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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Durotoye applauds Etisalat on youth empowerment

internationalLY acclaimed motivational speaker, Mr. Fela Durotoye applauded Etisalat Nigeria on youth empowerment.

Durotoye who spoke at the a career summit sponsored by Etisalat for the Batch A corps members of the National Youth Service Corps in Lagos state, as lead speaker, over weekend, said that the forum tagged “9JA career summit” career talk opportunity
like this presents an advantage for the Nigerian graduates.

And for a company like Etisalat to channel its resources in this direction, is a strong indication that the company believes in the Nigerian youth and its future.

“I am more than grateful and on behalf of Nigeria, I say thank you Etisalat,” he declared.

Durotoye who is the founder of Visible Impact charged the corps members to create positive change wherever they find themselves and reposition their careers for national significance. Also speaking, Director, Learning and Development, National
Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mrs. Oyegbamgbose Jemeribe, enjoined the youth corps members to be focused as they move ahead in their career.

The summit was organized in partnership with E-Green Ltd, a sustainable human capital and corporate investment management firm and executed through Mind the Gap (MTGap), a career mentoring project aimed at improving the leadership and problem solving skills of youth corps members, the summit also had Olumuyiwa Olulaja of KPMG as one of the speakers.

Equally speaking, Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Wael Ammar, said,

“We’re interested in the total development of our graduates”, stressing that the success of the event elicits a satisfactory feeling.

He pointed out that the response of the corps members was indeed overwhelming and is a strong indication that they value what they have gained from the speakers.

“We hope that through this summit, the youth will be inspired, motivated and enlightened to create the needed positive change wherever they find themselves, through their chosen career, thus contributing to economic and national development,” he said.

In his contribution, the Principal Partner, E-Green Ltd., Mr. Tayo Olosunde explained that the objective of the summit is to provide a mainstream platform whereby youths could reposition their careers for national significance.

“The call of this generation is the pursuit of greatness by realigning their personal aspirations towards national aspirations. To achieve this, there is need to regroup, retain, retool and refocus this vast manpower into a dynamic workforce that will drive our future economic growth and development. It is a priceless support we are getting from Etisalat for a ground breaking event such as this” he said.


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Zain Group approves sale to Indian Bharti

A press statement issued by the Corporate Communications Department, Zain Group and made available to ITRealms Online at the weekend, confirmed this.

Additionally Zain stated that further to the announcement made by its parent company, the KSC, on behalf of ‘Zain’, on February 16, 2010, with respect on the sale of its African unit, ‘Zain Africa BV’ to Bharti Airtel Limited, the company confirmed that its board of directors in Kuwait med on Wednesday 24 March 2010, to review the latest developments and negotiations related to this matter.

The board, also said it was pleased to report that the due diligence process was completed and that the parties are finalizing definitive agreements, which are expected to be signed in the coming days.

ITRealms Online gathered at upon signing the deal, the parties would move towards getting any required approvals.

“It has been reported that Bharti has already secured the entire financing requirement of USD 8.3 billion for this transaction,” part of the press statement
read.

In addition, Zain Group made it clear that the current discussion, the sale of ‘Zain Africa BV’ does not include Zain’s operation in Sudan or its investment in Morocco.

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7-point agenda lacks IT component – CPN

•Plans IT Assembly-10

The Registrar, Computer Professionals (Registration) Council of Nigeria (CPN), Mr. Sikiru Shehu, has disclosed that the Federal Government’s seven point agenda lacks Information Technology (IT) component, just as the group’s annual conference otherwise tagged IT Assembly, would hold in Abuja in July.

According to him, this year’s conference has been planned to place IT at the heart of government’s development programmes for the country.

He noted that globally IT had become one of the major means through which countries achieve economic and military might, stressing that this situation, has made many countries to adopt various means of possessing expertise in IT and have also developed various products for global use, insisting that Nigeria must tow the same line.

He also said CPN had observed that the current development effort of government lacked IT element, submitting that this was a major lapse that must be redressed.
“Nigeria must prioritize IT in the quest for national development. We have examined government’s seven-point an agenda and have seen that it lacks IT component. We want to appeal to government to change this as no nation can put information technology aside and hope to develop. Such a nation is in trouble,” Shehu declared.

As said by him, CPN is to confer with government to find ways of incorporating IT into the nation’s current vision of making Nigeria one of the 20 leading economies in the world by the year 2020.

On IT Assembly, Shehu said the council intends to continue to build on achievements of the past by repositioning the computing profession and placing it in the position that it deserves.

In addition, he said, the industry must have standards and that a situation whereby some people simply jump into the industry and begins to practice without following government-approved methods must be stopped.

The registrar, further said, a necessary point to begin is in IT education which, he noted, is not yet at the point it should be despite the fact that the country now had an IT curriculum for use in schools.

“It is time for us to walk what we talk. We must correct the current situation whereby public schools cannot effectively deliver IT education even though we have agreed that IT education should be compulsory,” he said.

Mr. Shehu equally said that this year’s assembly would also focus on how the country could harness the expected increase in bandwidth for national development.

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ICANN manager for Nigeria Internet forum

Regional manager for Africa at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Ms Anne Rachel Inne, has confirmed participation at the 2010 edition of the Nigeria Internet Governace Forum.

ICANN was created by the late Jon Postel in the fall of 1998 in response to a policy statement issued by the US Department of Commerce and ever since, has continued to serve the global internet community as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers.

Disclosing this last weekend, she said, that the event scheduled to hold on Friday, April 16 in Lagos, is a crucial one that should be encouraged by all well-meaning stakeholders who has an electronic mail and uses the internet, hence she resolved to ensure active participation of her agency.

Confirming this, the organizers of the event through its Executive Director, Operations, Digital Sense Africa (DSA), Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke said that it is heart-warming to have ICANN African office support the forum meant to generate enlightenment and spur opinions with focuse on Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) and Internet Governance in particular.

She also said that the ICANN manager would be offering some insights into what the global internet coordinating agency has been doing and what the future looks like.

According to the DSA boss, Ms Anne would be dwelling on ‘ICANN Update’ at the one-day forum, which is on its second year and being supported by the likes of MTN Nigeria, Teledom Group, Omatek as well as industry groups including the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Nigeria Internet Exchange Point Limited, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) to name a few.

Further, she disclosed that the forum to be held at the Golden Gate Ikoyi-Lagos and would be presided over by the President, Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) Chief Samuel Adeleke, who doubles as the chairman of Steineng Group.

Meanwhile she noted that the Nigeria’s first Information Technology (IT) youth ambassador and Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Mr. Gbenga Sesan has been slated to tackle the menace of cybercrime among Nigerian youths at the 2010 Internet Governance billed for Lagos, next month.

Commenting on the development, Mr. Sesan said that his organization is concerned over the unprecedented increase of Nigerian youths on cybercrime, thus they are interested in proffering solutions to move the nation forward.

The forum being put together by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Digital Sense Africa (DSA) to sensitize populace in the country, he said, is crucial, especially its theme: Five Years of IGF: The Way Forward for Nigeria.

Equally, he said, more outcome of the research conducted by PIN would be unveiled at the occasion, urging Nigerians, both old and young to come and learn and know where to join forces in the fight against online crimes in the country.

He maintained that Nigerians are brilliant and energetic set of people that should not allow the negative aspect of technology to take over their thinking cap.

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ITU urges Iran to end satellite interference

Telecommunications regulatory organ of the United Nations (UN), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has urged the Iranian government to end interference on satellite operations belong to European Satellite Organisation (EUTELSAT).

ITU made this call through its Radio Regulations Board (RRB), which recently concluded its week-long deliberations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Among the issues discussed was that of interference with radio signals from satellite networks operated by the European Satellite Organization, EUTELSAT.

Communications Officer, ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, Ms Grace Petrin, in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online, noted that the Administration of France, had on behalf of EUTELSAT satellite operator, notified the Radio Regulations Board (RRB) of the interference emanating from the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

She noted that while also considering correspondence from the Administration of Iran, the RRB determined that EUTELSAT satellite networks, operating in the orbital positions at 9E, 13E, 21.5E and 25.5E are receiving harmful interference.

Thus, the Board pointed out that “the interfering signals appear to be of a nature that is prohibited under Radio Regulations No. 15.1”.

The Radio Regulations Board submitted that the interference appeared to be emanating from the territory of Iran “based on measurements provided by the Administration of France, and having confidence in the measurement techniques and technologies used, because they are recognized in the ITU-R Handbook on Spectrum Monitoring.”

The interference, ITU reported to have persisted for some time, adversely affecting the operation of several EUTELSAT satellite transponders and channels.

“The Radio Regulations Board urged the Administration of Iran to continue its effort in locating the source of interference and to eliminate it as a matter of the highest priority,” she declared.

According to Petrin, the Administration of France and the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau under the leadership of Mr. Mindaugas Zilinskas of Lithuania, as chairman, have been called upon to assist the Administration of Iran in identifying the source of the interference.

The Radio Regulations Board is a part-time body comprising 12 members representing the world EURTMs five regions: the Americas, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia.

Among the Board EURTMs responsibilities is to approve the technical criteria used by the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau in the application of Radio Regulations, to consider reports of harmful interference and to formulate recommendations for their resolution. If agreement cannot be reached between an administration and the Board on a Rule of Procedure, the matter is submitted to a World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) for ruling.

The next WRC will be held January-February 2012.

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Babalola, Taiwo receive prizes in Glo’s Bid2Win promo

An unemployed accountant, Mr. Abbie Ayodeji Babalola and a housewife, Mrs Eleanor Taiwo have emerged winners in the on-going Glo’s Bid2Win promotion.

The two have since last week taken possession of their prizes; while Mr. Babalola received his brand new Kia Rio in Okitipupa, Ondo State, Mrs. Taiwo was presented with her car at Ogba-Lagos.

The presentations were handed over to the winners by Glo’s Nollywood ambassadors, namely Mr. Nonso Diobi, Ms. Monalisa Chinda and Ms. Chioma Chukwuka.

Speaking at the presentation in Okitipupa, Ondo State to Mr. Babalola, a 1998 Accountancy graduate of from the University of Ado Ekiti (UNAD), Glo ambassador, Ms Monalisa Chinda said Globacom is a company well known for keeping its promises to subscribers. She said Globacom decided to bring the prize to the winner’s doorstep to demonstrate to Nigerians that the announced prizes were truly being won.

In his remarks, Globacom’s Regional Manager for Akure Region, Mr. Lawrence Okpako, said the promo was one of the company’s numerous ways of rewarding its customers, stressing that the campaign, which is running alongside the Recharge and Go To old Trafford promo, were means of reaching out to the network’s subscribers with the aim of touching their lives positively.

“Globacom appreciates its customers and continues to show this appreciation through the instrumentality of its promos. By giving outstanding prizes to our subscribers, we intend to express appreciation for their goodwill,” he said.

He emphasized that Glo also wish, with this doorstep presentation, to show that wherever its customer are, they are recognized.

Responding, the winner, Mr. Babalola, thanked Globacom for its consistency and transparency and for being a network which places a huge premium on its subscribers.

Babalola said he had been using his Glo line since the inception of the network in 2003 and never had cause to regret the decision.

For Mrs Taiwo, she had participated in promos of other networks, before now, but found BID2WIN promo exciting and highly interactive.

She admitted that she was motivated by the interactive nature of the promo to continue playing.

“Even when I was called that I had won, I kept playing. It was fun for me”, she admitted, noting that the brand new car was a heaven-sent gift for her family.

“Globacom has ruled my world in a way and it has kept the promise,” she asserted.

Globacom Business Director, Lagos, Mr Opeyemi Dairo, said at the Ogba presentation that the operator delivers whenever it made promises, pointing out that the presence of Glo team in Ogba axis was not just to present the car but also to identify with the people of the area.


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114 winneers emerge in Visafone Easter bonanza

A total of 144 winners emerged last weekend in the Visafone Easter package including two lucky subscribers who won brand Kia Rio.

The event, which held in Lagos saw the first in the line-up of draws, producing winners in several prizes comprised of generating sets, Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) TV’s, home theatres, washing machines, CK music phones, Motorola V9m phones and N1,000 free airtime.

ITRealms Online recalled that Visafone, a leading Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator recently announced package to reward subscribers on the network with 10 cars in 10 weeks among other prizes.

The Managing Director, Visafone, Mr. Mr. Ramachandran Balachandran, expressed appreciation to subscribers of the network, “for their unwavering loyalty to the Visafone brand.”

He also said that the Visafone Easter celebration is an initiative in which 10 lucky subscribers would win 10 brand new Kia Rio cars in 10 weeks.

Also, he said the draws would be held in the weeks to come and would climax on May 30, 2010, when 10 lucky subscribers would have walked away with 10 cars.

The initiative involves new subscribers activating a new line and existing subscribers recharging at least N400 in a week to stand a chance of winning a car and other fantastic prizes.

Visafone, which recently updated its network capacity to 5 million, he said, is known for its programmes that are benefitting to subscribers, aside giving them value for money through attractive tariffs and excellent voice and data quality.

Balachandran, recollected that Visafone, which roll-out commercial operation in February, 2008, has grown to become Nigeria’s 4th largest mobile operator by active subscriber base, stressing that Visafone presently covers 23 states of the federation and over 171 cities nationwide.

The wholly Nigerian company operates with the service ideals of quality, clarity and coverage.

The network which promises to renew the joy of communication and give Nigerians the passport to reach the world, recently upgraded its network capacity to 5 million.

Visafone has recorded several firsts since its establishment, the most recent being its certification by CDG as the first Open Market Handsets (OMH) compliant network in Africa. Visafone has won several prestigious awards for excellence, innovation and customer initiatives.

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21st Century plans new products @ W.Afri.Tel expo

One of the leading telecom-munications company, 21st Century Technologies Limited, has advanced plans to unveil a new set of products and services at the 10th West African International Telecommunications and Information Technology exhibition (W.Afri.Tel 2010).

The company also said that it sees W.Afri.Tel as a vantage option to launch a new direction for the company.

Chief Executive Officer, 21st Century Technologies, Mr. Wale Ajisebutu noted that W.Afri.Tel provides his firm the ample opportunity to create the necessary awareness and showcase its products and services, which the company has taken some years to develop.

The event scheduled to take place at the new modern Eko Expo Hall, from June 1-3, W.Afri.Tel 2010 would provide a platform for the sub-region’s leading mobile, telecom and ICT operators as well as equipment manufacturers, networks solutions providers, computers and computing companies, among others, to put their best and latest products and services on display.

“We see W.Afri.Tel as the ultimate technology exhibition for the West African sub-region, for any leading telecom company to demonstrate its capabilities and showcase what it has for the market. This is why we are going to the event, with products and services that the public has never seen in this region before,” he said.

Mr. Ajisebutu, pointed out that 21st Century Technologies, which has a long history as a fixed line telephone operator and an international carrier –of-carriers, has been crucially involve in serving corporate market in the country with advanced technological telephone services.

Presently, he said, the firm has seen the need to further its offerings, based on market readiness for new products and services.

“Some people think that the growth in the Nigerian telecom market is slowing down. But, I tell you, with new and innovative ideas, there is hardly any limit to the growth in this market,” he declared, stressing that is why his firm decided to storm W.Afri.Tel 2010 to showcase some of the most innovative and exciting products and services that have been packaged for this market.

Confirming 21st Century Technologies booking for W.Afri.Tel 2010, Mr. Mkpe Abang, Editor-in-Chief of IT & Telecom Digest, sole Nigeria agent to Exhibition Management Services, organisers of the event, said they recognize 21st Century Technologies as a leading telecom powerhouse in Africa; and their participation in W.Afri.Tel means a great offering for the sub-region, which has great needs for new products, new technologies, new services and new ideas.

“As W.Afri.Tel celebrates 10 years of providing the ultimate platform for existing operators, new entrants and innovators to bring to the West African market the latest and the best available anywhere in the world, we are confident that 21st Century Technologies will bring to the event many exciting additions to what they already have, thereby also helping the exhibition to fulfill part of its aim, which is to help the sub-region’s telecom market to grow,” Abang said.

Noting that 21st Century Technologies is one of the first companies to not only book their participation at this year’s show, but one of the earliest to fully pay for their space.

“Because spaces are limited, it is quite competitive getting a space and having it confirmed. But 21st Century Technologies is one of the lucky companies, whose spaces have been fully confirmed because they have paid in full for it,” Abang said.


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Jegede sets agenda for incoming NCC boss

Chief Executive Officer of Phase 3 Telecoms, Mr. Stanley Jegede, has tasked the incoming Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), saying that Nigeria’s telecommunications sector needs sustained investment in the coming years if the desire to realise universal access is to be attained.

Speaking recently, Mr. Jegede, said that what should be the focus of the soon-to-be appointed chief executive and Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, is how to sustain the investment made in the sector in last 10 years.

He pointed out that though a lot of achievements have been made by the regulatory body, there was still much work to be done in the years ahead.

According to him, issues such as affordability of services, quality of services and total network development that deliver broadband services across the country were areas that further investment could help improve in the near future.

“Investment in telecommunications is an issue that must be pursued vigorously in the coming years if Nigeria is to fully bring the benefits of telecommunications to the citizenry. Just like the oil industry, investment is needed in telecommunications for Nigeria to remain the market leader in Africa and also to connect the many unconnected people that still remain in the country,” he said.

As said by him, Phase3 Telecom would continue to invest in transmission backbone development to provide the needed link that would facilitate advanced service delivery to individuals and organizations countrywide.

“At Phase3 Telecom, we realize the need for the development of the backbone that will carry traffic and ensure the availability of up-to-date services to the citizenry hence our current investment in IP backbone across the West African region using power transmission network,” he stated.

His firm, Jegede said, had investment over $100 million in the sector and would do more in order to become a leader in the provision of transmission services in the West African sub-region.

While commending the outgoing EVC of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, the Phase3 boss noted that he did so much to take the telecommunications sector to its current enviable height, stressing that the performance of Ndukwe has made him an undoubted achiever in Nigeria.

“You cannot hide a star. When you look at the sky in the night and there is a bright star shining in the sky, you will certainly see it. This is what Ndukwe represents in the telecommunications sector today. He has so impacted the telecommunications sector that one must appreciate what God has done through him for Nigeria,” he said.

Jegede said achievements of Ndukwe meant that a lot of work must be done by whosoever would be replacing him as chief executive to keep the industry at a leading position in Africa both in terms of quality of regulatory interventions as well as ensuring the delivery of expected services to Nigerians.

He therefore urged government to appoint a seasoned person to replace Ndukwe in order to ensure continuity in the development of the country’s telecommunications in the coming years.


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Controversial Chinese root server shut

Chinese root Domain Name System (DNS) server associated with networking obstructions in Chile and the United States (US) has been dislodged from the Internet, reports TechWorld.com.

Domain Name System is the Internet Protocol (IP) database system that translates a computer’s fully qualified domain names into an IP addresses.

The action, according to the report, stated that the server’s operator, Netnod, in order to resolve this problem that was causing some Internet sites to be inadvertently censored by a system set up in the People’s Republic of China.

Operators at NIC Chile, noticed that several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were providing faulty DNS information, apparently derived from China.

China uses the DNS system to enforce Internet censorship on its so-called Great Firewall of China, and the ISPs were using this incorrect DNS information.

That meant that users of the network trying to visit Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were directed to Chinese computers instead.

In Chile, ISPs VTR, Telmex and several others, all of them customers of upstream provider Global Crossing, were affected, NIC Chile said in a statement. The problem appears to have persisted for a few days before it was made public, the statement said.

A NIC Chile server in California was also hit with the problem, NIC Chile said. While it’s not clear how this server was getting the bad DNS information, it came via either Network Solutions or Equinix, according to NIC Chile.

Network Solutions was not to blame as it does not offer backbone provider services to NIC Chile, said Rick Wilhelm, the company’s vice president of engineering.

Equinix and Global Crossing could not immediately be reached for comment.

Netnod, which maintains a copy of its root DNS server in China, has now “withdrawn route announcements” made by the server, according to company CEO Kurt Lindqvist.

This effectively disconnects the server from the Internet. In an email interview, Lindqvist said he could not recall when his company took this action.

Netnod insists that its server did not contain the bad data that redirected Internet traffic, and security experts agree, saying that its data was probably being altered by the Chinese government somewhere on China’s network, in order to enforce the country’s Great Firewall.


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125 microfinance banks to deploy Remita

A total of 125 registered Micro-Finance Banks in the country are on their way to deploying Remita, an electronic payment (e-Payment) solution from Systemspecs Nigeria Limited.

This follows the deal consummated on Monday between Systemspecs Limited and Maxim-Pro in Lagos to integrate Remita with MaxiSoft banking application.

Managing Director, SystemSpecs, Mr. John Obaro, said that the deal involves the seamless integration of Remita with MaxiSoft banking application and the training of key personnel of the microfinance banks that use MaxiSoft application.

According to him, this would eventually result to spread and infusing of e-payment to rural areas in the country where most of these Microfinance banks have outlets.

“Our decision to collaborate with Maxim-Pro is to further deepen the application of True e-Payment in Nigeria payment system and to ensure that the federal government and CBN directives on payment is strengthen and sustained for greater success,” he said.

Obaro also said that while any microfinance bank would still be able to receive funds via Remita platform, microfinance banks using Maxim-Pro have the distinct advantage of a through-straight-through process between Remita and MaxiSoft.

Equally speaking, his counterpart at Maxim-Pro, Mr. Yinka Oyewumi, said his firm is confident that the right decision has been made with the partner, in addition to the choice of the right e-Payment application that would make payment a delight and transform banking in microfinance bank institutions.

He explained that Maxim-Pro is an indigenous software company whose product, MaxiSoft is used by over 125 microfinance banks nationwide.

As said by him, Maxim-Pro decision was based on the need to ensure that users of their application are properly positioned and connected to the most widely used e-Payment platform by commercial banks in Nigeria and to synch the microfinance banks payment transactions with that of mainstream banking institutions.

Also, workers whose salaries and suppliers whose accounts are domiciled in the microfinance banks can now be paid directly.

Besides, Oyewumi noted that through this collaboration the microfinance banks will become compliant to Central of Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directives and they would continuously benefit from the world class technology provided by SystemSpecs.

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Seriki emerges Amazon of ICT development

The Group Managing Director of Omatek Ventures Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki has been honoured with the Amazon of ICT Development in Nigeria Award at the National Daily Awards held last weekend in Lagos.

The organizers said in a citation read at the ceremony that Mrs. Seriki is truly worth celebrating, because she has made an outstanding impact not only in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), but across the width and breadth of Nigeria’s development landscape.

“Hers is a story of how unwavering focus for one’s passion in life can lead to unimaginable heights,” part of the citation read.

ITRealms Online recalls that Mrs. Seriki’s pursuit and ascent to success can be traced to how she followed her passion for the ‘new box’ to help train her bosses in her N.Y.S.C days on the use of the Personal Computer(PC) which only served as a decorative item on their tables at the time.

In addition, the organizers said from that moment, she has been unstoppable and this culminated in the establishment of Omatek Computers limited, the only company in Africa to manufacture computers and casings from Completely Knocked Down (CKD) components sourced from high class manufacturers thus making Omatek products of world class standards.

In his remarks while making the presentation, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe said the Award is in recognition of her immense contribution to the growth and development of the ICT sector in Nigeria and especially for excelling in a male-dominated industry.


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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Expert wants NITDA fund explored


A Lagos-based Information Technology (IT) expert has disclosed that the National Information Technology Development Fund (NITDEF) has began to yield fruits three years after the Act supporting it was signed into law.

The fund being managed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and also called NITDA fund, it was gathered has accumulated some useful amount in essence of N400 million, that could be channeled into development projects.

Our sources who is an insider in the NITDA and pleaded for anonymity said that with the inauguration of NITDA board last year, there is reason why the fund should not be put to use this year, despite the lamentations of the agency led by Prof. Cleopas Officer Angaye, that budget is yet to be signed.

“NITDA has the custody of this fund and should stop giving excuses, but use the fund to the maximum level,” our source declared last weekend.

ITRealms Online recall that NITDA Act was signed into law by the immediate past president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007, and tagged the National Information Technology Development Fund (NITDEF), which compels major institutions and organizations including banks, insurance, telecom operators among Information and Communication Technology (ICT) entities to devote a per cent of their profits before tax for national IT development.

According to Angaye, the fund would be channeled into development of information technology in the country.

Worthy of note is that NITDA was lashed recently in Lagos, during a one-day forum on electronic business organized by the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) by stakeholders who blamed the agency of non-performance.

They argued that NITDEF could serve with the full status of an intervention parastatal in the likes of the Education Trust Fund and Petroleum Technology Development Fund, instead of counting dates for its director.

The agency was also challenged to come up with the activities they have executed in the last one year and stop pretending or hiding under any other guess on its inability to live up to the expectation of the stakeholders.

Meanwhile, speaking at the inauguration of the implementation Committee of the 2007 NITDA Act in Abuja, Angaye was quoted as saying that the fund would be deducted out of the tax paid to the federal government by these companies.

He also said it is not a new tax on the companies, “It is out of the share of the federal government” stressing that the one percent of the profit before tax of companies and enterprises enumerated in the Third Schedule to the Act must be in consonance with an annual turnover of N100,000,000 and above and such paid by the companies shall be tax deductible.

He further explained that the fund is necessary, mostly considering the challenges in the sector, maintaining that the Act would be of immense importance in moving the sector ahead.

Angaye noted that the IT initiatives need adequate funding to strive, pointing out that government would not shoulder the responsibilities alone.

The new law said, he said, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) shall assess and collect the levy imposed under section 12 of this Act. “The levy imposed under Section 12 of this Act shall be due and payable within 60 days after the Federal Inland Revenue Service has served notice of the assessment on a company in such form as the federal Inland Revenue Service may, from time to time, determine.”

He emphasized that any company, agency or organization that fails within two months after a demand note, to pay the levy or the import duty imposed under Section 11 of this Act, should be assumed to have committed an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine, to the tune of 1,000,000, while Chief Executive officer of such organization would be liable to prosecution.


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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Upholding rule of law in 2.3GHz sale



The last Thursday ruling of Justice Umar Garba over the controversial 2.3GHz licensing was upholding of the government’s stand on rule of law and due process, reports REMMY NWEKE.


Thursday last week was another date in the history of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in Nigeria that stakeholders may not forget in a hurry. This was because of its uniqueness, being the date a Federal High Court in Abuja gave its verdict concerning the controversial cancellation of 2.3 Gega Hertz (GHz) auction by the industry regulator.

Invariably in sequence with the rule of law, which according to Legal dictionary, stipulates “that individuals, persons and government shall submit to, obey and be regulated by law, and not arbitrary action by an individual or a group of individuals,” that the presiding judge took his decision, just as was predicted by
ITRealms Online in Wednesday, June 3, 2009.

2.3GHz is prominently defined as Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX); a telecommunications technology that provides wireless transmission of data using a variety of transmission modes, from point-to-multipoint links to portable and fully mobile internet access.

Thus, the technology provides up to 10 Mega bit per second (Mbps) broadband speed, without the need for cables. Practically, the technology is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard also called Broadband Wireless Access. While the name ‘WiMAX’ was fashioned by the WiMAX Forum formed in June 2001, to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard, describing the standards as a technology that enables delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and digital subscribers line (DSL).

Controversial episode:
It all began like film episodes, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had invited application for expression of interest in the 2.3 GHz which it offered four licenses only and about 40 applicants responded. As at Friday, May 8, 2009, NCC proclaimed that only three applicants were successful and therefore met with the stipulated guidelines, namely Mobitel Nigeria Ltd, Spectranet Ltd and Multilinks Telkom Ltd.

Announcing the winners a week later, on May 16, then, Head, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka noted that the offer for the licensing of four (4) slots of 20 Mega Hertz (MHz) each in the 2.3 GHz frequency band which opened on April 30, 2009, ended at the close of banking business hours on Friday, May 8, 2009 for the winners to emerge.

He elucidated that three companies, out of 41 applicants short-listed for the exercise, paid the fixed price of N1, 368,000,000 (One Billion, Three Hundred and Sixty Eight Million Naira only) each for the slots on offer, thus bringing the total sum realized from the spectrum sale to N4,104,000,000 ( Four Billion, One Hundred and Four Thousand Naira Only).

According to him, one of the applicants, Galaxy Wireless Ltd, did not pay the full fixed price for what was supposed to be fourth slot, therefore, was unsuccessful in its bid to get the license.

While urging these winners to put machineries in motion to ensure quick deployment of high quality networks that will guarantee good quality and affordable services to subscribers nationwide.

Soon after, controversies upon controversies trailed the exercise with a purported petition which allegedly paved the way for the cancellation by the former minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, precisely as announced on May 22, 2009.

Against Aondokaa’s unusual advice:
Of course, the hullabaloo got the attention of President Umar Yar’Adua after a long time of uncertainty brewed by his ill-health, with a directive that the attorney general of the federation and Minister of Justice, Mike Aondokaa, should scrutinize the processes and revert. Eventually against all odds, Aondokaa advised against the cancelation, which ITRealms Online gathered was premised on elementary commerce theory that a product was offered for sale and was duly paid for within the specified time frame, thus following due process and should be upheld. But against this background, President Yar’Adua ordered the resale of 2.3GHz afresh.

And by May 25, one of the winners and returnee telecom operator, Mobitel had insisted that all processes were met, especially by the firm and could not see why the sale was revoked; hence, it went to court, dragging the Federal Minister cum Ministry of Information and Attorney General of the Federation as well as NCC alongside as respondents.

The verdict of the court presided over by Justice Umar Garba of Federal High Court Abuja, on the purported cancellation of the 2.3GHZ sale, was delivered on Thursday, March 18, 2010, about 10 months after the sale was concluded, declaring that the Ministry of Information and Communications or the person in-charge of that office, does not have the powers to cancel the auction in the first place. Ordering in the course that all the relief sought by the plaintiff be granted, and directed NCC to release for the applicant (Mobitel) the 2.3GHz license.

The judgment:
While delivering his judgment, in the suit filed by Mobitel Nigeria Limited, against the aforementioned four defendants, Justice Umar Garba of Federal High Court Abuja, on the purported cancellation of the 2.3GHZ sale, upheld the auction. He also held in the suit number FHC/ABJ/M/312/2009, that the respondent’s objections have no merit and it must fail, even as the objections of the first and second defendants have no merit and were dismissed.

A copy of the judgment made available to ITRealms Online, Justice Garba, noted that having seen all the preliminary objections, that he considered the sustentative application of the matter before his court, mostly in “Pursuant to leave granted to the applicant by this court on the 27th of May 2009 to apply for an order for a judicial review, the applicant filed an originating motion on the 1st of June 2009 and same was supported by a written address. The first second and third respondents filed written addresses. The third respondent initially appeared at the proceedings and subsequently disappeared. I hereby treat all processes filed by the third respondent as being abandoned and I do hold,” he said.

Additionally, Garba said that in taking his judgment, he had considered “Whether it is within the powers of the first and second respondents to cancel an auction conducted by the 4th respondent for the issuance of license in the communications sector.

“The applicant’s case as taken clearly from the facts in the statements and supporting affidavits is that the applicant participated in the auction of the 2.3GHz spectrum licensing by the fourth respondent (NCC) and met all the criteria as advertised, awaiting the issuance of the license to operate.

Court as arbiter:
When the first and second respondent issued a letter on the 25th of May 2009 ‘ Exhibit NCC’ and Exhibit ‘N’, the applicant (Mobitel) ran to the court for judicial interpretation of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, which is the law providing for the allocation of frequency.

According to him, the law conferred on NCC, the sole and exclusive powers to manage and administer the frequency spectrum for the communications sector to its end users by grants of license for the use of the said frequencies, buttressing his point with reference to Section 121, (1) & (2) of the Act which provides that “Notwithstanding the provisions of any other written law or subject to the provision of this Act, the Commission shall have the sole and exclusive power to manage and administer the frequency spectrum for the communications sector and in that regard to grant licenses for and to regulate the use of the said frequency spectrum.”

In addition, Justice Garba quoted Section 121, (2) thus, “The Power of the Minister under the Wireless Telegraphy Act as far as they relate to the Communications are hereby vested in the Commission.” Underlining the fact that by the provisions of this Act, the Commission is independent of any interference in the performance of its statutory duties, pointing out that the purpose has been to insulate the Commission in the performance of this crucial and a highly sensitive function of regulating the Communications sector.

Minister has no power to cancel sale:
Stressing that the end user, is for the purpose of the function of the Commission, the operators in the communications sector, Garba pointed out that from the foregoing, he upheld the Act’s conferment of ‘NO power’ in the first respondent (Minister of Communications) to impose any directive or instruction on the Commission, or any of its officers or intervene in the performance of the Commissions functions.

“It is clear that the express intentions of the Act regarding the role of the first respondent is to limit its powers to only board matters on policy and issues that affect treaties in view of section 23 of the Nigerian Communications Act,” he declared, calling attention to Section 25, sub-section 2, which further imposes on the Minister of Communications the statutory obligation of ensuring the sanctity of the independence guaranteed to the Commission by the Act.

So, “The first respondent’s (Minister of Communications) purported cancellation of the Auction is absolutory and totally arbitrary as it relates to Section 123 of the Nigerian Communication Act 2003, which provides that ‘the Commission may make regulations in any matter under this chapter. Section 123 (2), the regulation may include procedure for assignment of spectrum such as but not limited to the following a) Auctions; b) Tender; c) Fixed price to be determined by the Commission,” he said.

The above provision gives the Commission the exclusive powers regarding the sale of frequency and makes absolutely no mention of the first respondent (Minister of Communications).

Stakeholders commend judgment:

In reaction to the judgment, stakeholders commended the position of Mr. Justice Garba, saying that all this should not have come if Mr. President took the right decision than to support the cancellation of the auction and even by now, the gains of that license should have started emerging.

For the president of Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Mr. Lanre Ajayi, the judgment was not out of place for any jurist who knows his or her worth, especially in separation of powers.

“It is not unexpected. The Telecoms Act 2003 empowers NCC to adopt a number of options in the sale of frequency spectrum. NCC has acted within its powers in the process adopted in selling 2.3GHz spectrum,” he said.

The Executive Director, Operations, Digital Sense Africa (DSA), Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke applauded the judgment, saying “It is a positive development and victory for democracy as well as in line with the rule of law,” stressing that it would boost last mile connectivity and a way forward for greater internet penetration and usage.

Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, that though he was yet to see a copy of the judgment, but based on media reports, it appeared that the learned judge has given a clear interpretation of the Telecommunications Act in the circumstances. He has also thrown more light on the separation of powers and role of Minister of Information and Communications and that of NCC. He noted, “it is in the best interest of the industry stakeholders as contained in the Act.”

Victory for telecom industry:

Chief executive officer, Telecom Answers Associates, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, said the victory is for telecommunications industry. He however, blamed Mr. President for his decision on the matter, which was actually a burden for the only burgeoning sector.

“It is victory for the telecommunications industry. President’s decision on that matter was a clear burden for the industry which has tried to establish itself within a comatose national economy. With this, another challenge shall be thrown to existing operators and it may just be a possible stimulant for an improved industry,” he said, stressing when the court issue came up last year that it would go further in strengthening the powers of NCC and its independence at the end of the day, which has just come to pass with the Justice Garba pronouncement.

John St. Claret Ezeani, a telecom lawyer, told ITRealms Online that the way forward is to respect the judgment, although he may not have agreed with the judgment 100 per cent.

Last line:

With the latest judgment of Justice Umar Garba, the onus is now on NCC to present certificates of award to the trio who won in the 2.3GHz licensing option last year, with kudos going to the management of Mobitel for the dogged fight to ensure that democracy takes its course in the revolution of the nation’s telecommunications.
Above all, the judgment would restore confidence for foreign investors to take advantage, and who NCC has over time persistently told that there are more to invest upon in the country, mostly in the ICT sector. So, the time to come and invest is now, after all, the rule of law has taken its root in this sector.


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TD seeks healthy competition among PC distributors

Technology Distributions Limited, has warned Nigerians to disregard unwholesome campaign against one of its key partners, Hewlett Packard (HP), seeking healthy competition among firms involved distribution of personal computer and allied products in the country.

The Corporate Communications Adviser to Technology Distributions, Mr. Echika Ezuka, gave this caution at the weekend, saying that HP, the world’s largest technology company operating in Nigeria with a portfolio of printing, personal computing, software services and IT infrastructure, is a reputed firm.

He said that TD has been a major distributor to HP for 10 years and has found the company to be of very high in ethical standards.

“HP is a world-class technology company that is guided by international best practices in her operations,” Ezuka declared.

Also, he said that HP has significantly contributed to the momentum of the ICT revolution in Nigeria through the provision of high quality ICT products and the development of the authorized channel.

According to him, HP’s business model has helped the growth of a reseller cadre that translates into the empowerment of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians.

He further said that HP has distinguished itself, over the years, as a committed crusader against fake, adulterated, substandard and dysfunctional products, even as HP spends a substantial part of her budget on the campaign against fake products and the grey market.

Additionally, Mr. Ezuka said, that HP is a great source of inspiration for Nigeria’s collective aspiration to empower the educational sector in real terms.

On the other hand, he said, TD as the biggest distributor of HP products in Sub Saharan Africa, buying directly from HP, is the channel through which HP makes the highest quality ICT products affordable and available.

Therefore, he urged customers to hold TD responsible for the manufacturer’s warranty and the genuineness of the products. Stressing that recent negative media reports against HP was done in bad faith and should be discountenanced.

Ezuka, who also is a director of TD advocated for healthy competition, asserting that “The surface has not been scratched. There would be no need to hack anyone.”


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ITAN, WITSA to examine public-private partnership

The Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN) and World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA), have advanced plans to host the third edition of its public-private partnership forum in Abuja.

The Secretary-General of WITSA, Dr. James Poisant is expected to give a keynote presentation at a stakeholders’ Town-hall meeting, scheduled for Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, next month.

Disclosing this, the chief operating officer, ITAN and WITSA Administrative Secretary for Nigeria, Mr. Oluwole Owolabi, said that the forum is a prime event for IT administrators, professionals, business leaders, high level public officers and opinion leaders from all states of the nation to come together to share and build a vision of a connected knowledge base with opportunities for all.

He pointed out that as Internet and technological advances continue to reshape power, redistribute national resources, transform government, education, culture and the way we work in government and industry, competition and economic pressures create quicker and more efficient ways to do business, the reality of increased and quality information for economic and national survivability remains a fundamental concern to all nations of the world, particularly in Nigeria.

The event tagged the Information Technology Public Private Forum (ITPPF), he noted, was inaugurated by the WITSA Chairman, Dato’ Dan E. Khoo on April 22, 2009 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, the second edition of the forum was hosted in Kano by the State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau on September 29, 2009.

The theme of the 2nd edition, he recalled was “Plucking the Low Hanging Fruitsm” while the theme of the 3rd edition is “Meeting the Vision 20 2020 Challenge.”

According to him, the sub-themes are Broadband for economic cheetahpolevault, Imperative for resilient Information Infrastructure, cybersecurity legislation, multi-literalism for development, relentless innovation, sectoral data research, integrity and dependencies, renewable and green energy, Engendering the culture of e-learning.

Some objectives of the ITPPF are, he listed to include connecting government ICT initiatives with industry to creating jobs and engendering accelerated development, promoting industry cooperation and strengthening ICT industries through the sharing of knowledge, experience, and critical information in Nigeria, advocating public policies that advance the industry’s growth and development and facilitating trade and investment in ICT products and services, among others.

In addition, he said that Messrs QAI Global, who recently entered deal with ITAN as strategic partner, would facilitate industry capacity building initiatives at ITPPF-2010, stressing that QAI presentation would centre on Building IT-BPO Industry Capacity and Competitiveness.


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Zain takes Ogaline to Enugu fair

LEADING Global System for Mobile (GSM) Communications services provider, Zain Nigeria over the weekend, stormed the ongoing Enugu International Trader Fair with its latest Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) solution OgaLine, Wake a Millionaire Offer as well as a bouquet of other products and services, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Zain would be joining over two hundred manufacturers and service providers to showcase their customer-focused products and solutions.

According to Mr. Emeka Oparah, Head of Public Relations & Corporate Social Responsibility, Zain Nigeria’s SME’s Oga Line would be formally unveiled for customers in the Eastern region, one of five regions of the Zain operational structure

Also, the company’s new marketing initiative, “Wake Up A Millionaire”, an interactive SMS offer that rewards customers for texting regularly and participating in a text-based quiz would be showcased at the fair.

He said the 21st Enugu International Trade Fair provides Zain a platform for showcasing its arrays of exciting products and services to Nigerians in the South Eastern states and the adjoining states and to interact directly with customers in its continuing effort to provide them a world class customer experience.

On OgaLine, he said effective communications is vital to improved productivity, efficiency and performance for Small and Medium Scale businesses, adding that the package enables SMEs to maximize profit and control mobile spend.

Oparah said Zain is helping to create harmony between employees and owners of SMEs, by empowering them to control both budget and airtime usage with the ability to transfer airtime to those on OgaLine mobile network.

He also said customers would experience the full range of Zain products and value services at the Enugu Fair including the Zain Joli range, its fast expanding Mobile Internet service and the accompanying data card.


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Samsung launches ‘Mobile Live’ show

Samsung Electronics has launched its ‘Samsung Mobile Live’ an experiential road show that comprises of a range of messaging and infotainment activities designed to create a new customer experience for Samsung phone users.

Director and head of mobile phones, Mr. Peter Lee said Samsung Mobile Live would be held at Silverbird Galleria in Lagos and Abuja.

He explained that the event would take place in specially constructed booths with interactive multimedia screens, live phones and games consoles.

According to him, the public is encouraged to try out the live phones to get a hands-on experience on a Samsung phone.

“There is also a life size interactive phone model to enhance the customers’ experience,” he said.

Highlight of the road show, Mr. Lee said, is Samsung’s range of messaging phones, I8000, B7320, Corby S3653, B3410, Corby Txt B3210 and Corby Pop C3510.

These models, he said, are ergonomically designed to make texting fun and easy, while the range is targeted at the youth segment and the young at heart.

“The range has a one click access to social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Picassa. These networking sites are becoming increasingly popular in Nigeria. It will keep its target segment in touch with its online community of friends,” he said.

For him, I8000, for instance, is a full touch wide screen mobile with a 3.7” Amoled display with a touch optimized user interface.

“It has a 5MP camera, DVD like video recorder with video editing tools. I8000 is a powerful business tool with fast internet connection, push email and Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync provide seamless round the clock updated email,” he said.

And for B7320, which he said, is a Windows Mobile professional messaging phone with a full QWERTY keypad, it comes in Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system, upgradeable to 6.5 and supports key corporate mobile solutions like MS Exchange Activesync and IBM Lotus Notes Traveller.

“It is an extension of one’s office and acts like a computer in one’s palm,” he said.

For Corby S3653, Mr. Lee said, it has an eye catching, compact design with easy to use TouchWiz user interface and haptic feedback system. It has a 2MP camera and one finger zoom where the user can use a finger to zoom in on an image.


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PIN boss tackles menace of cybercrime

Nigeria’s first Information Technology (IT) youth ambassador and Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Mr. Gbenga Sesan has been slated to tackle the menace of cybercrime among Nigerian youths at the 2010 Internet Governance billed for Lagos, next month.

Mr. Sesan who disclosing this in Lagos, weekend said that his organization is concerned over the unprecedented increase of Nigerian youths on cybercrime.

He also said that outline of solutions would be proffered at the forum being put together by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Digital Sense Africa (DSA) to sensitize populace in the country.

Additionally, he said, more outcome of the research conducted by PIN would be unveiled at the occasion, and enjoined Nigerians, both old and young to come and learn and know where to join forces in the fight against online crimes in the country.

He maintained that Nigerians are brilliant and energetic set of people that should not allow the negative aspect of technology to take over their thinking cap.

Also affirming this, the acting executive secretary, DSA, Mr. Ray Bankole, said the organization is encouraged to have PIN boss address the forum, especially at the Nigeria Digital Youth segment, which he promises would be interesting.

He also disclosed that the forum is a free entry session, would hold at the Golden Gate Ikoyi, on Friday, April 16.

Equally, he revealed that members of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) have confirmed participation.

Noting that Sesan’s participation would serve as a boost for youths in the country, stressing that as an Ashoka Fellow, he has served on the board of African mentor foundation, African Youth ICT4D network, Alliance of Change Empowerment Speakers, Digital Divide Network, Global Network for Cybersolution to name a few.

Sesan, he pointed, is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University and has served on International Young professional’s Foundation, women’s Technology Empowerment centre and the World Summit Youth Awards among others.

PIN boss, Bankole recalls, has been consulting for international organizations including Microsoft, Harvard University, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and Computer Aid International.


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Goodluck identifies challenges of submarine distribution

The Corporate Services Executive (CSE), MTN Nigeria, Mr. Wale Goodluck has identified as challenge the distribution of submarine cables beyond landing at the national sea shores, reports ONYINYE NWAGWU.

Goodluck who made this observation at a parley with newsmen in Abuja noted that the challenge facing Nigeria is not necessarily bringing the cable and landing same on the beach but the inability to distribute it inland.

He also said that with the anticipated availability of submarine cables by Glo-1 and Main One, in the country that price of bandwidth would come down considerably.

Mr. Goodluck equally said that the positive impact of submarine bandwidth would be huge on the economy and will ensure that the country catches up with the rest of the world in terms of telecommunications enabled development.

“The larger effect will also be on the quality of service we all will be getting from data services. Essentially the internet will be a lot faster and a lot more stable. It will change the way we work, play and the way we socialize. A lot of things that we were not able to do now because of the bandwidth will be appear,” he pointed out.

He recalled that about a few months ago when the SAT-3 had a problem, telecommunication and banking services were affected nationwide, stressing that with the three cables; Main One, Glo-1 and SAT-3, subscribers will see a major reduction in the price of bandwidth.

On high tariffs charged by providers, he said “the issue of tariffs is always a sensitive issue for consumer; I believe strongly that tariffs will come down. Tariffs will best be driven by competition as we have more robust competition in this market, tariffs will come down.”

According to him, the Nigeria telecommunication market is perhaps one of the most competitive in the world, considering the number of operators in the country.

“Nigeria has a robust competition. People will be allowed to make a choice. I believe competition will bring price down. Tariffs has not gone up but every year there is inflation, unfortunately the power situation that we met in 2001 when we started has not improved and we are still expanding significant resources just to fuel base stations. It is still an expensive industry and cash intensive,” he said.

Maintaining that tariffs will come down, but may not come down as soon as we may like, Goodluck pointed out that if there is today significant improvement on power, almost immediately there will be tariffs reduction.


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Bilbis applauds NCC, Pyramid partnership

Immediate past Minister of State for Information and Communication, Alhaji Ikra Aliyu Bilbis has applauded the partnership between the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and internationally reputed research firm, Pyramid Research, in documentation of the impact of mobile communications on the socio-economic lives of the citizens.

This is coming as he declared that the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) was Federal Government’s major political response to addressing the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) needs of the citizens.

Speaking at the public presentation of the book in Abuja, last week, the former minister said that the journey to today’s reckoning began in 1999 when the democratic government decided to do something urgently about improving the telecommunications facility and therefore embarked on an aggressive sector reform programme.

This idea, he noted, was to improve the spread and use of modern Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) facilities to aid national development.

“That decision taken at the time and subsequently well executed, has led to the telecom revolution that we are all too familiar with today,” he declared.

As said by him, the sector has gloriously emerged from the back waters to become a reference point for positive growth and a major attraction for local and foreign direct investment.

The present administration, Bilbis said, is very proud of what has been achieved in the industry so far.

“The nation has moved from a position where only a privileged few had analogue mobile phones and a few private and government offices could have fixed line phones to the present reality where, even in the most of the remotest parts of the country, the ordinary man can connect to any part of the world,” he said.

Pointing out that the national subscriber figure has grown from of less than 0.5 million connected lines in 1999 to over 76 million connected lines.

Also, he said that the Federal Government is being proactive to ensure that it prepares for the next phase of development in the sector.

He recalled that recently, the ministry had set up a Committee to review the telecommunications policy currently in operation, stressing that the thinking is that only a timely review of the policy will prepare the nation for the kind of growth being envisaged for the future.

“Government is ever prepared to ensure that the policy environment is structured for competition and investment,” he said.

He emphasized that government is aware of the digital divide between developed and developing nations, and also aware of the divide which exists within countries, the digital divide between the cities and rural areas and between the young and the old.

This, Bilbis said, informed the policy of government to create the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), to take services to rural and under-served communities in the country.

“We just returned from Calabar, where we commissioned ICT facilities given to some schools under the USPF programmes. On a last count, 476 public schools and 133 tertiary institutions nationwide have benefited from the School Access Programme, SAP,” he said, while 218 Community Communications Centres (CCC) have been built to provide voice, Internet, training facilities and other services to unserved and under-served areas, while 40 Base Transceiver Stations, BTS, even as they are to enhance services in places where otherwise service would have been difficult or impossible.

For the government, Bilbis said it is a fundamental right for every Nigerian to have access to telecommunications services and modern ICT facilities.

“The USPF programme is a major political response to address the ICT needs of our teeming youths including those in remote areas,” he asserted.

Telecommunications, he noted, would always be a vital tool for general human development and access for all and always be the goal of the government.

“Achieving access for all has therefore become a cardinal programme of the Nigerian government,” he said, even as the ministry would continue to support and empower the NCC to achieve government’s communications goals and policy objectives.

One important use of this kind of documentation, he said, is for the government to know where it has gotten it right and focus on further improvement in that direction.

“The essence of government sector reform programme is not just to improve infrastructural facilities but primarily by so doing, improve living standards generally. There is no doubt the findings from this research work will assist and influence government in taking some more beneficial decisions for the good of the citizens of our great country,” he submitted.


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Etisalat Group extends reach to USA, Canada

FAST growing Global System for Mobile (GSM) Communications operator, Etisalat Group, has struck an agreement with Internet Protocol (IP) solutions provider, the Global Crossing, to provide seamless connectivity alternatives to customers who want to expand their connectivity to the United States, Canada and Latin America from the United Arab Emirate (UAE).

As part of this alliance, Etisalat has set up its own node in New York with last mile connectivity provided by Global Crossing to offer global connectivity solutions through a secure and fully owned IP/MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) network as part of Etisalat’s long-term strategy of enhancing global connectivity options for its corporate customers.

In a press statement to ITRealms Online, the Senior Vice President, Business Solutions, Abdulla Hashim said “This partnership with Global Crossing is significant in terms of expanding the connectivity alternatives for our customers across the US, Canada and Latin America.

This will enable us to leverage their local presence and the capabilities of their integrated IP-based network to support our customers. Moreover, the presence of our own nodes is a major differentiator for customers across this region that now can rely on us for world class connectivity solutions with advantages like reliable quality of service and network management capabilities.”

Also, Global Crossing’s head of Carrier Sales for South Europe, Middle East and Africa Habib Issa said that as Etisalat’s business clients take advantage of globalisation and IP convergence market trends, they can benefit from Etisalat’s support model, strong regional presence and the global seamless network enabled by Global Crossing’s IP infrastructure.”

Commenting on this development, the chief executive officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steven Evans, said that the alliance to extend customers coverage is a demonstration of telco’s commitment in providing world-class services to its customers without limitation.

“The IP VPN services offered will deliver feature-rich capability of a fully managed IP network while providing the reliability, quality and security of an MPLS-based private network environment,” Mr. Evans said.

He also said that Etisalat aims to extend its customers connectivity in countries where it does not have coverage by being part of the Global Crossing MPLS network stressing that this would enable UAE based customers to extend their connectivity through Etisalat across the US, Canada and Latin American markets.

The move, according to the public relations manager, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Yinka Ijabiyi, would also translate into pricing advantages that would be passed on to customers since Etisalat would manage its own network from end-to-end in a seamless manner.

Currently standing at the 140th position among Financial Times’ top 500 corporations in the world, Etisalat is one of the largest provider of telecommunication services in Africa and the Middle East and serves an ever increasing subscriber base of 100 million people across Africa, Middle East and Asia.


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Monday, March 22, 2010

New Perm Sec vows to train staff on PC appreciation

The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs. Fatimah Binta Bamidele, has pledged to train the workforce in the ministry to be competitive in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), beginning with computer appreciation.

She also tasked staff of the ministry to work diligently in order to move the science and technology ministry forward.

Mrs. Bamidele made this known in her maiden session with staff of the ministry recently in Abuja, said that she is a firm believer in a holistic training for every member of staff, especially in computer appreciation.

“So as to equip them to compete favorably with their counterparts outside the ministry,” she said.

Equally, she expressed determination to ensure due process and transparency, even as she warned that laxity would not be tolerated in the ministry, stressing that any staff that did not observe accountability and probity would be sanctioned in accordance with the civil service rules.

Mrs. Bamidele noted that the session became crucial in order to know staff constraints, handicaps and projections towards achieving expected growth in the ministry.

Also, she said that the Federal Government is ready to provide enabling environment for the staff to contribute their quota to the socio-economic and technological development of the country.

“Science and Technology is the pivotal of nations building, it should therefore be used to drive the country’s economy,” she said.

Responding on behalf of staff, in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online by the Chief Press Secretary to the Ministry, Mr. Tai Shobajo, the Director of ICT, Mr. Wahab Jimoh, was quoted as assuring the new Perm Sec of their loyalty and support.

He also enjoined all members of staff to re-dedicate themselves to their duties for the progress of the ministry.


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More winners emerge in Zain Talk for Love promo

Starcomms Plc, has introduced a new reward system for its subscribers’ tagged ‘Recharge bonus, which affords users to top-up their phone’s credit and get extra reward.

Chief Commercial Officer, Starcomms, Mr. Tushar Maheshwari, who disclosed this in Lagos, Thursday, said that the promo comes with free calls for subscribers on its network for their loyalty.

According to him, with the launch of this new promo “Recharge Bonus” through which subscribers could enjoy 24 hours of free on-net calling, all that a subscriber needs to do to be a part of the promotion is to recharge his or her phone with at least N250.

“And he or she would be able to make free calls to other Starcomms numbers for the next 24 hours,” he said.Mr. Maheshwari also said, the promotion would last for an initial period of one month and is open to existing and new subscribers on Starcomms’ network.

“We expect this promo to be welcomed by all our subscribers,” he asserted, stressing that the rationale behind this promo was that Starcomms is a company that always puts its subscribers first.

“That is why we continuously look for ways of putting smiles on their faces. This free on-net call promotion will give our subscribers the opportunity to talk for as long as they want on the network within the next 24 hours after their recharge,” he said.

Further, he said, Starcomms subscribers would enjoy many other freebies on its network like the missed calls notification and call waiting service which goes for free to all its mobile subscribers in 22 states, 31 cities and 170 towns of the country.

For the chief executive officer, Starcomms Plc, Mr. Maher Qubain the network values commitment in relationship with the customers.

“This promotion is our way of reciprocating their loyalty for using Starcomms. Just as our dedication to providing qualitative, state-of-the-art and reasonably priced telecommunication services is strong, we also cherish the bond among people on the Starcomms network and we intend to strengthen the bond with this promotion,” he said.


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Etisalat supports summit for NYSC members

Acclaimed most innovative GSM service provider, Etisalat Nigeria, last weekend supported career and mentorship summit for the members of National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) 2010 Batch ‘A’ deployed to Lagos state.

The Chief Marketing Officer, Etisalat, Mr. Wael Ammar, said the summit which took place on Saturday 20 March, formed part of the three weeks orientation camp for the NYSC members.

Code named “The 9ja Career Summit”, the sponsorship is riding on the wings of the company’s unique youth product, Easy Cliq.

Ammar also said that the summit is in collaboration with E-Green Limited, a human capital development firm, the gathering would serve as a veritable platform for guidance and counseling for the youth in channeling a worthy career path while still at the foundation of their career progression.

He equally said that the telecommunications company is interested in a total package for youth development while supporting the NYSC in achieving its objectives.

“We are committed to the complete development of young people in Nigeria. A young person who chooses the right career path for him or herself is well positioned to achieve their dreams. Etisalat is committed to youth development while also encouraging government agencies such as NYSC to achieve their given objectives,” he said.

He stressed that as a responsible corporate organization, Etisalat intends to variously exploit all reasonable avenues to demonstrate that apart from providing world-class telephony service to Nigerians, it is committed to initiating activities that will advance the various aspirations of Nigerian youths and help them harness their potentials.

Etisalat’s support for the NYSC and Nigerian youth is an ongoing one. Last year, the company supported various activities at the Lagos NYSC camp that entertained and enlightened the youth corps members.

Apart from the Career Summit, Etisalat also sponsored the welcome party for the youth corps members at the Lagos Camp while it is committed to sponsoring the Camp Fire Night of the same Batch ‘A’ corps members in Abuja on Saturday 27 March.


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LG unveils Chocolate mobile phone series @ MTV Base

Global brand in mobile communications company, LG Mobile, has unveiled Chocolate mobile phone series, just as the firm partners MTV Networks Africa in celebration of the fifth anniversary of its music channel, MTV base.

Tagged ‘5 on it’ the event heralded the launch of the latest mobile phone series, the Chocolate Series – BL40 and BL20 by LG Mobile.

General Manager, LG Mobile Communication, Mr. Steve Koh, said the launch of Chocolate -BL40 and BL20 mobile phone series on the occasion of the 5th anniversary celebration of MTV base was a deliberate statement to establish the connection between LG Mobile and the MTV Network, and its league of high net worth viewers in Nigeria and other parts of the world.

He also said that the partnership between is part of efforts to enhance the visibility of LG Mobile as a trendy, hippy and fashionable brand, stressing that both MTV and LG Mobile have a lot in common and much more to deliver on the platform of this partnership.

At LG Mobile, he noted that they are very passionate about what the company’s stand for as a brand, innovation, stylish design and reliability.

Further, he said, the partnership between LG Mobile and MTV Networks Africa is pursuant to these values.

“There is no better place to restate these values than a place like this; this gathering of stars, respected for their excellence in service and performance especially among the teeming population of Nigerians and people from all walks of life,” he said, stressing that with the public presentation of the latest in the series of innovative products from LG Mobile.

“I dare say here that the Chocolate - BL40 and BL20 are precious mobile devices specially designed to accentuate your statement of class. We reckon that Nigerians, and indeed Africans, fans and friends of MTV and the array of stars here present, deserve a touch of class and the Chocolate phones from LG Mobile comes handy, on time and on this day to spice this celebration of achievement that has redefined entertainment in the past five years”, Koh said.

He explained that the LG Chocolate is a complete touch screen mobile device and fourth in the Black Label Series of mobile phones.

“The LG Chocolate BL40 phone has a 4.0 inch wide HD LCD screen with 800x345 pixel resolution to maximize visual experience. This allows combination of a range of natural colours, create sharper photos, make videos more true-to-life, games more natural and documents are more readable. With its 5 mega pixel camera, the LG Chocolate BL20 combines state-of-the-art technology with beautiful designs features such as auto and flash that enable it deliver the highest performance,” he said, adding that all these features are packaged in a slim 3G slider, with hidden navigation keys, side touch control, clear memo capture with Textscan and Widget Hotkeys.

LG, therefore congratulated MTV Networks Africa for delivering high quality entertainment through its MTV base channel over the last five years.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Court upholds sale of 2.3GHz, orders NCC to release license


A Federal High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, yesterday, Thursday, upheld the sale of 2.3 Gega Hertz (GHz) by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), saying the Ministry of Information and Communications does not have the powers to cancel the auction in the first instance.

The court also ordered that all the relief sought by the plaintiff be granted, and directed NCC to release for the applicant (Mobitel) the 2.3GHz license.
Daily Champion recalls that on May 22, 2009, the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. (Mrs) Dora Akunyili announced the cancellation of the sale, with a directive to NCC to re-offer the 2.3 spectrum for sale afresh.

Prior to the cancellation, NCC had pronounced three companies winners out of the 40 applicants that contested for the spectrum, including Mobitel Nigeria Limited, Spectranet Limited and Multi-Links Telkom Limited, while the fourth contestant, Galaxy Wireless was reportedly unable to meet up with the payment terms, thereby stood disqualified. The sum of N4,104,000,000 was realized from the auction.

But delivering his judgment, in the suit file by one of the winners in the 2.3GHz auction, Mobitel Nigeria Limited, against four defendants namely the Hon. Minister of Information and Communications, Federal Ministry of Information and Communications, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and NCC, Justice Umar Garba of Federal High Court Abuja, on the purported cancellation of the 2.3GHZ sale, upheld the sale.

He also said in the suit number FHC/ABJ/M/312/2009, that the respondent’s objections have no merit and it must fail, even as the objections of the first and second defendants have no merit and were dismissed.

A copy of the judgment made available to ITRealms Online, Justice Garba, noted that having seen all the preliminary objections, that he considered the sustentative application of the matter before his court.

“Pursuant to leave granted to the applicant by this court on the 27th of May 2009 to apply for an order for a judicial review, the applicant filed an originating motion on the 1st of June 2009 and same was supported by a written address. The first second and third respondents filed written addresses. The third respondent initially appeared at the proceedings and subsequently disappeared. I hereby treat all processes filed by the third respondent as being abandoned and I do hold,” he said.

Garba further said that in taking his judgment, he had considered “Whether it is within the powers of the first and second respondents to cancel an auction conducted by the 4th Respondent for the issuance of license in the communications sector.

“The applicant’s case as taken clearly from the facts in the statements and supporting affidavits is that the applicant participated in the auction of the 2.3GHz spectrum licensing by the fourth respondent (NCC) and met all the criteria as advertised, awaiting the issuance of the license to operate.

When the first and second respondent issued a letter on the 25th of May 2009 ‘ Exhibit NCC’ and Exhibit ‘N’, the applicant (Mobitel) ran to the court for judicial interpretation of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, which is the law providing for the allocation of frequency.

According to him, the law conferred on NCC, the sole and exclusive powers to manage and administer the frequency spectrum for the communications sector to its end users by grants of license for the use of the said frequencies, buttressing his point with reference to Section 121, (1) & (2) of the Act which provides that “Notwithstanding the provisions of any other written law or subject to the provision of this Act, the
Commission shall have the sole and exclusive power to manage and administer the frequency spectrum for the communications sector and in that regard to grant licenses for and to regulate the use of the said frequency spectrum.

In addition, Justice Garba quoted Section 121, (2) thus, “The Power of the Minister under the Wireless Telegraphy Act as far as they relate to the Communications are hereby vested in the Commission.”

Stressing that by the provisions of this Act, the Commission is independent of any interference in the performance of its statutory duties, pointing out that the purpose has been to insulate the Commission in the performance of this crucial a highly sensitive function of regulating the Communications sector.

The end user, he pointed out is for the purpose of the function of the Commission, the operators in the communications sector.

From the foregoing, Justice Garba said that he upheld the Act conferment of ‘NO power’ in the first respondent (Minister of Communications) to impose any directive or instruction on the Commission, or any of its officers or intervene in the performance of the Commissions functions.

“It is clear that the express intentions of the Act regarding the role of the first respondent is to limit its powers to only board matters on policy and issues that affect treaties in view of section 23 of the Nigerian Communications Act,” he noted.

Emphasizing that Section 25, sub-section 2 goes further to impose on the Minister of Communications the statutory obligation of ensuring the sanctity of the independence guaranteed to the Commission by the Act.

Therefore, “The first respondent’s (Minister of Communications) purported cancellation of the Auction is absolutory and totally arbitrary as it relates to Section 123 of the Nigerian Communication Act 2003, which provides that ‘the Commission may make regulations in any matter under this chapter. Section 123 (2), the regulation may include procedure for assignment of spectrum such as but not limited to the following a) Auctions; b) Tender; c) Fixed price to be determined by the Commission,” he said.

The above provision gives the Commission the exclusive powers regarding the sale of frequency and makes absolutely no mention of the first respondent (Minister of Communications).


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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Communication policy review: Stakeholders may protest composition


A non-governmental organization (NGO) with focus on media development within the Nigerian Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, the Joint Action Committee on ICT Awareness and Development (JACITAD) may kick-against the composition of the 26-member committee on the review of National Communications Policy.

Sources close to the presidency of JACITAD, disclosed weekend that the organization is not satisfied with the composition of the committee, but also the exclusion of its members, who have served in the industry over 20 years.

Also, ITRealms Online gathered that the group is warming up to petition the Ministry of Information and Communication headed by Prof. Dora Akunyili and Alhaji Ikra Bilbis as minister of state, over the issue.

“Over the years, JACITAD has been on the forefront of policy update as far as the National Communications Policy is concerned, stressing that now, the time of being actively involved, and the group was sidelined,” our source said.

According to our source, if there is any qualification for being a member of that committee, especially relating to media development and representation, JACITAD need not be left out among others like the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE).

“Because our members are key change agents who have contributed immensely in nurturing what we have today,” one of the top officials told ITRealms Online, pointing out that there are pressure groups that should have representation in that committee and it should not be an all-comers affairs.

Take the omission of NSE for instance, our source said that it is impossible to have a seamless telecommunications environment without this group, whose membership are the engine behind the infrastructure used in the sector.

Recalling that in the recent past, JACITAD has made representations to the National Assembly on several issues during public hearings and cannot understand the rationale behind the selection and omission of its members in the committee.

“We have got to protest this to the appropriate authorities, because it is not healthy for this industry and the nation as a whole,” another top official declared, arguing that as long as they may not be comfortable with the set up, it is necessary that representation should include active media practitioners in the sector.

JACITAD, a group set up in 2003 with the encouragement from the pioneer Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), late Prof. Gabriel Ajayi, is reputed for its inputs into the national ICT development projects in line with its objectives and represents ICT media practitioners and media owners in the country.

The group recently hosted the outgoing chief executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe for his contributions in moving the nation’s ICT growth forward.

Equally, the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) is warming up with its own petition, according to the national president, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo.

He confirmed this to ITRealms Online, alleging that the committee has no subscriber representation and they would react by Thursday this week, after today’s executive session.

However, the Federal Government inauguration of the National Communication Policy Review Committee with a view to reviewing the current policy, was performed by the Minister of State for Information and Communication, Alhaji Aliyu Ikra Bilbis.

Members of the 26-man review committee chaired by the chief executive of GlobalTouch, Mr. Isaiah Mohammed include Mr. Eddie Amana as Vice Chairman, Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, ThisDay editor, The Saturday Newspaper, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, whereas the Legal Adviser to the Ministry would serve as the Secretary.

Equally, the committee include Roy Murray-Bruce of Silverbird Group, Prof. Raymond Akwule of Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Mr. Stephen Bello of NCC, Mr. Funso Fayomi of the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), and a United States-based Nigerian expert, Goni Usman, to name a few.

Speaking at the occasion, Alhaji Bilbis noted that the review would suggest some of the areas of focus and emphasis as articulated in September 2000 policy, which may have been eroded with time, even as the committee has three months to submit its report.

Also, he said, there are more compelling issues arising from the global fast telecom growth, the evolution of new media and the challenge of information security that would need to be accommodated in the new policy regime.

Prior to this development, the 2000 National Communication Policy provides for a three-year short term and five year medium term policy which was supposed to have been reviewed since 2003 or 2005 in long term, with focus on the provision of telecommunication services intended to improve the well-being of the populace, attract investment for the sector.


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Export council pledges support for Omatek

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has pledged to support one of the nation’s Original Equipment Manufacturer, (OEM), Omatek Plc with the enabling environment for its products to thrive.

This would translate into an international business operations relating to the establishment of Omatek factories in other countries within the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS).

Chairman, NEPC, Alhaji I. Jatau, who led the Nigerian delegation to the Omatek pavilion at the just concluded Ghana International Trade Fair in Accra, made this disclosure last weekend.

Alhaji Jatau who commended Omatek over its array of products on display at the Fair, immediately paid an unscheduled visit to the Omatek Computers Ghana factory where he described Omatek as a good example of the growth and achievement of Nigerian industrialists.

He reiterated that companies like Omatek who have made giant strides to establish factories in other countries like Ghana and other ECOWAS countries needed to be encouraged.

Receiving the delegation on behalf of Omatek Computers Ghana ltd, the General Manager, Mr. Nana Benneh said Omatek Computers Ghana Ltd was strategically sited as the export hub for other African countries, apart from Nigeria.

He enjoined Africans to patronize their own, stressing that Omatek products are of high quality, as the raw materials were sourced from the same high class manufacturers like the other foreign brands.
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Additionally, he said, that Omatek Computers are best suited especially for the African Market because they have been built to withstand the heat and weather conditions prevalent in Africa.

Further, he said, visitors to Omatek pavilion at the Ghana International Trade Fair have the opportunity to win various prizes through a raffle draw, including Omatek DVD Player, Car Chargers, Speaker sets to name a few.


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Microsoft opens Info centre @ Computer Village

In a bid to increase awareness among consumers, Microsoft Nigeria, over the weekend opened its information centre in the popular Computer Village, Ikeja in Lagos.

The centre which opens Monday to Friday, is a one-stop-shop where the company’s new and existing partners could go to access information and training they need to successfully build their businesses as distributors and traders of Microsoft products.

Speaking at the occasion, the company’s Channel Compliance Manager for Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, Mrs. Uzo Okpaka said, the vision for the centre was on the premise that the market remains the hub for information technology (IT) activities in the country.

“We observed that most of these partners are usually very busy and may not have the means to send their staff for training and for the consumers, many of them lack the necessary information on the danger of pirated software, so, this centre offers them opportunity to access this information at no cost to them,” she said.

Also, she said it would provide opportunities for partners to develop and expand their businesses so they could better serve their customers, underscoring the fact that it is equipped with PCs and internet access, where partners could access their partner account and information relevant to their business.

“As part of Microsoft’s continued commitment to serve the needs of its partners and help them reach their full potential, the centre will also incorporate a training facility where partners will have access to training programmes designed to strengthen their skills and support their business needs,” she said.

Mrs. Okpaka expressed appreciation to the management of Nexusoft Solutions and Headstone Technologies for supporting the project.

“There will be no sale of Microsoft products at the centre and PCs and internet use are not available for public use. Ultimately, we want our partners and customers across Nigeria to see that the Microsoft Information Centre is about them and for them,” Okpaka declared.

Equally speaking, Mr. Abel Odje of Ruthabel ICT, said as a Microsoft partner, he is looking forward to utilising the information centre to access the world class training which would take place there.

“The knowledge that we gain through consistent training is passed on to our customers, enabling them to adopt technology solutions which would help transform their businesses,” he said.

ITRealms Online learnt that the centre would also, provide recommendations on where to buy genuine software, how to spot signs your software may be counterfeit and guidance on what to do in the event you have already unknowingly purchased pirated software.

Microsoft sells the vast majority of its products through over 640,000 partners worldwide. These partners - ranging from those who sell hardware to those who write software, provide IT services and serve as IT distribution channels, operate locally in every market where Microsoft products are sold.


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