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Nigeria media urged to create 21st century platforms

ITRealms : Leadership of Nigerian media industry have been urged to ensure they create 21st century platforms and professional group be...

PC Summit

Thursday, February 28, 2008

DaarComms targets digital powerhouse

Cover of the week:

Pioneer private broadcasting entity in the country, Daar Communications Plc, is dreaming of digitised media powerhouse to serve the needs of the continent and beyond, as the company said at the weekend that the bulk of the fund to be generated from its Initial Public Offer (IPO) would be used for migration of its equipment from analogue to digital systems.

This is coming as DaarComms plans to introduce a new digitised pay TV with 40 channels before the year runs to an end.

Champion Infotel recalls that DaarComms on Monday commenced its IPO thus putting up for sale 960,000,000 ordinary shares, to raise N10 billion deal of 50 kobo each at N5 per share, which would last till the end of March, this year. Daar is primarily involved in broadcasting, telecommunications and allied Multi-media as well as printing and publishing services across the globe.

Reiterating the determination of the board of Daar Communications Plc to enthrone digital communications in its domains of operations globally, its Chairman, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, said that strategies have reached advanced stage to ensure that few months after the closure of the IPO, implementation would begin in earnest in all installations and stations.

According to him, the going to the capital market by DaarComms is in fulfilment of long-time dream and promise of availing Nigerians the opportunity to be part owners of the company, and urged Nigerians to grab this opportunity with both hands.

He also outlined other purposes for which the fund would be committed, including completion of the 11 new stations and construction of a film village in the South Western part of the country, upgrading of existing facilities, procurement of programme content, programmes and digital satellite systems as well as working capital requirement.

For the managing director, Daar Communications, Mr. Ladi Lawal, the completion board meeting in Lagos at the weekend, was the day the Lord has made, although he was quick to add that it took up to 10 years for the transformation to come to fruition.

“Today is a day of history because it’s the day an organisation known by its pioneering spirit has made another first to offer itself to Nigerians for ownership in the sector,” he declared.

He added that DaarComms is known to have made lots of first in its area of endeavour including the first to run television station for 24 hours for seven days in a week, in addition to running a terrestrial station and offers services through satellite for the global audience.

Mr. Lawal described the share structure as people- friendly because it’s just a ‘pure water price,’ predicting that the DaarComms would be over subscribed.

“Africa Independent Television (AIT), RayPower is yours, so you can now own it from Monday February 25 to March 31,” he asserted, even as the offer is appealing and would be rewarding.

He stressed that with the offer in the public domain, DaarComms is truly taking its place as the African voice and is ready to take it to the higher level into other continents of the world.

“We urge Nigerians to cash-in on this offer and make another first in order to make a global media,” he said, pointing out that the IPO proceeds would be used majorly for expansion of its operations.

Mr. Lawal disclosed that a new pay TV would soon make its debut with 40 channels, which he tagged the biggest to be established in a sweep on the continent, emphasising that its not just about DaarComms again, but about the African media powerhouse.

“We are trying to surpass the vision of the visioner,” he said, noting that DaarComms holds a thematic philosophy of seeing the globe as its scope.

Former Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Dr. Tom Adaba, commended the management of Daar Communications Plc, especially its chairman, Dr. Dokpesi, for the steadfastness, noting that without the live telecast of the debate on third term agenda in the last dispensation on AIT, Nigeria and Nigerians would have been in perpetual slavery as far as leadership is concerned, underscoring the power of broadcasting technology and television particularly.

He invited Nigerians to make good use of this opportunity, saying that with DaarComms, lots of goodies await Nigerians.

“Its now left for us to ensure we’re part of this good things to come. DaarComms does not only have the sky as it’s stepping stone but would go beyond the stars,” Adaba said.

Noteworthy is that Daar Communications Plc launched its broadcast services in 1994 with the promotion of Nigeria’s first private independent radio station, RayPower 100.5FM. A second channel, RayPower 106.5FM also commenced formal operations in April 1999.

In the last quarter of 1999, Daar launched into the information super highway with the commencement of the Daar broadband internet services with capacity for voice, internet access, video conferencing, data, telephony and other multi-media capabilities.


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ITU adopts Doha declaration on cybersecurity

In acknowledgement of the global implications of cyber crimes, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has adopted the Doha Declaration on Cybersecurity.

ITU said this was in recognition of the regional and international efforts as well as close collaboration between governments and industry, even as the forum advocated for each country to develop capabilities using the new ITU Cybersecurity Framework, which is intended to assist in the formulation of national cybersecurity polices and to protect critical information infrastructure.

At the end of a four-day forum on regional Cybersecurity in Doha, Qatar on Cybersecurity and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP) in collaboration with the Qatar Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) and the Qatar Centre for Information Security (Q-CERT), participants adopted the Doha declaration.

According a press statement from ITU, participants recognized that the ITU Cybersecurity Framework offers a useful guide for raising awareness and initiating and/or reviewing national action as it helps to ensure consistency and compatibility of action among nations.

Also, the forum recommended that the framework and related resources toolkits be finalized as soon as possible and made available in the six ITU working languages.

Director, ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, Mr. Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, noted that the global interconnectivity creates new interdependencies and risks that need to be managed at national, regional and international levels.

“The formulation and implementation by all nations of a national framework for cybersecurity and critical information infrastructure protection represents a significant first step in addressing the challenges arising from globally interconnected ICT infrastructure,” he said.

Champion Infotel recalls that elements of the ITU framework that form part of a comprehensive national approach to cybersecurity include developing of a national strategy for cybersecurity, establishing government-industry collaboration, deterring cybercrime, creating national incident management capabilities, and promoting a culture of cybersecurity, just as the ITU National Cybersecurity Self-Assessment Toolkit was also examined.

The toolkit is designed to assist national governments to review and understand their existing national approaches, develop a best practices baseline, identify areas for attention and prioritise national efforts to address cybersecurity.

Over 80 representatives from 18 countries in the Arab region as well as key regional organizations including the League of Arab States, Gulf Cooperation Council, and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, participated in the forum.

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NiRA to shun frivolous complaints

Early this month, the Nigerian Internet Registration Association (NiRA) released some 14 policy-documents for comments by the Internet community.

One of these was the NIRA complaints’ policy, which tends to set the association’s policy on handling of complaints made about domain names, registrars and resellers in the .ng second level domains.

According to NiRA, its jurisdiction to handle complaints is limited to matters relating to the .ng domain space, even as there are two types of complaints that NIRA handles, namely complaints about .ng domain names and registrants, which may centre on “domain complaints” and complaints about .ng domain name services provided by NIRA accredited registrars and their resellers otherwise known as “industry complaints.”

However, the different types of complaints were explained in more details in sections four and five below:

The second 2 subsection 2 dwelt on NiRA not having jurisdiction to handle complaints about (a) generic Top Level Domains, for instance, .com, .net, .biz, .info, and so on or other country code Top Level Domains for example .nz, .uk, .us, among others; (b) web hosting, website management or website design services; (c) Internet access or email services; or (d) possible breaches of Nigerian law relating to Information Technology, telecommunications, broadcasting or unfair business practices.

For complaints about these matters NiRA advised that complainants should contact the relevant government authorities.

While subsection 3 stated that NIRA reserves the right not to acknowledge or investigate a complaint that is clearly frivolous, vexatious or abusive, or in NIRA’s opinion has been brought in bad faith.

Equally, NIRA’s complaints-handling process indicated that complaints may be submitted to NIRA via the online form on its website, by fax or by post, even as NIRA will acknowledge receipt of complaints subject to paragraph 2.3 of its policy on complaints and indicate the time-frame that a response would be expected.

NIRA says it would endeavour to resolve complaint as quickly as possible, but if complaints seem complex it may take several weeks to resolve, adding that if this happens to be the case, NIRA would keep such complainants informed of the progress of their complaints.

On receipt of any complaint, where appropriate, NIRA would request a response from the registrant, registrar or reseller involved and would investigate complaints based on the facts provided by all parties involved in the matter and may seek further information from any party to assist with its investigation.

NIRA may place a registry server lock on the domain name(s) in question, in order to preserve the status quo whilst the investigation is pending.

After conducting a full investigation, NIRA will notify the complainant in writing of the outcome of complaint and, if relevant, of any other courses of action available to the complainant.

The section four of the policy, which centred on domain complaints, NiRA says included complaints about (a) registrant eligibility, including the “close and substantial connection” rule; (b) prohibited misspellings; (c) offering a domain name for sale (d) correct “ownership” of a domain name (e) transfers (change of registrant); and (f) breaches of the domain name license terms and conditions, or any NIRA policy.

While subsection four-two, stated that NIRA is the first point of contact for the above mentioned domain complaints and has the powers to investigate complaints on the basis of whether there has been a breach of NIRA policy, not on the basis of whether complainant have a better claim to the domain name, or whether the rights in the domain name have been infringed. Just as NiRA cautioned that if desired outcome is transfer of the domain name to an individual, then it would be considered lodging a complaint under the NIRA Dispute Resolution Policy or taking legal action directly against the registrant.

But if complaint is upheld, NIRA may take one or more of the following three actions;

(a) instruct the registrar of record to “policy delete” the domain name(s) in question; (b) instruct the registrar of record to correct the registrant details of the domain name(s) in question; or (c) in the case of an unauthorised transfer, instruct the registry to reverse the transfer.

Industry complaints including that of domain name registration and domain name management services of a registrar or reseller; (b) transfers - change of registrar of record and (c) breaches of the Registrar Agreement, Registrar’s Practice Policy, or any NIRA Published Policy.

The policy further indicated that before NIRA will investigate a complaint, the complainant must have first attempted to resolve the complaint with the registrar or reseller involved, noting that under the Registrar’s Practice Policy, all registrars and resellers must have adequate complaints-handling policies and procedures in place.

And before making a complaint to NIRA, such a complainant must allow a reasonable period of time for the registrar or reseller to respond to complaints.

NIRA however, warned that it would not investigate complaints unless such complainant have fulfilled this aspect, even as they should also collect any relevant supporting documentation, such as registration agreements, policies, emails and other correspondence with the registrar or reseller.

Failure to do so may mean that NIRA is unable to investigate any complaint for lack of evidence. While if complaints is upheld, NIRA may take one or more of the following actions: (a) request the registrar or reseller to issue the complainants with a full explanation and apology; (b) request the registrar or reseller to remedy their error and/or refund any payment for services not received; (c) in the case of an unauthorised transfer, instruct the registry to reverse the transfer; (d) request the registrar or reseller to amend the practice or procedure that led to the complaint; (e) notify the registrar or reseller that they are in breach of the Registrar Agreement, or any other NIRA Policy, and request them to remedy the breach; or and (f) refer complaints to the relevant government authority.

Noting that NIRA is not a government agency or statutory authority, therefore, it does not have legislative power to impose fines or other penalties on a registrar or reseller.

The section five subsection five of the policy stated that if the registrar or reseller involved does not comply with NIRA’s request pursuant to paragraph 5.8 [a-d], NIRA may take the following action: (a) in the case of a reseller of a registrar, NIRA may direct the registrar not to accept any services from that reseller, and to terminate any reseller license in existence between the registrar and that reseller; or (b) in the case of a registrar, NIRA may suspend or terminate the registrar’s accreditation.

NiRA further stated that it could handle other complaints and disputes as provided for in its Dispute Resolution Policy byway of seeking for independent arbitration of disputes between a registrant and another party with competing rights in the domain name. Proceedings must be lodged with one of the approved providers listed on NIRA’s website.

So, NIRA will not mediate or resolve disputes between a registrant and another party over a domain name, although it may, at the request of the parties or at its own discretion, place a registry server lock on the domain name pending resolution of the dispute by the parties themselves.

Resolution of the dispute must be evidenced by a Deed of Settlement or an order of a competent arbitrator, tribunal, court or legislative body.

NIRA maintained that it would not mediate or resolve commercial disputes between registrars and their own resellers, except insofar as the dispute involves a breach or possible breach of the Registrar Agreement or any NIRA policy.

Commenting, Nigerian-born United States-based IT expert, Prof. Bolaji Aluko, advocated for segmented commentary column for each of the policies to facilitate easier collation process targeted at a policy documents.

NiRA President, Mr. Ndukwe Kalu, while assuring that responses will be appropriately streamlined, advising Nigerians to make inputs on or before February 29 through sending hardcopy to NiRA office or electronically by email to: policy@nira.org.ng.

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Microsoft to empower 2500 youths

Operating Systems (OS) and productivity software giant, Microsoft Corporation, has concluded arrangement to empower 2500 Nigerian youths, as it warms up for the introduction of new products in the nation’s market.

Citizenship Manager, Microsoft West Africa, Mrs Jummai Umar-Ajijola, gave this insight at a media session with the Country Manager, Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu in Lagos.

Responding to questions, Ajijola said that Microsoft rates Nigeria top on its priority list while other countries of note include Senegal and Kenya to name a few.

This, she said, is the reason behind the commencement of its Youth Employability Programme (YEP) in the country in collaboration with the International Youth Foundation (IYF).

She also said that within the unlimited potential programme of Microsoft, that by November this year, 2,500 Nigerian youths selected nationwide and trained to become employable with placement of at least 70 per cent of this figure in jobs would have been accomplished.

To this end, she said, Microsoft is partnering with local non-governmental organisation, Leadership Africa Programme (LEAP) and job placement agencies to accomplish these goals.

The youths to be involved in this programme would be those between the ages of 13 and 18, who would be taught how to use skills to earn a livelihood.

“We believe that creativity maximises potential, and enables great contribution to society and empowering us to build community in conjunction with those around us,” she noted.

Mrs. Ajijola equally said that the six digital villages set up by Microsoft in the six-geopolitical zones of the country are still up and running.

She pointed out that what Microsoft did with these digital villages was to set it up and allow states and NGOs to run them.

Citizenship activities, she said, are geared towards building capacity among teachers, pupils, government officials, NGO administrators, in basic IT education as well as the underserved community in the area of digital inclusion.

“Our goal is to enable the transformation of education, foster local innovation and create jobs and opportunities,” she declared.

Country manager, Microsoft West Africa, Mr. Mba-Uzoukwu reaffirmed his firm’s commitment to contributing towards developing countries where they have operation.

“We have a goal of aligning to national strategies within our eco-system in every country of operation, which could differ from one country to another,” he said.

He said that as part of the global launch of its Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio 2008, which now counts down in days, Microsoft is ready and is preparing grounds for its partners and customers to optimise the new opportunities in what he described as exciting new solutions.

He further informed that two key events have been planned for this quarter in two countries in the sub-region, namely Nigeria and Ghana focusing on the proposed global launch scheduled to hold in Lagos on March 6 and 13 respectively.

During the launch, Microsoft, he said, would showcase stories of IT professionals, especially developers in churning out great work with Windows Server 2008, SQL Server or Visual Studio 2008 that featured in the IT heroes portrait book.

The session was attended by the Public Relations and Events Manager, Ms Ndidiamaka Uwadoka, Original Equipment Manaufacturers (OEM) Lead, Ms Ifejola Adeyemi, Partner Account Management Lead, Mr. Idowu Afe, Enterprise Partner Group (EPG) Lead, Mr. Adefolu Maj ekodunmi and Head Strategist at JSP, Dr. Phil Osagie.

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Zinox to commence 5,000 PC daily output

The nation’s Best Computer Brand of the Year 2007, Zinox Computers, would from April this year, commence daily commercial output of 5,000 personal computers from its modern factory in Lagos.

Chairman, Zinox Technologies, owners of Zinox brand, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, disclosed this while conducting the former President, Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Chief Chris Uwaje round the factory.

Dr. Ekeh said that the new factory when commissioned in April 2008 would raise the installed capacity of the Zinox brand to 5,000 systems daily.

This he said would be a perfect answer to those who are wondering on the capacity of the local capacity of the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to deliver on numbers.

Additionally, he said that the new factory would address the aspiration of Nigerians that the IT sector should lead the trade expansion into West Africa, thereby providing employment for Nigerians and citizens of the sub region.

Dr. Ekeh explained that the factory expansion was part of Zinox decision to address capacity questions in the industry.

He also said that a few people who were impressed about the fast pace of IT penetration were beginning to wonder aloud if the OEMs had the capacity to produce the large numbers that would be in demand.

Hence, Zinox, he said, decided to invest heavily on Africa’s largest and most digitalized IT factory in order to keep pace with the rising expectations of the Nigerian market.

Dr. Ekeh further explained that the brand has aroused among Nigerians and beyond, genuine high expectations especially in the West Africa market and Zinox is bent on surpassing these expectations.

Zinox chairman informed he was overwhelmed by the patronage and moral support that the brand has received from the governments and people of Nigeria since the launch in 2001.

In his comment, Chief Uwaje who also is the chief executive, Connect Technologies, applauded Zinox chairman for remaining persistent to his vision to make Zinox Africa’s Number 1 IT manufacturer.

He described the scope of the project as awesome and capable of propelling Nigeria into the knowledge economy.

Chief Uwaje said that he was highly pleased at the information that some multi- nationals and blue chip companies had standardized on Zinox Computers.

He was particularly pleased that TotalFinaEelf, a French multinational in Oil and Gas, has standardized on the Zinox brand.

Chief Uwaje was also full of praises for the First Bank of Nigeria Plc, for buying 4,000 systems to empower their workforce.

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Observing packet spoofing by ISPs (6)

High rates of packet loss could be caused intentionally by an ISP as a means of reducing the performance of a targeted application or protocol, but they can also occur as a result of congestion on the network or other technical problems.

When a packet is lost (also called a “dropped packet”, “dropped frame”, or “dropped segment”), it is not received by the destination at all.

Some higher-level Internet protocols include mechanisms for coping with packet loss, such as TCP’s mechanism for explicitly retransmitting data from packets that are lost.

Reordering:

Sometimes packets are not delivered in the same order in which they were originally transmitted.

If packet B was transmitted after packet A, receiving packet B at the other end does not mean that packet A has been dropped; it might still be on its way.

TCP can also generally correct for reordering. Like packet loss, reordering could be used intentionally by an ISP to degrade an application, but also occurs normally in the course of Internet routing.

Spoofing:

Spoofing or packet injection occurs when an entity other than one of the endpoints generates traffic using the source address of an endpoint.

Spoofing is the most straightforwardly detectable means of interference with Internet traffic because it produces concrete evidence in the form of the anomalous spoofed packets, and because it does not occur normally in traditional Internet routing.

Spoofing can be detected by looking for packets that were received by one end but never sent by the other end.

If user B receives a packet apparently from user A that user A has no record of having sent, user B can conclude that someone in between the two has spoofed this packet.

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LASU ICT Academy @ final stage – Prof. Fatunde

Member, Governing Council, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Tunde Fatunde, has revealed that the institute’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Academy has reached the final stages.

He made this disclosure in an address to the two-day workshop on EuroAfrica-ICT Awareness and Exchange by Panos Institute West Africa in collaboration with the Lagos State government, held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Centre for Information and Technology Systems (CITS), Akoka-Lagos, at the weekend.

Prof. Fatunde told Champion Infotel that the university is at its final phase towards the completion of the ICT Academy, which he proclaimed the first of its kind in the country.

“This final phase requires additional structures; another ICT centre and a five-star ICT conference accommodation centre,” he said.

He maintained that the project is commercially viable and would generate huge funds for the university on completion through its research and teaching among other services to be rendered to the community.

Prof. Fatunde who spoke on ‘Towards the creation of LASU ICT Academy: Achievements, Innovations and Constraints’ pointed out that the whole concept emanated from LASU ICT committee set up in October 2005 by then newly appointed Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lateef Hussain.

He also said that the committee was given the mandate to provide an enabling environment within the university community with a view to encouraging LASU students and staff to pursue with vigour the three cardinal principles of ICT bordering on training, research and rendering of services.

He noted that in pursuance of this objective, emphasis was laid on the rugged determination to use internal manpower resources to execute these projects.

This strategy, he said, is cost effective and would ensure that security and confidentiality of programmes within the school’s community, thus creating opportunity for both staff and students to participate actively in the development and management of LASU ICT programmes.

“After all, LASU is a centre for training and development of the mind and the brain,” he asserted.

Prof. Fatunde further said that this objective is contained in the 250-page document titled LASU ICT Road Map written by ICT Team in collaboration with graduating students of Faculty of Engineering of its Epe campus.

Outlining the achievements and innovations, Prof. Fatunde said that LASU now could boast of two ICT centres namely LASU ICT centre and Zenith ICT centre.

This, he said, encompasses an IT laboratory housing 111 desktop computers of Hewlett Packard (HP) brand based on Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between HP and the institute of which the payment has been completed.

In addition, LASU boasts of Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), which facilitates provision of Internet services for both the centre and the entire main campus in the Ojo axis of Lagos.

He disclosed that plans are underway to cement strategy that would avail the provision of Internet services via LASU VSAT infrastructure for companies and organisations within the Ojo-Alaba environment.

All the software used in the university, so far, he said, has been developed in-house by the software unit, including the ones deployed at LASU’s exams and records, e-registration, e-payment to name a few.

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WWTBAM: Demand increases for children's edition

The MTN sponsored Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (WWTBAM) Television show, is gaining momentum as call for its special edition, mostly for children has continued to attract demands.

Managing Director of the organising firm, Ultima Communications, Mr. Femi Ayeni, informed that demand for the special editions have increased, especially for the children, moreso now that another festive season of Easter is around the corner.

Champion Infotel recalls that a 10-year old pupil of Montessori International Port Harcourt, Master Tomiwa Byron, was drafted into the millionaire club through the show last December.

The primary-six pupil, who emerged at the special edition of WWTBAM held in Lagos, to mark the festive season, said his ambition is to become a petrochemical engineer capped with a doctorate degree, as he emerged N1 million richer from the hotseat of the programme hosted by Frank Edoho.

Whereas Byron smiled home with his first million Naira cheque, another youngster, a 9-year old Ms Esomsidimma Igwe, who aspires to be a Neurosurgeon from Linsy Nursery School, Lekki, went home with N500,000.

This is coming as the special edition has been gathering momentum and pitting some children against their parents for not taking them to the TV show.

Although globally, this kind of TV show is strictly for people above 18 years of age, but given the recent development based on positive reactions and quest for another edition for children, Ultima may consider another festive edition during the forthcoming Easter.

According to Mr. Ayeni, peculiarity with children being winners in such a programme is that they will not handle cash but invest it into their education as a kind of trust fund, unlike their adult counterparts who will prefer to handle cash given lots of challenges of life facing them.

He explained that the initial idea of the children special edition was a success as it produced two millionaires.

He also argued that it is better to invest in the future generation through the special edition for children.

“It is good to begin to set some structures for children in a sector which at the moment is very active in the country,” he said.

Stressing that it could inspire children to choose a career in the broadcasting sector because of their love for WWTBAM and the host, Frank, which industry observers agreed is a major component of the information age.

However, some industry analysts see the special edition, as being able to help in building knowledge base of the children and prepare them for some aptitude conditions in life.

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Celtel rides on Jinny to deliver ringback tones

Third Generation (3G) mobile operator, Celtel Nigeria, has sealed a deal with Dublin-based Jinny Software Limited to deliver ringback tones and Voice Short Messaging Services (VSMS) to its teeming subscribers, especially on the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM).

The regional director, Middle East, Africa and Asia (MEAA) at Jinny Software Limited, Mr. Aniket Deuskar, who disclosed this at the just concluded World Mobile Congress in Barcelona-Spain, informed that his team would soon be in the country to commence implementation, which must take off this month.

He also said that the implementation would see to deploying an aspect of Jinny Software to deliver the ringback tone options, which is expected to be completed before April ending.

“Implementation would start this month and probably by April it would be completed,” he told Champion Infotel, stressing, “We would have it life by April.”

Although he did not disclose the amount his firm got the contract from Celtel Nigeria, he was quick to add that the contract has an aspect of non-disclosure of the actual sum.

Additionally, he informed that the implementation would be cantered in three core cities as part of the first phase, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Lagos and Aba, near Port Harcourt.

He enlightened that with implementation completed, subscribers on Celtel network would be able to download their favourite songs as ringback so that whenever they get call, the caller would be served or entertained with this favourite tune pending when the call is answered.

This, he added would incorporate Voice Short Messaging Service (VSMS), emphasizing that the objective of Jinny Software globally is to work toward increasing the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of its customers while reducing cost of production and services.

Although the company equally offers Mobile Instant Messaging and Missed Call Notification (MCN), Mr. Deuskar said that the concentration now is on the ringback and VSMS for Celtel customers in Nigeria.

Jinny Software, he said, was founded in 1999 and current boost of 150 employees with local sales presence in Dublin, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Rio De Janeiro, Rome among others.

Previously, Jinny has implemented some services for Zain Jordan and Wataniya Telecom in Kuwait.

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ATCON plans summit on local content

Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), would in the coming weeks host stakeholders to a summit on local content.

President, ATCON, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem gave this indication while briefing the press recently in Lagos.

He also said that the one-day stakeholders summit on Local Content Development in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, is a focus to examine the challenges faced in developing local contents in the sector.

The summit will equally enable stakeholders to develop a position paper for a policy framework on local content development in the nation.

Dr. Ekuwem pointed out that ATCON feels strongly that local ICT infrastructure providers require some measure of protection against their multinational counterparts whose corporate strength could extinguish the local players.

Local hardware and software developers, he noted, must be given some kind of support to enable them grow, expand and continue to provide employment to millions of Nigerians.

“Thus helping to eradicate poverty in our land. It is envisaged that if government and other relevant institutions, like the financial institutions, do not provide adequate protection and support to our local ICT industrialists, they would be heading towards economic doom,” he warned.

In addition, he said that the summit would devise ways of encouraging the building of local database that would form the Nigerian content in the global ICT circuit.

“It has been established that Nigerians talk more than they write and this contributes to the low level of Nigerian content in the global cyberspace,” he noted.

Dr. Ekuwem who also is the executive vice chairman, Teledom Group International said that the trend has to change if the nation must take its rightful place in the world’s ICT reckoning.

He emphasized that highly intellectual speakers have been contacted to make presentations and contribute to discussions at the summit slated for end of March 2008.

ATCON, he said, is partnering with leading hardware and software providers as well as frontline banks and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in hosting the event.

ATCON has also announced preparations for its Annual General Meeting (AGM) holding in April 2008, while top on the agenda at the forthcoming AGM would be the presentation of Annual Reports and 2007 Audited Accounts as well as election of officers into the National Executive Council (NEC).

Just as the current NEC tenure is due to expire in April shortly before the proposed date for the election.

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3G Plus goes commercial in Lagos

Globacom’s Third Generation (3G) product known as 3G Plus has gone commercial, according to sources at the Second National Operator (SNO) headquarters, Mike Adenuga Towers (MAT) in Lagos.

Champion Infotel also gathered that the 3G Plus services launched last December is now available to subscribers in Lagos State and its environs.

This, it was further gathered followed the approval of the tariffs for the 3G services by the regulator, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) at the weekend.

But confirming the commercial availability of its 3G Plus, Glo officials said that it comes in both prepaid and post-paid format, which means that subscribers on the network no matter their platform would enjoy the services, especially those who have mobile phones compatible to 3G technology.

Glo also said that for any subscriber to join the craze, such a person would be required to send ‘Activate’ to 444 through Short Messaging Service (SMS), while others without 3G phones could procure 3G compatible devices and 3G High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) data cards by visiting the Gloworld outlets in Lagos.

Globacom equally said the areas in Lagos where 3G Plus is available include Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki, Lagos Island, Murtala Mohammed Airport, Alaba, Ikeja Mainland and Surulere. Others are Apapa, Berger, Egbeda, Ejigbo, Festac Town, Okota and Lagos State University Ojo.

Champion Infotel recalls that with this development, Glo has confirmed its pioneer status as the first network in West Africa to commercially launch 3G-HSDPA services. The company launched the service formally at a ceremony at Banquet Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos.

Further, the telco pointed out that services immediately available on its 3G Plus include video calling, High Speed Internet (HSI), mobile TV and video-on-demand.

A press statement from Globacom showed, for instance, that Video Calling also known as “videophone” enables two subscribers with 3G video phones to talk to each other while viewing real-time 2-way live video between each other.

To be able to use this service, the operator said, the caller and the recipient are both required to be within the Glo 3G coverage areas.

“Our subscribers in Lagos can now make and receive live video calls to friends, family and colleagues across the Glo 3G Plus network,” the statement read.

The service, according Glo attracts N50 per minute or N1 per second for both prepaid and post-paid subscribers, with only the calling party being charged.

Further, the telco said that Video Calling is currently being offered at a promotional offer of N30 per minute or 60 kobo per second during the first 30 days of launch, after which the N50 per minute or N1 per second charge would take effect.

Glo added that with its 3G Plus Mobile’s High Speed Internet Access, subscribers would be able to browse the World Wide Web directly on their handsets or laptops at any where with computers at speeds of up to 3.6 Mega Bytes Per Second (Mbps) within the Glo 3G coverage area.

This, Globacom explained, is charged with a monthly rental of N15,000, or with a browsing rate of 35 kobo per kilobyte at peak times and 20 kobo per kilobyte at off- peak times, depending on the subscribers desired package.

Also, Glo stated that a promotional 3G data card package is also available for the first 30 days of launch.

On its Mobile TV, otherwise called Video Streaming, subscribers would be allowed to watch premium TV channels anywhere within the Glo 3G coverage areas on their 3G phones.

“CNN and Silverbird TV are immediately available on the service while Fashion TV and other channels will be added to the bouquet shortly,” Globacom said, even as the service could be accessed at 7 kobo per kilobyte.

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Ghana chooses Omatek for i-ADVANCE

The Ghanaian government has chosen Omatek Computers Limited to be part of its i-ADVANCE, a Government Assisted Purchase Programme (GAPP), which is similar to the Federal Government’s Computer for All Nigerians Initiative (CANi).

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Omatek Computers Limited, Mr. Biyi Fashoyin, who disclosed this in a chat with Champion Infotel, said that the Ghanaian government has chosen Omatek for its own version of CANi alongside other foreign brands as partner in the project including Intel.

Champion Infotel recalls that the computers sold under iADVANCE brand, is expected to meet international specifications similar to proprietary products, which sell on the local marketplace at over twice the retail price.

Champion Infotel gathered that this would entail assembling the computers in Ghana, with the theme computer4all.

He also expressed optimism that with the support of the Ghanaian government, Omatek would soon be positioned to take its pride of place in the Ghana market.

Mr. Fashoyin added that it was the government that invited Omatek into the country after a visit to its factory in Oregun-Ikeja in Lagos, noting that the launch of Omatek Ghana a fortnight ago shows the kind of support Omatek derives from the government of Ghana.

“We launched our Ghana office few weeks back and it was probably the biggest event in Ghana this year. We had seven ministers present and some who could not come sent representatives,” he said.

He pointed out that Ghanaians were happy over the official coming into the country of Omatek.

“Omatek has now become their own first completely knocked down factory,” he said.

Assuring that Omatek Ghana is for Ghanaians by Ghanaians for the world, and maintained that although one or two Nigerians could go there on technical expertise grounds, its solely Ghanaians.

He emphasised that from the general manager and his key officers are Ghanaians.

“Everybody in the factory is Ghanaian. You may have one or two Nigerians here and there on transfer but basically it is run by Ghanaians,” he said, even as the Ghana factory would serve the West African region.

This, he said, would enable the Nigeria factory to concentrate on the 140 million populations to deal with, because Omatek’s vision is to ensure availability and affordability of its Personal Computers (PCs) at every home in Nigeria as well as any other location where the firm has operations.

In a related development, Ghanaian Minister of Communications, Dr. Benjamin Aggrey Ntim recently commissioned Omatek’s special 8 and 10-inch notebooks in the country.

He also used the occasion to extend invitation to other Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies worldwide to invest in Ghana as the government is providing the requisite vibrant ICT policies and strategies for the country.

The policy, he said, represents the ministry’s desire to ensure that ICT capabilities are harnessed, replicated, and adapted in both formal and informal set ups.

This, Dr. Aggrey indicated, demonstrates government determination to spur competition in the ICT sector of the country.

Managing Director, Omatek, Mrs. Florence Seriki listed the benefits of partnering with his company to include pioneering youth recruitment and empowerment in Information Technology, creating many Small Medium Establishments (SMEs), generating massive employment in ICT sector, promoting technology transfer and know-how among others.

Omatek, she said, has made some remarkable achievements, which took off in 1986, started by training its executives on one-on-one basis. After becoming premium partners with major brands in 1991, it launched its first locally assembled Omatek Computer brand from Semi Knocked Down (SKD) assembly in 1993 in Nigeria and by 2003, Omatek commenced to established its first locally assembly factory on the continent.

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ATCON plans summit on local content

Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), would in the coming weeks host stakeholders to a summit on local content.

President, ATCON, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem gave this indication while briefing the press recently in Lagos.

He also said that the one-day stakeholders summit on Local Content Development in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, is a focus to examine the challenges faced in developing local contents in the sector.

The summit will equally enable stakeholders to develop a position paper for a policy framework on local content development in the nation.

Dr. Ekuwem pointed out that ATCON feels strongly that local ICT infrastructure providers require some measure of protection against their multinational counterparts whose corporate strength could extinguish the local players.

Local hardware and software developers, he noted, must be given some kind of support to enable them grow, expand and continue to provide employment to millions of Nigerians.

“Thus helping to eradicate poverty in our land. It is envisaged that if government and other relevant institutions, like the financial institutions, do not provide adequate protection and support to our local ICT industrialists, they would be heading towards economic doom,” he warned.

In addition, he said that the summit would devise ways of encouraging the building of local database that would form the Nigerian content in the global ICT circuit.

“It has been established that Nigerians talk more than they write and this contributes to the low level of Nigerian content in the global cyberspace,” he noted.

Dr. Ekuwem who also is the executive vice chairman, Teledom Group International said that the trend has to change if the nation must take its rightful place in the world’s ICT reckoning.

He emphasized that highly intellectual speakers have been contacted to make presentations and contribute to discussions at the summit slated for end of March 2008.

ATCON, he said, is partnering with leading hardware and software providers as well as frontline banks and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in hosting the event.

ATCON has also announced preparations for its Annual General Meeting (AGM) holding in April 2008, while top on the agenda at the forthcoming AGM would be the presentation of Annual Reports and 2007 Audited Accounts as well as election of officers into the National Executive Council (NEC).

Just as the current NEC tenure is due to expire in April shortly before the proposed date for the election.

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Etisalat selects Ericsson for mobile expansion

The Egyptian mobile operator, Etisalat Misr has selected Ericsson for its network expansion.

This follows an agreement recently endorsed between the two companies to boost the mobile broadband in the region, bringing Etisalat Misr’s total investment with Ericsson equipment and services to more than EUR 200 million, about N23.467 million, to date.

The deal according to Head, Corporate and Marketing Communications, Ericsson West Africa, Mr. Olabode Sowunmi Jnr, entails that Ericsson would deliver a complete turnkey build out of the mobile network, including Global System for Mobile (GSM) and Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) cum High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) radio equipment, microwave transmission and a core network consisting Mobile Softswitch.

Also, Ericsson was contracted to expand the convergent charging and billing solution, stressing that the turnkey solution includes site acquisition, civil works, supply, installation, testing, commissioning and integration services.

This, he said, would further enhance Etisalat Misr as one of the first operators in Northern Africa to deploy GSM and WCDMA/HSPA technologies in its network, through highest capacity and data rates for new user applications, powered by Ericsson’s equipment and solutions.

Explaining that Ericsson has had a long-term co-operation with Etisalat, and over the past few years, the partnership between the two companies has been continuously strengthened on the basis of jointly building world-class mobile networks.

Chief executive, Etisalat Misr, Mr. Saleh El Abdooli, the latest agreement with Ericsson, is yet another major steps forward in aligning the interests of the operator and the vendor partner, adding that the initiative will substantially strengthen Etisalat’s leadership position as a provider of high-tech telecom services to its customers.

Chairman, Ericsson’s Central Europe Middle East and Africa (CEMA) Region, Bj√∂rn Hemstad said his firm is honoured to be selected as Etisalat’s main partner in Egypt.

Assuring that with Ericsson’s long-term close cooperation with Etisalat, “we are dedicated to supporting Etisalat in building a mobile network for the future, ensuring a clear competitive edge in the market,” he said, noting that its a major proof of Ericsson and Etisalat Misr’s strategic partnership.

“The Egyptian market is considered one of the most appealing within the emerging markets, heavily backed up by the government's policies and plans. The support of the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technologies goes in line with government commitment to speeding up the liberalization of the Egyptian marketplace and creating new job opportunities," he said.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Progenics delivers on ‘Osha electronic trading floor

Indigenous Information Technology (IT) integrator, Progenics Corp Limited, has achieved another feat with the successful commissioning of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) automated trading floor at the biggest market in West Africa, Onitsha in Anambra State.

This brings to 11th branch being powered barely a month after the completion and commissioning of 10th branch.

Speaking on the latest commissioning, chief executive of Progenics Corp Limited, Mr. Tony Udoh, said that his firm delivered on time for the take off of the Onitsha electronic trading floor.

He also reaffirmed his firm’s commitment in deploying all of its resources to ensure that the Onitsha branch of the exchange as well as the existing 10 other branches have 100 per cent uptime and support.

“This occasion is very significant because with the NSE very much on course to integrate its electronic/automated floor to other active exchanges in the continent, investors here in Onitsha will be able to do business with as many economies as possible on the continent and world as it will make it possible to have cross-listings in various exchanges, and with Progenics here in Nigeria, support for the floors across the country will never be a problem,” he asserted.

For the director general (DG) NSE, Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, with a plethora of medium and large scale business concerns within and around Onitsha in particular and the Eastern region in general, there is a need for these businesses to start benefiting from the gains of patronizing the capital market and having access to investment opportunities throughout the country.

According to her, based on the realization that the automated trading floor is designed to allow investors and shareholders have access to investment information on an online and real-time basis.

“The strength of this new trading floor is that anybody trading in Onitsha will have access to all the activities simultaneously with that of the main trading floor in Lagos as well as other branches of the exchange”, she declared.

Commending the management of NSE for ensuring the speedy implementation of the new branch in Onitsha, the Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi promised the involvement of his administration in ensuring that the new trading floor of the exchange never lacks of any facility that will sustain it.

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HP, Unilever enter 7-year outsourcing contract

Hewlett Packard (HP) and Unilever global have announced an extension of their relationship with the signing of a seven-year outsourcing contract for the management of Unilever’s technology infrastructure in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Turkey and Middle East.

Affirming this, the country Marketing Manager at HP, Ms Ijeoma Onyiuke, said that HP will provide an infrastructure designed to quickly adapt to the changing needs of Unilever’s business by standardizing, virtualizing and optimizing Unilever’s enterprise computing environment in the regions above as well as its client services environment in Asia Pacific, Africa, Turkey and the Middle East.

In a press statement made available to Champion Infotel, Ms. Onyiuke said that operating as a single point of contact for Unilever’s enterprise computing environment, HP will work with its strategic partners, including SAP, Microsoft and BT, to help reduce costs and ease the integration of new applications.

HP also will manage the third-party contracts within Unilever’s technology environment in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Africa, Turkey and Middle East.

She explained that through this agreement, HP will provide management of Unilever’s IT processes and services, including corporate data centres, messaging and directory services, Internet and intranet systems hosting, disaster recovery services, and the outsourcing of 4,500 multi-vendor UNIX and Windows servers and storage environments.

Chief Information Officer, Unilever, Neil Cameron, said that as part of this agreement, approximately 250 Unilever employees would transfer to HP.

“In this space, HP has demonstrated a distinctive collaborative approach combined with a clear expertise in the delivery of global services,” Cameron said, adding that this agreement is a natural extension of current relationship.

Cameron said the intention between both parties is to leverage HP’s scale, expertise and industry leadership to ensure Unilever has access to world-class technology at substantially lower costs.

Senior Vice President and general manager, HP Services for EMEA, Pablo Sanchez-Lozano, said they look forward to helping Unilever further transform its technology environment to better align with the business, adding that it will improve performance and lower operational costs.

“While HP delivers consistent and predictable service all over the globe for Unilever, they can focus their energies and resources on growing their business,” Lozano said.

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Reltelwireless toasts company of the year award

FOREMOST telecommunications solutions provider, Reltelwireless, is toasting its recent honour as the nation’s “ICT Company of The Year” in an award ceremony in Lagos.

Group Managing Director of Reltelwireless, Mr. Tony Okonkwo, while commenting on the award organised by ThisDay, dedicated the prize to the staff of the company and its teeming subscribers, who, he said, had ensured that Reltelwireless braved all the odds to bounce back to the number one position in the Coded Division Multiple Access (CDMA) segment of the telecommunications market.

“We’re greatly encouraged by this award, as it shows that the modest effort we’re making to build a wide, robust, effective, affordable and very reliable network is being noticed and appreciated,” he said.

According to him, Reltelwireless is excited to have won this award at the same time places which greater responsibilities on the telco to provide unassailable service to subscribers.

“We’re, indeed humbled by this recognition,” he said.

Equally speaking, the Executive Vice-Chairman of Reltelwireless, Mr. Ken Aigbinode, expressed gratitude to all Nigerians who have kept faith with the company, and by whose vote the company has been named number one in its category.

He promised that the company would repay the confidence by embarking on several initiatives that will further make access to quality telephony affordable to all existing and potential subscribers.

“Our subscribers have made us number one. On our part, we shall continue to make them number one in every aspect of our operations, by developing and introducing revolutionary products, providing cutting-edge value added services, and continuing with our aggressive pan-Nigeria roll-out programme,” Mr. Aigbinode assured.

Champion Infotel recalls that Reltelwireless recently launched the dual-SIM phone, into the market and had earlier acquired the Unified Access Service License with national spectrum to cover all the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).



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Lagos explains partnership with EuroAfrica-ICT

The Lagos State Government has explained why it partnered with the EuroAfrica-ICT on a just concluded two-day workshop based on the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission under the director-general of the Information Society and Media.

Adducing these reasons, the Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat said its based on focus and commitment to sustain and improve upon the achievements made in the domain in the last eight years within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

He also said at the workshop, which has as its focus, awareness and exchange that it’s the desire of the government to achieve a sustainable traffic management strategy structured on ICT for the optimal benefit of the citizenry.

“It’s the intention of the government to design and achieve sustainable traffic management strategy and security management network through ICT with the aim of improving the welfare and living condition of the citizen,” he asserted.

Dr. Hamzat reiterated at the workshop held at the University of Lagos Centre for Information and Technology Systems (UNILAG-CITS), Akoka-Lagos, the willingness of the Babatunde Fashola-led state government to work with EuroAfrica through its collaborators like the Panos Institute for West Africa (PIWA) for research, technological development and demonstration of activities as the main financial tools through which the European Union (EU) supports research and development activities covering all scientific disciplines in the third world countries.

While commending PIWA for bringing the workshop to Nigeria and particularly to Lagos State, the commissioner, tasked Nigerian ICT community to ensure they proffer solutions to numerous challenges confronting the nation’s ICT as well as looking at modalities and ways to benefit from the FP7.

Also speaking, the regional coordinator for EuroAfrica-ICT at PIWA, Mr. Ken Lohento, said that the Lagos meeting centred on introduction the EU’s FP7 to the ICT community in the country and how they could tap into the project for the entire benefit of the community and the country at large.

He also informed that objectives and activities of EuroAfrica-ICT/START initiative were unveiled at the occasion, especially on the available helpdesk services as well as raising salient issues concerning national research and development in the ICT field and meeting the most of advanced local organisations and networking.

The workshop was organised by PIWA as part of the EuroAfrica-ICT consortium in partnership with the Lagos State government with support from UNILAG-CITS and the National Centre for Technology Management (NACTEM) based at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, Oyo State-Nigeria.

The event further featured ICT exhibition from local companies lead by an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Omatek Computers, Leapsoft Limited, Alpha Beta Consulting to name a few.



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Galaxy orders 250 VSAT

The federal government owned Galaxy Backbone (GBB) Plc has ordered 250 Very Small Aparture Terminals (VSAT) as part of its National Information, Communication and Education Programme (NICEP), reports Charles Okoh.

NICEP is designed to deploy 5,000 VSAT nodes all over the 36 states and 774 local governments including government ministries, departments and agencies.

Marketing and Corporate Communications manager, GBB, Mr. Franklyn Ginger Eke, said that the order is part of the FG desire to provide connectivity and transversal services to its Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) and to facilitate digital inclusion of rural and under-served communities and locations in Nigeria.

He also said that this order is expected to have arrived the country because it was air-freighted last weekend and would be delivered before this week runs off considering all logistics.

Mr Eke in a press statement made available to Champion Infotel said that NICEP infrastructure is based on Internet Protocol (IP) technology, will support the entire spectrum of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services, focusing especially on such initiatives as e-Government, e-Education, e-Health, e-Commerce among others and will be connected directly to the Government Data Centre in Abuja.

He further said the NICEP pilot testing which started in the last quarter of 2007, with sites spread across the six geo-political zones of the country and some locations in federal universities, post offices, unity schools and security agencies, would be completed this month.



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Nokia launches two classic phones

Leader in mobility communications, Nokia, has launched two new classic phones into the global market, namely the Nokia 2600 Classic and Nokia 1209.

General Manager Nokia Nigeria, Mr. Fady Khatib, said the two colour mobile phones are aimed at consumers in emerging markets like Nigeria, especially in offering useful features; range of colours or exchangeable covers for consumers in emerging markets.

He revealed that Nokia 2600 classic, has already commenced shipping to Nigeria whilst the Nokia 1209 will become available by June this year.

He further said that the introduction of these phones, especially Nokia 2600 classic, affords consumers to customize their phone with colourful, fully changeable Xpress-on covers and MP3 ring tones.

Nokia 2600 classic, for instance, he pointed out comes with a number of features of entertainment features, including an FM radio and a Video Graphics Array (VGA) camera.

“While cost sensitivity is an important element in creating mobile devices for emerging markets, the overwhelming feedback we receive from consumers in these markets is that they want their mobile device to complement their personality and offer a range of colours and entertainment features,” he said.

Mr. Khatib added that Nokia 2600 classic offers a colourful sense of flair and a robust set of features at an exceptionally accessible price.

“As with all Nokia devices, it is backed by a brand that stands for quality and durability,” he said.



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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Operators warm up for LTE battle

A new phase of war is brewing in the global telecommunications market-place with operators toasting equipment manufacturers to support their migration to the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) at various levels.

Experts described LTE as the next evolution in mobile network standards that offers superior user experience, enhancing applications such as mobile video, blogging, advanced gaming, rich multimedia telephony among other services and is known to interoperate with existing cellular systems, according to the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

Insight at the just concluded 2008 World Mobile Congress (WMC) in Barcelona, Spain indicated that several operators keen on raising the tally of contemporary networks invaded the four-day congress in search of reliable allies from equipment manufacturers such as Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Siemens Networks to name a few, so as to commence talks or seal partnership deals.

This is coming as the organisers of WMC informed that LTE operators globally would be accommodated within the Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA), even as China Mobile announced at the end of events last weekend, that its commencing trial of LTE platform alongside Vodafone and Verizon Wireless.

According to the Chief Technology Officer of GSMA, Mr. Alex Sinclair, the emergence of LTE after the completion of its standardization by the 3GPP is a major landmark in deployment of high capacity mobile networks with capabilities of delivering very high speed and low latency services.

He explained that the conclusion of LTE standards proclaims the technical baseline for the GSM family of technologies.

“The GSMA is delighted to welcome LTE into the fold as the next step in the evolution of GSM,” he declared.

He also said that LTE specifications would pave the way for future roadmap for existing operator members to offer mobile broadband in form of High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) cum Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) and Global System for Mobile communications (GSM).

Also at the congress, Ericsson announced its selection as Super Third Generation (Super 3G/LTE) vendor as it clinched deal with Japanese NTT DoCoMo.

Executive Vice President and Head, Business Unit Networks at Ericsson, Kurt Jofs said that the leading equipment vendor, has previously demonstrated LTE in Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) mode, with speeds of up to 160 Mega Bytes Per Second (Mbps) and for the first time established LTE in both FDD and Time Division Duplex (TDD) mode on the same base station platform.

Vice President, LTE Product Management at Alcatel-Lucent, Mr. Paul Larbey revealed that outcome of the congress was the alliance his firm formed with the mobile subsidiary of LG Electronics in efforts to deliver mobile broadband to end-users and expand their collaboration on the development, testing and commercialisation of LTE, especially on research and development as well as interoperability testing efforts in order to harmonise their contributions to 3GPP standards development with a team to support on-going customer trials.

Equally, Alcatel-Lucent was in another marriage with NEC Corporation to broaden collaboration to market what the alliance described as advanced end-to-end communications solutions, through a joint venture to further develop LTE wireless broadband access.

As at the time of filing this report, Nigerian operators, especially on GSM platform are battling the declining quality of service (QoS) and is even yet to optimise the so-called deployment of 3G, which made front pages in the last quarter.

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Wincor honours Computer Warehouse

Automated Teller Machine (ATM) giant, Wincor Nixdorf, has honoured the Computer Warehouse Limited (CWL), the hardware subsidiary of the Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), as its best new partner.

The Chief Operating Officer (COO), CWL, Mr. Phillip Obioha, while making this known said that the award fortnight ago was presented at a ceremony in Astoria Hotel Paderbon, Germany.

According to him, the award came CWL way based on a remarkable achievement in deployment and support for the acclaimed Wincor ATMs in the country.

Presenting the award, Managing Director, Wincor, Mr. Jorg Brinkmoller said that CWL achieved this by making sales worth $5 million within the year under review.

“The highest achieved by any new partner of Wincor,” he said.

Mr. Brinkmoller also commended CWL for the quality of support services offered in the region.

“Our customers have expressed high regard for your responsiveness and customer centric values. We trust that you shall keep up this outstanding performance in the coming year” he said.

Reacting to the award, Mr. Obioha, expressed thanks to the customers who have made this feat possible with their cherished patronage and the confidence reposed in CWL.

As said by him, “This award challenges us to continue to be responsive to our customers’ requests and stop at nothing to ensure outstanding service experience for all our customers.”

Champion Infotel recalls that CWL Infrastructure was appointed a Wincor partner in February 2007 to focus not only on sales but equally to use the wealth of experience garnered in the market to bring to bear on better after sales service to the customer.

He further disclosed that through the sister company, ExpertEdge Software, CWL shall bring more value to Wincor customers by customizing the Wincor software for better customer experience on their ATMs.

CWL Infrastructure specializes in the supply, installation and support of computer hardware and ancillary operating systems and middleware systems, as well as managed services on an outsourced basis for clients who chose to outsource their whole IT operations or a part thereof to CWL.

Relatively, Wincor Nixdorf is a market leader in the ATM business. Wincor stands for competitive processes and efficient workflow at bank branches and retail outlets. Banks tap Wincor Nixdorf expertise to strengthen branch network as important sales channel. Intelligent networks between store and headquarters raise efficiency levels in the retail industry.

Also, there is tangible demand for Wincor Nixdorf expertise in other industries with branch structures.

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Expert advises corporations on Human Firewalls

FOR electronic businesses to thrive in this part of the world, corporate organisations must invest in ‘Human Firewalls’ according to the Managing Director, Digital Jewels, Mrs. Adedoyin Odunfa.

Human Firewalls are those professionals who are armed with enough information and training to prevent a security breach in their organisations as outlined by Odunfa.

Speaking in Lagos, Mrs. Odunfa said that this has become imperative now that most businesses are migrating and developing electronic platforms.

Mrs. Odunfa who also is the chief executive of the independent information technology (IT) consulting entity, said that with focus on development of knowledge economy across the continent and Nigeria precisely, there is need to channel energies into building sustainable human firewalls.

With eye on becoming the continental trusted numero uno in guiding knowledge economy, Mrs. Odunfa said that the biggest challenge for the development of e-business in emerging economies is the absence of highly skilled human capital.

Such professionals, she said, are in short supply in the country, adding that in order to reverse the trend, Digital Jewels is poised to apply the “TEA” approach to it by providing Training, Education and Awareness (TEA) for organisations that are eager to develop and maintain critical e-business approach.

“We use the acronym TEA. Through this we would train people to know what to do, educate them to understand the issues and continuously spread awareness such that everyone, from the teller in the bank; the front desk officer, the call centre agent, to the top management executive, everybody will know that information security is central to the success of their business,” she said.

Mrs. Odunfa, noted that many organisations are comfortable with physical business with little understanding of e-business.

“In some organisations, those who are at the helms of affairs are yet to understand the impact and implications of the digital revolution,” she decried.

She pointed out that her team at Digital Jewels has been able to take cursor look at the information value chain and the objective so as to see how they could add value, by helping organisations to improve their value and benefits derivable from the information within their organisations.

“We found out that many times, people understand tangible assets. The banks for instance, understand the need to secure their branches. However, many really do not appreciate the need to secure and take advantage, as well as benefit from intangible assets,” she informed, explaining that if one actually value assets across the organisations, it is possible to find out that information is perhaps the most valuable asset.

“Especially if you are in service business and even if you are not in service business; information is still a valuable asset to you,” Mrs. Odunfa said.

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SaveMyContacts to empower 1,000 Nigerians

MOBILE phonebook backup provider, SaveMyContacts has concluded plans to empower 1,000 Nigerians via a comprehensive Information and Communication Technology (ICT) programme that would lead to the award of International Computer Driving License (ICDL) certification.

Company spokes woman, Ms. Nkiruka Mordi said that this would be achieved in the next 10 years.

‘We’re doing this as a pure corporate social responsibility initiative,» she declared.

She explained that the eventual beneficiaries do not have to be subscribers to the firm’s backup services.

Although she noted that at N2,500 per annum, the backup is up for grab, even as the firm has decided to contribute its quota through development of human capital.

According to her, training estimated 100 students annually in the next 10 years, she said, is SaveMyContacts own small contribution to the society.

She added that ICDL is making significant concessions to support the initiative.

She also said that the ICDL suite of curricula has been thoroughly researched and developed to suit all levels of intending participants.

She further said that ICDL through the initiative would deliver training from the novice user point of view upto the expert users format.

While SaveMyContacts is expected to commence selection of candidates across the country based on criteria soon to be published on its website, www.savemycontactsng.com.

She further pointed out that SaveMyContacts service allows users to backup and access their contacts from anywhere in the world.

«Users can also backup, update and download to a new handset wirelessly across Global Packet Radio Service (GPRS),» she said.

Just as it has been adopted by the Federal Government of Nigeria in addition to its presence in 140 other countries as the minimum standards of computer proficiency for the public service.

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Managing NITEL as concession for Interstella?

LAST quarter, and precisely in the month of November 2007, a Federal High Court sitting in the Aba, Abia State gave judgment in favour of Interstella Communications Limited, over the loses caused by the Nigerian Telecommunications Plc (NiTEL) management and subsequently awarded damages in excess of N14 billion of InterStella.

The awards was as a result of NITEL’s refusal and failure to interconnect the company’s network since 2002, in spite of the fact that NITEL had collected several millions of Naira from the company for 36 switching E1s, 9 transmission E1s and one international half STM1 circuit on SAT-3 undersea cable.

Primarily, the news of the awards was shocking to a across session of the country and forced various agencies of the government to reconsider their arrogant attitudes towards members of the public and private business entities that they are supposed to service but who always treated them as colonized subjects.

An aspect of the judgment against NITEL based on its indebtedness to the like of Interstella, which often being missed amidst attention by industry analysts is that with effect from the date of that judgment, given the award of 25 per cent annual interest on the debt sums of N14 billion and $12,150,000.00, the sums inadvertently earn an interest of N9,589,041.00 and $8,321.92 every 24 hours.

Since that award, in excess of N14bn in favour of InterStella, documents have come to the public domains exposing how NITEL committed the management blunders that gave rise to the award.

It is unthinkable that NITEL collected money for SAT-3 from Interstella, but failed to pay its dues to the SAT-3 cable administrators in South Africa, consequent upon which it could not provide the services.

But what actually sends wave of surprises is that in spite of this fact, NITEL made no effort to dialogue or communicate with the company, thereby forcing the company to reactivate a lawsuit earlier filed against the organisation.

This, industry observers said is very unfortunate and indicates what happens when a business arose out of government patronage or outright public ownership. It also goes to explain the behaviours and attitudes that cost NITEL its former position as the nation’s prime telephony services provider.

Most Nigerians may not be surprised by these findings, as they seemed contended with NICON hotel, oil and gas concessions and other politically facilitated deals of then President Olusegun Obasanjo era.

Therefore, there was no effort to change the government cum civil service management mindset in NITEL and replace it with serious private sector way of thinking. It also rationalizes why nobody in NITEL took the lawsuits serious. After all, why should an imperial government entity worry over the rights of a small entity like the plaintiffs, Interstella Communications Limited, and the Courts, which hitherto are no more than a tolerated nuisance?

Now, the NITEL’s self-inflicted wounds should be no one’s concern, yet some Nigerians and analysts to be precise would say that there is need to worry, even as others may insist the organization should be left to stew in its own urine.

But unfortunately, about 50 per cent of the company still belongs to the Nigerian public, although the exact percentage of NITEL acquired by Transcorp from the Obasanjo government remain a mystery. Thus, these factors create a legitimate condition for public concern over what is being done with NITEL.

With likely demise awaiting NITEL as its woes become a mountain of debt profile, it is necessary that government cum public shares in the telco is substantially public, hence it must be considered, protected and reflected in the actions taken to cure the entity. Thereby bringing to the fore the issue of its debts, particularly to Interstella Communications Limited, which is currently its single highest creditor, despite the revert of its sale by the Federal Government (FG) at the weekend.

And given the debt sum (N14bn) and the interests that are accruing to it on daily basis, some industry analysts are opting for a realistic way out of the woods by way of brokering an ownership structure whereby NITEL’s debts to the company could be converted to equity share while the company, Interstella takes over the management of NITEL on behalf of the government and other equity holders.

Although the aforementioned option may not just go down well with some industry observers, yet it seems to be the only way out of the crisis that has bedevilled NITEL and at least, for a given time pending when NITEL comes out of its drawing bath of debts, more so now it has gone back to the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) for a fresh option.

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MWeb Nigeria launches SSP

MWEB Nigeria has launched its School Support Programme (SSP) to empower schools in the country to deal with ever changing evolution common with impacting knowledge through technology exploitation.

Mrs Muyiwa Esomojumi of MWeb Nigeria, informed that the launch of the SSP would give students at all levels including both public and private schools as well as from the university levels to primary schools.

According to her, the initiative would assist greatly in ameliorating challenges in impacting knowledge which encompasses the imperativeness that every school must equip itself, staff and students alike to be able to operate on a social, economic, technological and political concepts of the global village.

She pointed out that knowledge is power, and as such it is of utmost importance, especially to MWeb management that the preconceived beliefs about schools operational learning structures must be discarded to enable staff and students reenergize and refocus toward achieving an organizational structure based on proven research, internal development and growth that would create a positive impact in the society at large.

She emphasised that MWEB, the largest Pan African Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) satellite provider, is concerned about the improvement of education by way of exploring technologies.

MWEB Nigeria is positioned to expand its market share through the delivery of world-class communication by providing clientele with effective, efficient, high quality and reliable service.

“We aim to partner educational institutions to take learning online and enable Nigerian children leapfrog into the digital age,” she said.

Hence, she said that MWeb has subsidized the cost of equipment, installation and subscription for schools at affordable prices.

“We currently partner over 120 schools including leading public and private schools, through the MTN School Connect, Schoolnet, and NEPAD to provide Internet access in schools,” she said.

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Lagos, EuroAfrica partner on ICT workshop

THE Lagos State Government is partnering the EuroAfrica Information and Communication Technology (EuroAfrica-ICT) Initiative on a two-day ICT workshop in the state, which begins today.

The workshop scheduled to hold at the Centre for Information Technology Systems (CITS) University of Lagos (UNILAG) is also supported by the National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM).

Regional Coordinator, EuroAfrica ICT project, Mr. Ken Lohento disclosed that the workshop would have the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) as special guest of honour alongside the Minister of Science and Technology, Chief (Mrs) Grace Ekpiwhre.

Also, the Trade and Economics Officer, Delegation of the European Commission to Nigeria, Mr. Ibi Ikpoki is expected to give an opening remark on the first day.

The workshop targeted at creating awareness and exchange, he said, is in support of the European Union ‘s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for Research and Technological Development is to develop and strengthen scientific and technological cooperation between the two regions of Europe and Africa.

According to him, the workshop would feature experts in ICT industry including Ms. Francisca Onaolapo, lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka-Anambra State who would preside at the first session while the President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and Director, CITS, Prof. Charles Uwadia is expected to deliver a paper on Research and Development in ICT field in West Africa-Constraints and Opportunities, even as the national coordinator, Corporative Information Network (COPINE), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. O.K. Yesufu would dwell on IT Penetration: Towards Development of Human Capacity.

Equally, Senior officer, eShekels Limited, Ms Jessica Akoh is billed to tackle ‘Nigeria ICT outlook and forecasts through eShekels experience,’ just as the President Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) and Managing Director, PiNet Informatics, Mr. Lanre Ajayi would address the occasion on R&D in ICT field on the continent, the private sector view.

President, Information Technology Industry Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Dr. Jimson Olufuye, it was gathered would preside over the afternoon session on the first day with Project Coordinator, Orionis at EuroAfrica-ICT, Ms Roseline Favresse taking participants on the EuroAfrica-ICT initiative, while chief executive, NACETEM, Dr. Willie Siyanbola, would take the floor on e-nnovate R&D in Nigeria-Creating a bi-directional flow between researchers and business, with the day rounded off with speaker from the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) secretariat.

In addition, Managing Director, NIGOMSAT Limited, Alhaji Ahmed Rufai would preside over another session where the ICT coordinator, NACETEM, Mr. Michael Awoleye, would be presenting paper on Modelling adoption of e-learning in Nigerian universities, among others.

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CBN honours eTranzactCBN honours eTranzact

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has honoured electronic payment solution provider, eTranzact for its innovation and ingenuity in the financial sector of the economy.

At the occasion attended by organisations in the financial sector and meant for recognition of their immense contribution to the sector’s growth and development, CBN named eTranzact as its Best Entrepreneur Most Innovative Product - Services.

Champion Infotel recalls that eTranzact prides itself as the nation’s foremost online real-time payment system that allows individuals and corporate account holders to pay for goods and services without stress.

Additionally, eTranzact also enables transfer of funds to any bank account or cell phone across the country, as well as payment of bills and order products online using their eTranzact cards.

At the event held in Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, CBN portrayed eTranzact as a unique service organization whose innovation is helping to drive the scheme of making Nigeria a cashless society.

The award, CBN officials said, is a testimony to eTranzact’s groundbreaking approach to resolving the nation’s banking and commercial challenges technologically.

“eTranzact is pioneering the Mobile Commerce (mCommerce) and the Mobile Banking culture in Nigeria and beyond. eTranzact solutions which won CBN attention and honour include eTranzact Payout let, mCommerce, eCommerce Services, eTranzact WebAccess, Business-to-Business (B2B) Services, Telco Services, and ATM Access,” the official said.

Chief executive, eTranzact, Mr. Valentine Obi, informed that even employers could pay their employees’ salary using the eTranzact platform and these services are genuinely creative and flexible for people to use.

He further said as a multi-channel payment platform, eTranzact enables people make payment for goods and services via different channels.

“It is possible, for instance, to pay for an airline ticket on Aero or Virgin Nigeria from the comfort of your desk in the office, without the need to rush to the frontline of the airline,” he said.

Enlightening that all eTranzact cardholder needs do afterwards “is to check in your luggage and board the aircraft,” adding that for parents and guardians who need to settle their children’s school fees, it might be cumbersome going through the rowdy banking hall and the protocols.

“But with eTranzact card, you just press some buttons on your mobile phone and the transaction is completed,” he said.

According to him, a major achievement is the possibility of Nigerian and Ghanaian eTranzact cardholders to withdraw cash from any ATM in Nigeria and Ghana and still have their accounts debited accordingly.

This service, he said, was designed for all categories of people who travel between Nigeria and Ghana, just as stakeholders commended the eTranzact’s partnership with Intercontinental Bank to bring this idea to fruition, which is known as iCash.

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