

To this effect, she noted that in several other forums, ICANN in the region has been briefing ministers and secretary generals and regulatory agencies as to update them.
Recently, she said, there was a meeting in Senegal with AfriNIC, ISOC, AfriSPA and regulatory authority in Senegal about Internet Governance in general.

In a related development, all is now set for the Hyderabad meeting of ICANN in India, which would take place at the Hyderabad International Conference Center (HICC) and arrangements are in top gear as ICANN anticipates a successful meeting.


The Under-Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Mr. Sha Zukang, assured that it would be a fulfilling one.

A letter of invitation to the third meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, signed by Zukang and made available to Champion Infotel showed that the meeting would be open to all World Summit on the information Society (WSIS) accredited entities, as well as other institutions and persons with proven expertise and experience in matters related to Internet governance.

He pointed out that following broad-based consultations through the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), the proposed agenda for the Third Meeting of the IGF would include the reaching of the next billion Internet users; promoting cyber-security and trust; managing critical Internet resources; taking stock and the way forward; and emerging issues - the Internet of tomorrow.

“The overall theme of the meeting will be ‘internet for all,’" he said.

Zukang also said that this theme complements that of the 2008 World Telecommunications and Information Society Day, which was ‘connecting people with disabilities’.

“The theme underscores the importance of ensuring that we include the world’s 650 million people with disabilities as we move towards giving internet access to the next billion people,” he said.


Zukang equally expressed his gratitude to the Government of India for accepting to host the next meeting of the internet Governance Forum (IGF).

“Our host this year provides us with a practical example of how tremendous economic growth can be achieved through harnessing the tools which the Internet has placed at our disposal. We will see first hand in the host city of Hyderabad, how India’s development through the application of Information and Communication Technology (lCT) has been truly astounding," he said.


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Bank PHB & Temonst24

It was a welcome development that Bank PHB recently repositioned itself by way of deploying Temenost24, a banking application and Oracle Database application to boost its services nationwide.

Chief Executive Officer, Bank PHB Plc, Mr. Francis Atuche, who disclosed this in Lagos, said that the deployment was being executed painstaking to ensure continuous better service to the customers.

According to him, central to this deployment, has been the development of its workforce, who are well trained and groomed in the orientation that the customer is the heart of Bank PHB business.

Atuche also said that the deployment was elucidated by growing network of branches which is now in excess of 180 nationwide.

He recalled that in September 2007, Bank PHB began the search for the kind of technology that would deliver on its mission and vision, culminating in the selection of the best technologies to support its business into the future.

“The appropriate technology fits were Temenost24 banking application from Temenos, a Swiss based company and listed on the SwissStock market and Oracle database running on IBM hardware,” he said.

Mr. Atuche further said that the deployment would offer Bank PHB customers seamless, straight-through processing of as many transactions as possible to ensure that the bank delivers on flexibility and prompt response.

“Our expected transactions processing rate will be unprecedented in sub-Saharan Africa and will remain unmatched for a long time to come,” he declared.

Although the bank commenced deployment on Monday, November 3, this year, with efforts focused on ensuring a seamless and hitch-free transition, which never was, as customers were practically taken aback to the old days for over a week after the deployment began.

Hence, its customers were not able to access their accounts even with the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards.

This, industry observers said that the inability to access customers account from the bank during the supposed transition was uncalled for because if well planned and streamlined, the deployment could still take place without customers feeling it in the first instance.

Therefore, it seems that the bank though on the right lane, did not do its homework well, because since the consolidation of the banking sector, this disruption seems to be the first because one of the banks has to deploy any software to better its service.

Probably, Bank PHB should have done better and manage the situation without necessarily disrupting its services.

The fear now is that if this kind of disrupt could occur at deployment, what happens when there is a breakdown due to system error or corruption.

May be a better homework needed to be done to avert this by understudying the kind of software solution on offer.


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ICT4D: The missing link in 7-point agenda


Features of the week:

Media reports had it that telecom input was missing in the 7-point agenda of President Musa Yar’Adua. REMMY NWEKE reports that the issue of Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) cannot thrive without telecom taking a centre stage in the agenda of this administration.

At the recent Information and Communications Technology (ICT) forum at the Transcorp Hilton in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, a group of three concerned friends were seen during a tea break, at a corner arguing profusely over the current Federal Government’s Seven-point agenda of Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua administration in relation with ICT sector, especially for an all inclusive development.

For the first speaker, Yar’Adua’s administration has failed the education sector because it has not incorporated the ICT-in-education in the agenda as currently presented, himself having served as a lecturer in the university, should have known better the import of ICT in education.

The second speaker was emphatic that the 7-point agenda does not have core ICT infrastructure at heart, yet the government hopes to be among the most 20 advanced economies of the world in the year 2020. And as far as he is concerned, Nigeria is going nowhere without fixing the telecommunications infrastructure, which is reputed as the root of ICT for development (ICT4D).

And for the third speaker, Yar’Adua may mean well, but his ill-health, which has refused to leave the news-stand, may be deterring his good intentions, after all it is a healthy person that can think well enough to incorporate the points his colleagues raised.

He simply urged his colleagues and Nigerians at large to continue to pray for Mr. President, although personally, he is not excited that despite knowing his fate, health-wise, Yar’Adua insisted in accepting to run for the office of the President, even as he was not happy with the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and immediate past president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, for ‘imposing’ a sick president on Nigerians.

He argued further that the slow pace of things as recently pointed out by the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okojie, is really driving most Nigerians crazy and was quick to add that the war against cyber crime, for instance, by the law enforcement agencies, particularly, the Economic and Finance Crimes Commission (EFCC), could not be matched with the kind of efforts by Obasanjo’s administration in the past eight years before Yar’Adua took over power on May 2007.

According to him, the law enforcement agencies are driven by the kind of vitality from the Presidency and it looks as if nobody is talking about the cyber crime bill anymore, which has been left at the National Assembly since the last quarter of the Obasanjo era.

What is ICT4D?
Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D), has been largely defined as a movement aimed at bridging the digital divide, in other words, the disparity between technologically advanced nations and less developing countries as well as between the poor and the rich at this century of technology evolution.

For the civil society advocates, often, ICT are associated with computers and the Internet only but it has a more inclusive description used to focus on information creation and handling via electronic means, thus, ICT consists of radio, television, video, photography and telephone. Thereby, having four key attributes; it must be two way communications, it must be accessible for information at anytime, anywhere, that is, 24 hours by 7 days in a week. Based on the foregoing, distance matters less and brings about cost reduction in terms of tariff.

Therefore, civil society advocates also argued that ICT for development (ICT4D) is about people cultivating the quality of their lives, through education, health, dignity and opportunity, culture and community-based relationship.

“It is about control over the kinds of things that make life meaningful. Putting computers in schools and health care centres is a good first step, but not the ultimate goal of development. A lot more hi-tech is needed to help realize people’s full human potential, especially those who face poverty, exclusion and marginalization.

The ultimate goal of using ICTs for human development is to empower people to actively shape the world around them, enabling solutions that promote economic prosperity with equity, fostering democracy that is socially just and opening new opportunities for the realization of our full human potential,” official of a non-governmental organization, ITDG, said.

Yar’Adua’s 7-points conflict:
The Presidency in a press statement, made available to Champion Infotel on August 1, 2007, stipulated that the Yar’Adua’s seven points agenda revolve around power and energy, food security, wealth creation, transport, land reforms, security and education.

Lately, according to the executive summary also made available to Champion Infotel, the agenda has seven key areas including critical infrastructure, Niger Delta, food security, human capital development, land tenure changes and home ownership, national security and intelligence and wealth creation.

To start with, there seems to be some disparity between the press statement made available to newsmen on August 1, 2007 and the executive summary being distributed as leaflets among government agencies and departments nationwide without core mention of ICT except for the so called critical infrastructure. The difference between the stipulated 7-point and seven key areas as postulated by the government, could simply go for semantics.

However, currently, report has it that work is on-going and detailed plans will be developed for all aspects of the 7-point agenda with key sector leads from the office of the chief economic adviser to the President and the National Planning Commission.

Also, Yar’Adua’s administration assured that the sector leads would continue to work with individuals within the various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) with a promise to include key stakeholders within the business community to implement the various policies.

Critical infrastructure:
On the critical infrastructure which seems to be the only relative ICT infrastructure, the administration also said, infrastructure is key to the government’s 7-point agenda, which includes power, transportation, national gas distribution and telecommunications.

“The developments of these sectors are essential in ensuring Nigeria’s ability to develop as a modern economy and an industrialized nation by 2020,” the executive summary read in part.

Worthy of note is that under the critical infrastructure, power was recognized as a major challenge to ICT4D and was categorized into two, namely the technology related and reform related. On the technology related, the executive summary stated that this points to inadequate electricity production and supply infrastructure, insufficient gas supply, limited investment and funding, inappropriate pricing, poor management, unclear ownership and conflicting goals and objectives.

On the telecommunications component of the critical infrastructure, the summary indicated that the impediments to efficient delivery of high quality service include the inadequacy of infrastructure backbone, dearth of fixed lines, weak or non-existent regulations to deal with anti-competition behaviours, lack of rural telephony coverage and inability to meet universal service obligation, as well as decisive resolution of the ownership and control of SAT-3 that links Nigeria to parts of Africa, Europe and Asia.

Champion Infotel gathered that the federal government’s strategies that will be used to improve telecommunications services in the country, comprising the enactment of anti-trust law, effective regulation, infrastructure upgrade by the national operators, incremental expansion into rural areas, and effective utilization of the Universal Access Fund (UAF).

Telecom, missing link in 7-point agenda:
Speaking, last month, at the annual ICT symposium of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), chief executive of The Executive Cyberschuul (TEC), Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, who dwelt on “The Good and the Bad of Nigeria’s Telecom ‘Revolution,’” noted that based on the administration’s press statement widely published of August 1, 2007, there is no telecom input in the 7-point agenda of Alhaji Yar’Adua.

Any other thing like the so-called critical infrastructure blue print of the government was an after-thought and did not give in-depth view of how the government intends to solve the problem of infrastructure in the nation’s ICT sector.
“It does not contain a telecom component,” he declared, stressing that perhaps if the authors of 7-point agenda had replaced ‘transport sector’ with ‘communications’ it should have made a lot of difference and even sounded real.

He posited that based on the aforesaid 7-point agenda, the business of transforming Nigeria to be part of the globe’s most 20 economies in earth could be a mirage.
“This shows that the business of revolutionizing Nigeria is very largely unfinished,” he asserted.

Commenting on the subject matter, Dr. Ike Mowete of the University of Lagos, said that the President’s 7-point Agenda may not explicitly mention ICTs or telecom, but it is evident that the infrastructural improvements that may come about will be of tremendous benefit to the ICT industry.

“Besides, one would want to believe that the 7-point represent the ‘minimum requirements’ expectation he would like to focus on,” he said.

ICT as catalyst for development:
Meanwhile, inside the conference hall at Transcorp Hilton, the Minister of Information and Communications, Chief John Ogar Odey, told his audience that ICT is a major catalyst for development, which is critical for the survival of any economy.

As said by him, there is a consensus among African leaders and the world that leveraging on ICT potentials would bring about sustainable development, emphasizing that the host of the 2008 Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO)-organised forum is an indication that Nigeria is committed toward making ICT the prime mover of its economy, insisting that ICT challenges must be addressed, especially on the infrastructure, if Africa is to realize its full economic potentials and opportunities that abound thereof.

Conclusion:
Champion Infotel investigation revealed that Alhaji Yar’Adua has not for once attended any ICT event in person since assuming office on May 29, 2007, which over a year and eight months; even when such industry events are taken from Lagos, the hub of commercial activities and ICT in the country to the city of power, Abuja.

The fact is that President Yar’Adua has given Nigerians, mostly his critics enough room for criticism and unexpected comparison with Obasanjo. Industry observers wondered if Obasanjo was complacent like Yar’Adua posture currently depicts, what should have happened to the ICT sector or do we need to organize another summit on Information Society, before he could wake up to the realities that without ICT4D, the so called Vision 2020, may not take off, let alone Nigeria making an impact in its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), where the bulk of the citizens and women are in rural areas and without relevant social amenities.

Therefore, it is very crucial that he makes an effort to grace some of these occasions, even if it means few minutes, because it would definitely have an effect on him as a person and the nation in the long run, moreso, on the way political decisions are made on ICT sector.

Relying on aids like Ministers to give reports is good but not good enough in an ‘unknown’ terrain like ICT; where technological innovations are being turned out almost on daily basis. A walk round in an ICT exhibition would certainly make an impact. And the earlier he begins to strategize in this direction; his views about ICT for development would be heightened for the betterment of all Nigerians.


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Cybersecurity, most challenging of our time – Toure

Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Dr Hamadoun Touré, has declared that cyber security is one of the most important challenges at this time of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

“Cybersecurity is one of the most important challenges of our time,” he said.
Toure in his closing address to the 63rd session of ITU Council which ended last Friday in Geneva, said that the rapid growth of ICT networks has enabled opportunists to exploit online vulnerabilities and attack countries’ critical infrastructure.

“Spam is a constant and growing problem that threatens to stretch the capacity of the Internet to transport data to the fullest, while phishing and malware affect computer systems around the globe,” he said, noting that the costs associated with cyberthreats and cyber-attacks are real and significant - not only in terms of lost revenue, breaches of sensitive data, cyber-attacks and network outages but also in terms of lives ruined by identity theft, debts run up on plundered credit cards or the online exploitation of children.

“Our very trust in the online world is at stake - jeopardizing the future of the information society, which is in danger from these growing cyberthreats,” he asserted.

ITU, he said, has taken a leading role in promoting cybersecurity and trying to combat the growing tidal wave of cyberthreats.

He recalled that on the occasion of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2007, ITU launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA).

This, he explained, as a High-Level Experts Group (HLEG) that has spent the last year reviewing the issues and developing proposals for long-term strategies to promote cybersecurity, an achievement honoured with the award of the ITU Silver Medal to the Chair of the HLEG, Chief Judge Stein Schjolberg.

The GCA, he continued, is now moving into its operational phase and ITU is undertaking a vital partnership in conjunction with the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Threats (IMPACT) hosted by the Government of Malaysia, to put a global early warning system at the disposal of all member states.

Toure, also said that the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative is a vital project that will protect one of the most vulnerable groups online by providing valuable guidance on safe online behaviour, in conjunction with other United Nations (UN) agencies and partners.

Champion Infotel also gathered that the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon equally welcomed ITU’s COP initiative and urged all states to support it.
ITU member states stand united in their determination to combat the growing menace of cyber crime and the risks posed by new and emerging cyberthreats.


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Infosys, Computer Warehouse Group unveil Finacle 10

Asian software giant, Infosys Technologies Limited in collaboration with the Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) subsidiary, the ExpertEdge Software and Systems Limited, has launched the latest version of its Finacle version 10 application in Lagos.

This, the company said, heralds the beginning of series of unveiling for Finacle version 10 in the West African region.

Speaking at the event, the Associate Vice President and Head, Europe, Middle East and Africa market for Finacle at Infosys, Mr. Amit Dua, said that the Finacle version 10 is a universal banking solution brought to the door steps of banks in the sub-region.

He also said that this reiterates Finacle’s global leadership in banking transformation, and noted that seven Tier-1 and 2 banks around the world have already rested their trust on Finacle 10 as a solution to power their domestic and international operations.

Dua explained that the new version would enable banks to transform their multi-country operations through a standard platform and processes.

According to him, Finacle version 10 comes with a set of 5000 parameters and an enhanced scripting studio to deliver rapid product innovation, just as the new version also brings with it a whole new set of offerings including Islamic banking, wealth management and an enhanced mobile banking solution.

“With Finacle 10, Infosys offers banks in the region an agile, scalable, proven solution that lowers total cost of ownership and accelerates time to market,” Dua said.

He noted that West African banks are now being challenged with increasingly complex internal and external environments that require greater business agility, a reduced cost structure and minimum risk.

“Finacle’s powerful architectural foundation enables banks to rapidly respond to changing customer demands and a competitive market landscape. We have invested over $60 million in the last three years to build a state of the art banking solution,” he disclosed.

Stressing that Infosys strong commitment towards the West African market, along with strong alliances for surrounding implementation services, and dangling before banks a truly differentiated offering.

He pointed out that with the estimated 278 million mobile phones on the continent, mobile banking is predicted to grow in a big way in Africa.

“Africa today has an estimated 90 per cent unbanked population and with an estimated 230 million unbanked households, solutions like mobile banking and financial inclusion that enable banks to reach out to the unbanked are also expected to open doors of opportunity for banks in the region,” he said.

He noted that Infosys has had a long standing partnership with Computer Warehouse Group for the West Africa market.

Also speaking, the group Managing Director, CWG, Mr. Austin Okere, said that his firm and Infosys have worked together in sales and support of banking solutions for a large number of banks in the country by using CWG world class integration services and Infosys’ portfolio of banking solutions and services, thus the two companies help banks to address changing business and technology cycles as well as assist them in achieving a unique competitive edge.

He noted that as a leader in banking transformation, Finacle has a global footprint across 61 countries and has been acknowledged by top analysts including Gartner, Forrester and Celent among the leaders of the core banking solution space.
MultiChoice boosts Ogun with 10 resource centres

Leading Digital Satellite Pay TV operator in the country, MultiChoice Nigeria, has commissioned 10 additional educational resource centres in Ogun State.
This brings to 91 the total number of educational resource centres across the nation powered by the company in its efforts at enhancing education through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

The MultiChoice Resource Centre project is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of MultiChoice in which the company provides secondary schools with Digital Satellite Television (DStv) decoders, television sets, stabilizers, video recorders, generators, chairs and tables, and a bouquet of 6 educational channels among others.

Speaking at the commissioning held at the African Church Grammar School, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Commissioner for Education, Professor Segun Awonusi expressed happiness at the MultiChoice resource centre initiative, thanking all stakeholders who collaborated to make the project a possibility in Ogun State for a job well done.

He assured MultiChoice Nigeria and its project partner, SchoolNet Nigeria, that the centres will be well maintained and put to optimal use by all students in the state.

Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, MultiChoice, Ade Adefeko, said at the occasion that Multichoice is very committed to Nigeria’s educational development, stressing that plans are on to extend the resource centre project to as many schools as practicable, so as to create sustainable relationships with stakeholders all over the country.

He also disclosed that MultiChoice is focused on leveraging its expertise and assets for development and growth of African communities through education.

“In line with the strategy, therefore, MultiChoice aims to contribute towards the development of Nigerian communities, support human capital development, and as well contribute towards bridging the digital divide,” he said.

Adefeko further said that ICTs have the potential to enhance and support various developmental goals while also acting as catalyst for improving the quality of education.

Expressing the appreciation of the company to the Ogun State Government, the SchoolNet Nigeria, and all the principals of beneficiary schools, Adefeko promised that MultiChoice would not relent in its effort to give back to the community, as plans are on-going to launch initiatives in other areas, especially on health related projects.

In her speech, Assistant National Coordinator, SchoolNet Nigeria, Mrs. Ronke Bello, said the MultiChoice resource centre initiative is designed to grant beneficiary schools access to education bouquet on DStv with the aim of integrating the programmes into their curriculum, as this will further enhance the teaching and learning processes in the classrooms.

She stated that SchoolNet Nigeria conducted a 3-day Teacher-Training programme for selected teachers from the beneficiary schools from October 27 to 29, adding that the teachers who are now regarded as Master-Trainers, would have the task of training their colleagues on how to utilize the facilities.

She pointed out that SchoolNet Nigeria has also developed a MultiChoice Resource Centre Educator’s Guide to aid the teachers and schools on the use and maintenance of the resource centres as well as its integration into the curriculum.


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Omatek goes into data recovery service

Newly unveiled subsidiary of Omatek Ventures Plc, the Omatek Engineering Services Limited (OESL) would focus on avalanche of services including disaster and data recovery, network optimization and web security.

Chief Operating Officer (COO), OESL, Mr. Femi Numa made this disclosure in Lagos and said that in addition, his firm would be designing optimized green network power solutions, also known as the Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) and inverters for home and industrial uses.

He said OSEL has come to further reinforce the confidence of Nigerians that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) service infrastructure could be managed according to internationally recognized best practices. He stressed that OESL would maximize customer satisfaction with the services provided using effective web-based helpdesk system.

The new subsidiary, he said, works in partnership with Kelong - a Chinese company reputed to be one of the world’s biggest UPS’ manufacturers’ was recently commissioned to produce a range of UPS, inverters and power backup systems that could be used for telecommunications applications, in homes, offices, server rooms, medical institutions, industries, large corporations, banks, Automated Teller Machines (ATM) points and other mission critical environments, hotels, industries and factories.

Speaking at the a cocktail for the visiting foreign partners, which attracted top dignitaries from the corporate and government circles in Lagos recently, Omatek Group Managing Director, Mrs. Florence Seriki said the strategic partnership between Omatek group and its foreign technical partners led by Valona of Singapore is aimed at delivering world class ICT solutions to the banking and financial institutions, telecoms, government, oil and gas as well as the public sector.

She noted that this alliance has become necessary in view of the need to address critical ICT areas in the Nigerian business terrain.

Several presentations were made by OESL foreign partners including Messrs Naresh Kapoor and Andy Poy of Valona Holdings West Africa and Mr. You Cheng Hwee of Maximus Consulting, Singapore who also visited several organizations to assess their needs requirements.

Members of OESL board of directors, captains of industries, top bank executives, security experts and ICT solutions professionals.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCN), Lagos State branch, Comrade Adebayo Oluwa, has commended Omatek Ventures Plc for fulfilling its promise of handing over Personal Computers (PC) to the beneficiaries of its recently launched initiative for civil servants in the state.

Champion Infotel recalls that Omatek has disbursed over 500 PCs to civil servants in the centre of excellence under its e-Xpress initiative in partnership with ASCN.
Speaking on the launch, Mr. Oluwa said, he was impressed with the timely delivery of the computer systems which range from the latest 8 inch smart book to the rugged desktop computers.

Comrade Oluwa also said, the acquisition of the computer systems by the public servants in the state, would go a long way in improving their efficiency and productivity.

This, he noted, is in line with the Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration efforts at computerizing the entire civil service in Lagos State.

He, therefore, urged other interested public servants in Lagos State to take advantage of the Omatek e-Xpress initiative to acquire their computers through an easy and convenient payment plan which spans between 12 and 24 months.

Equally, speaking, one of the beneficiaries, Mr. Olaniyonu, a civil servant from the Education District 1, Agege, expressed his gratitude to Omatek Computers for the opportunity given to him to own a computer.

He applauded Omatek Computers for including civil servants under its e-Xpress initiative.

So far, Omatek e-Xpress initiative has also been launched in Oyo, Ogun, Abia, Cross River, and a host of other states.

The Omatek e-Xpress initiative is expected to boost IT penetration in the country, with the aim of putting, at least, one computer in every Nigerian home in no distant future.


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Receiver Pays gives freedom to talk – Etisalat

Mobile operator, Etisalat Nigeria, has revealed that one of the uniqueness of its newly introduced Easy Starter platform, also known as prepaid, is the feature that enables the receiver of the call to pay.

This, the operator said, affords Nigerians more opportunities to talk a lot easier than they have done hitherto.

Giving this highlight about Easy Starter, the Vice President Marketing at Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Wael Ammar said that one of these features is the Receiver Pays feature available as a default on its Easy Starter prepaid package.

“Receiver Pays allows the initiator of a call to request that the person they are calling agree to pay for the call. Should the person agree, the call initiator is not charged for the call instead the receiver pays for the call,” he said.

Mr. Ammar also said that this innovative feature empowers a lot of Nigerians even more as they could now talk with their families, friends, business associates and other key people without having to pay for the call.

“This is a unique and innovative feature from Etisalat. And everyone is now empowered to make calls even if they do not have any call credits left on their phone. Receiver Pays effectively eliminates the need for them to ‘flash’ as they can initiate a call to the person they desire to speak to and should the person accept to pay for the call, the connection becomes active and the person who initiated the call can talk for free. This is a first from Etisalat Nigeria and it shows that we have come to the market to make Nigerians talk a lot more than they have been doing before now,” he said.

He further said, subscribers could take full advantage of this feature as it is a useful tool for moving business and personal lives and relationships forward.

“If you need to make a very important business call and you realize that you have run low on call credit or you need to speak to a family member on a topic of urgent importance and you do not have credit on your phone, this feature definitely comes very handy. You would be able to initiate a call to them and when they agree to pay for the call, you are connected and you can talk to them at no cost to you,” he said.

Ammar was precise on the benefits of this service to everyone, mostly students, who could call their parents or guardians from school for free; business owners could be more easily reached by their staff or customers even when they do not have call credit on their phones as well as parents in rural areas could stay in touch better with their children in or outside Nigeria with the service for free.

“This product is very useful for everybody and will surely make life easier all round,” Ammar declared.

To initiate a call on the service, he explained that the caller only needs to dial 268 before the number of the subscriber they desire to call.

“As soon as they do this, the receiver is informed that a call has been initiated to them and they are requested to confirm if they would be willing to receive and pay for the call. And if they accept to receive the call, the call is connected and they are charged for it,” he said.

Another exciting feature of Receiver Pays, he said, is that it allows subscribers to have a permanent list of five (5) callers they would be willing to pay to receive their calls whenever they initiate Receiver Pays calls to them.

“To do this, they simply set up the list of their chosen 5 people on their permanent list and anytime any of the people on this list initiate a receiver pays call to them, the call would be automatically connected without the receiver needing to be prompted,” he said.

The list, he continued, could be created and edited at anytime at the subscribers’ discretion and at no cost.

“The Receiver Pays feature is available as a default menu on the SIM Tool Kit (STK) or Service Menu of the Etisalat SIM card,” he asserted.


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Nokia N79, N85 hit market

Nokia N79 and N85, have been unveiled as the latest additions to the Nokia Nseries range into the market.

Speaking on the products, Director, Nokia Nseries, Juha Kokkonen, who was in the country recently, said that both products sum up the powerful fusion of technology and style, due to it is combination of intelligent and customizable design, thus setting new standards for mobile entertainment, gaming and sharing - a fully loaded multimedia computer.

“The Nokia N79 packs cutting-edge technology into a compact design – a characteristic of the iconic Nseries – that allows people to discover, create and share their passions with others. It has been designed for those who want a device that is as appealing as it is powerful and comes with interchangeable covers that have automatically matching screen themes. This balance of performance and style means that it is a powerful and defining step forward from the popular and very successful Nokia N72 and Nokia N73,” he said.

He explained that behind its sleek exterior, Nokia N79 is a technology powerhouse that offers a full range of multimedia experiences including integrated navigation where available, music with FM transmitter, high-speed connectivity, superior web browsing, 10 pre-loaded N-Gage games and an advanced 5-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics.

The Nokia N79, which comes with Xpress-on smart covers that are available in five cool colors: light sea blue, espresso brown, olive green, white and coral red, is perfect for the style conscious.

“The convergence of photos, music and navigation where available in the Nokia N79 combines with hi-speed 3.5G HSDPA and Wi-Fi to make it quick and easy to share experiences on websites, blogs or online communities,” he said.

Nokia N85, according to the General Manager, Nokia Nigeria, Mr. Phillip De La Vega, was created to be more than the sum of its parts, offering a complete mobile entertainment package designed for connecting, sharing and discovering.

“The iconic Nokia Nseries dual slider design has evolved to become smaller and sleeker while integrating the newest features and services to deliver the best mobile experience to date,” he said.

Described as the entertainment package, he said, N85 comes with an eye-catching 2.6” Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) screen and smooth, sleek finish, thereby redefining the mobile experience.

“It boasts of N-Gage gaming, music with in-built FM transmitter, 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and geo-tagging capabilities, three month integrated license for turn-by-turn voice navigation where available and high-speed connectivity, all in one device,” Phillip said.

Further, he said, that N85 is engaging and interactive with its pre-loaded 10 made-for-mobile N-Gage gaming titles that jump off of the screen, thanks to the dazzling OLED display and a voucher to activate one full game license. Dedicated gaming keys light up when the device is in landscape gaming mode to further enhance the action-packed experience.

A state-of-the-art 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and bright dual LED Flash captures clear, sharp images as well as Digital Video Display (DVD)-quality videos at 30 frames per second. Combined with A-GPS it is possible to geo-tag favorite pictures to see where each photo was taken.


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