" ITREALMS: May 2006

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Celtel abandons NITEL for Vmobile

By Remmy Nweke

Celtel International has finally abandoned the pursuit of buying over the national operator, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), just as the telco said the renaming of Vmobile brand is imminent.

This development came following the take over of the 65 per cent stake in the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), Vee Network Limited, trading under the name of Vmobile by Celtel.

ITRealms Online recalls that mid-April Celtel International, a subsidiary of MTC Group of Kuwait, entered into what was called ‘Conditional Acquisition’ with Celtel for a total consideration of US$1.005 billion.

Celtel, lately was listed among five telcos about to bid for NITEL this year, but has now dropped the idea. Also last year, Celtel on learning that the Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTel), the GSM arm of NITEL was extracted from the original NITEL offer withdrew its bid.

This is against the report that the erstwhile shareholding company, Econet Wireless International (EWI) Tuesday instituted a court case against the deal between Vmobile and Celtel.

But Vmobile said it is yet to receive official court injunction to that effect as at the time of briefing the press Wednesday.

Responding to questions at the official ceremony to announce the formal completion of the deal with Vmobile in Lagos, Celtel’s Chief Strategy and Development Officer, Ms Tsega Gebreyes, said the telco would forgo the NITEL dream.

“We would not pursue NITEL anymore given that we have completed acquisition today,” she asserted.

Expressing delight on the completion of the deal, she said, that negotiations with Vmobile’s shareholders have resulted in the much needed investment in the company.

“Celtel looks forward to a strong partnership with Vmobile shareholders to build an even stronger business” Ms Gebreyes said.

While announcing the formal completion, a director in Vmobile and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Paul Usoro, said that Celtel has acquired 65 per cent of Vmobile after a successful transaction.

This follows the expiration of the mandatory 30-day period to enable EWI exercise the right of ‘first refusal’.

According to him, at the end of the board’s meeting weekend, the remaining 65 per cent of Vmobile’s shares were transferred to Celtel International.

“We are delighted to have found a partner that shares both our vision and our passion for developing the mobile telephony market in Nigeria,” he declared.

Stressing that the transaction would assist Vmobile to continue its expansion plans to ensure that the company offer Nigerians the highest quality infrastructure and world class service that they deserve.

Mr. Usoro also said that the initial $1.005 billion has been structured as the purchase of existing shares and equity injection which will immediately boost Vmobile’s financial ability to continue and accelerate its aggressive roll out.

Equally speaking, chief executive of Celtel International, Mr. Marten Pieters, reassured the over 2000 employee of Vmobile that intelligent ones would be retained.

Out of the 12 directors in the new Celtel Nigeria, he said, five would be Nigerians, another five Africans and the remaining two non-Africans.
“I am very proud to say that all we have achieved was part of team work,” he said, even as he expects their Nigerian colleagues in erstwhile Vmobile to integrate into Celtel.
ITRealms Online further recalled that since getting its license in 2001, Vmobile Nigeria has undergone series of restructuring including a transformation from initial Econet Wireless to Vodacom and now Vmobile Nigeria.
Incorporated in 2000, Vmobile Nigeria is a telecommunications company providing GSM services in the country, lays claims to being the first GSM operator to initiate call on August 5, 2001.
Vmobile now has over 5.3 million subscribers and with this acquisition, Celtel Group now has 15.3 million subscribers in 15 countries on the continent.
Celtel has presence in Burkina Faso, Chad, Rep Congo Democratic Republic, Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

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MTN confirms sealing of Abuja office

... Owerri outlet too

By Remmy Nweke

MTN Nigeria Communications has confirmed the sealing of its regional office in Abuja and Owerri outlet, Tuesday by the officials of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), but lamented that there was no prior notice by the authorities that claimed discrepancy in its Y’ello Times promotion.

ITRealms Online recalled that estimated 25 armed policemen where at MTN Regional Office Abuja to enforce the sealing reportedly on the orders of CPC and accompanied by CPC officials. The Owerri outlet belongs to a private concern who is a partner to MTN.

Confirming this development, MTN said, “ ... The Consumer Protection Council came to MTN’s Regional Offices in Abuja yesterday, May 30, 2006, with 25 armed policemen to seal the said premises.”

Corporate Service Executive, MTN Nigeria, Mrs Amina Oyagbola, said in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online noted that though the telco supports the effort of the government in ensuring good consumerism culture and quality services.

She also said that MTN as fully committed organisation in delivery of optimal qualitative service to its subscribers introduced the Y’ello Times promotion to reward loyalty to the network, lamenting that incidentally CPC sealed the office and an outlet based on suspected faults without any prior notice to the organisation.

“No notice, court order or other official documentation from the authority or right to seal the premises was presented to anyone before, during or after their actions. Further, no one was informed of the reasons for their action at the time they proceeded to seal the premises,” she said.

Mrs. Oyagbola also said that MTN only learnt of the reasons for the CPC actions, through the media and that was after the sealing was effected.

“This is against the rule of law and against the spirit of democracy,” she decried.

Equally, she confirmed that an MTN Connect Store owned and managed by one of the firm’s business partners and a private entrepreneur in Owerri was sealed under the instructions of the CPC.

“Similarly, no notice, court order or other official documentation addressed to MTN or to the private entrepreneur stating the case to answer and giving reasons for the CPC’s action was presented to the occupants of the Store prior to, during or after the exercise. This is clearly unlawful and beyond the powers of the CPC under its enabling law,” MTN noted.

The Corporate executive further disclosed that the action of CPC has negatively impacted on the customer experience on MTN’s network and the provision of mobile services throughout Northern and Eastern parts of the country.

“The action has also resulted in reputation damage to MTN and financial loss to the proprietor of the Connect Store in Owerri, who is a private citizen,” she said.

Emphasising that MTN does have the civil right to a fair hearing and to be informed of the legal premise upon which any official sanction is being executed.

“This was not done by the CPC and amounts to a breach of due process. We request the CPC to educate us and the public as to the specific provisions under their enabling law that authorities them to seal up the premises of MTN and its business partners in this manner,” she said in the statement.

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Internet: Boost to new economy

By Remmy Nweke

THE new Internet-driven global economy is undoubted quite critical and basic to the 21st century economic and industrial revolution.

Professor Manny Aniebonam, the President of the United States (US)-based Nigerian Information Technology Professional in the Americas (NITPA), has said while delivering a paper at the just concluded computer, Telecoms and Office Equipment (CTO-06) in Lagos.

He said that in accordance with the global framework for the new economy, information networking is critical for economic growth and knowledge-based production.

Growth for value for stocks, he pointed out, “now substitutes for profit as the determinant of the new economy.”

He said that Nigeria is yet to tap from over six million of her citizens in diaspora.

NITPA President noted that for the nation to benefit from the new global economic trend, there is need to invest and tap the ‘non-oil strategy.”

Out of the estimated six million Nigerian experts, he said that latest statistics on Nigerians in diaspora showed that NITPA records over 250,000 in the core ICT sector, 197,000 practicing physicians and over 25,000 Nigerian-born professors and lecturers are based in the US alone.

According to him, the brain drain factor, greatly contributed to this number, which saw to the over six million of the nation’s best human resources residing in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

In a paper entitled “The Diaspora Role in Nation Building,” Prof. Aniebonam who also presides over AfriHub LLC as chief executive, noted that there is a new economy catching global attention while unleashing productivity and creating prosperity, “but in a very uneven pattern.”

Current parameters, Prof. Aniebonam said, go beyond possession of natural resources such as oil, gas and copper.

“All these without technological knowledge are baseless and in some cases more of a curse than a blessing,” he asserted.

Aniebonam noted that ICT if properly used could revolutionize the economy of the country by way of spurring models of informatics, capable of facilitating the nation’s leapfrogging efforts. He called for an intervention strategy based on harnessing the technological skills of Nigerians in Diaspora.

“This must be embraced by all,” he declared.

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NIG boss enjoins committees on infostructure

By Remmy Nweke

PRESIDENT, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Mr. Lanre Ajayi, has enjoined the newly inaugurated committee chairmen of the group to work towards enshrining local content in the nation’s Internet savvy public, saying that the nation currently lacks adequate local content which he described as ‘Infostructure.’

This is coming as he said that content remains the king for emancipation of today’s society.

Speaking at the inauguration of 13-man committee chairmen in Lagos, he said, the committees form new phase of tools for empowerment of Nigerians through technology and especially via the Internet content provision.

“We believe these committees would lead the nation to the center stage of Information Society,” he said,

The group’s boss explained that why NIG at this time is focusing on local content is because it has become inevitably as a tool for Information Society.

“Content is king and content is money,” he declared.

Mr. Ajayi who doubles as the chief executive, PiNet Informatics Limited, also said that NIG is now very determined to fill that gap through providing relevant local content from the nation’s vast culture.

Emphasising that in the last 11 years, NIG has evolved from creation of awareness about the Internet to availability of Internet access that are now being provided with state-of-the-art technologies, including Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA 2000 1X), Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), pre-Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access otherwise known as (WiMAX), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) as well as Evolution Data Technologies to name a few.

What is required now, Mr. Ajayi said, is local Internet content, which he described as “Infostructure” that would pave the way for applications of Internet technology as tools for job creation.

He further said that NIG was excited to have assembled the best bred of Information Technology (IT) professionals and stakeholders in the country to assist in accomplishing the new vision of the group.

“Our new vision is to promote building of local content for the Internet and using the Internet as a tool for job creation,” he declared.

Mr. Ajayi equally expressed confidence that this team would be capable of leading the campaign of turning the nation into a global standard Information Society, where e-government, e-commerce, e-business among others would flourish.

The 11 committees included government relations, Webmaster certification, youth development, research and statistics, publication, Internet for Jobs Initiative (I4JI), membership, e-Readiness, business development, training, international relations, policy and position papers as well as conference and seminar.

The committee chairmen who were later presented their Terms of Reference (ToR) at the inauguration included Chief Kayode Shobanjo of Business Development; Mr. Destiny Amana, e-Readiness; Mr. Gbenga Sesan, Youth Development; Mr. Shina Badaru, Publications; Mr. Remmy Chuks Nweke; International Relations, and Mr. Omotola Olaide of Membership committee.

Other chairmen are Mr. Jide Awe of Webmaster certification, Mr. Olaleye Alao of Government Relations as well as Mr. Bankole Olubanise, Internet For Job Initiative.

The ceremony was graced by the group’s Vice President, Mrs. Ufoma Daro, Publicity Secretary, Mr. Qasim Akinreti, Mr. Bosun Arebuwa and Administrative Secretary, Mr. Fidelis Orji among others.

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Ekuwem advises youths on computer literacy

By Remmy Nweke

PRESIDENT, Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, has advised Nigerian youths on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) saying they have to begin with being computer literate.

For him, computer literacy has become a universal language that Nigerians especially the youth cannot just ignore, of which doing so would be at their own peril.

Speaking at the recently ended Computer, Telecommunication and Office Equipment (CTO-06) at a special session for students and aspiring entrepreneurs in a paper titled “Expand Your Frontier: The Knowledge-based Economy,” Dr. Ekuwem said that clicking to wealth at this era of digital revolution, is by the art of participating in the global knowledge-base economy.

Dr. Ekuwem, who also is the chief executive, Teledom Group noted this starts with being computer literate.

He also advised those aspiring to become entrepreneurs nowadays to learn to use the Internet positively, because, “It’s a global reservoir of knowledge and skills”.

According to him, they should aspire towards owning a Personal Computer (PC) either in small groups or even take a lease, due to its importance and the value it would add to their lives.

“It’s a host to resources and it’s your interface with the world especially if the PC has Internet access,” he said.

Dr. Ekuwem further counseled youths to register their own domain name either as “personal, school, family, club and business as well as develop a website accordingly”.

Whatever they think forms part of their offering to the rest of the world, he said, should be on their website.

Stressing, “Your physical self is located in one geographical space in time, but your website is yourself located in the cyberspace; quasi omni-present and accessible globally”.

Nigerian youths and upcoming entrepreneurs should, he said, begin to think and act electronically by minimizing physical movements and reducing hard copy syndrome, so as to be locally productive.

This, he elucidated would avail them the chances of gaining man-hours.“Start thinking globally while acting locally,” he concluded. The session was sponsored by Zenith Bank Plc.

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Arikjobs.com records 9,000 candidates

By Remmy Nweke

Over 9000 electronic applications were received within two weeks of unveiling of www.arikjobs.com according to the Managing Director, Mr. Alex van Elk.

www.arikjobs.com a dedicated job website for Arik Air, the new Nigerian Airline, billed to commence domestic routes nationwide beginning summer this year, as it plans to go intercontinental soon after.

Reacting to this development, Mr. Van Elk noted that the success of the website, launched penultimate Tuesday, was a milestone for the company.

“Particularly on the skeptic that the web environment is not particularly right for local marketing due to the problems associated with Internet operations in Nigeria,” he declared.

Mr. Van Elk also said that the success of the website is an indication that value of combining both web and traditional marketing is gradually becoming a success story in this part of the world.

Thus, he said, the airline plans to use both mediums aggressively to promote Arik as an airline that aims to surpass existing local standards in the industry by adhering to European Safety standards throughout the operation.

ITRealms Online recalls that Arik Air is oiling machines to commence flights throughout Nigeria, just as the company assures that all the right structures would be in place to convey the brand properties to the flying public, the core of which includes the competence of personnel in every area of the airline operation.

The company therefore reiterated its commitment to investing on its personnel to acquire the right attitude and skills to truly represent the brand as a customer centric airline.

Restating that the importance of its employment plan, Mr. van Elk said “Arik’s use of the Internet and the dedicated jobs website is also a positioning statement to separate the brand from the pack in the industry.

“Our recruitment drive began with press advertising announcing the website address and the response to the advertisement has been remarkable with almost one thousand applications pouring into the portal every day” he said.

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CS can handle requests seamlessly – Oyediran

By Remmy Nweke

Chief executive of Contact Solutions (CS) Limited, Mr. Sonny Oyediran, has said that with the firm’s Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) state-of-the-arts equipment that they can handle any request seamlessly.
According to him, the functionalities of CTI deployed by Contact Solutions, in addition to well-trained representatives, that the firm can handle any kind of request from clients across all the sectors of the economy.

In a chat with newsmen at the 2006 edition of Computer, Telecommunications and Office Equipment (CTO-2006) in Lagos, Mr. Oyediran said that with the capacity to accommodate 900 Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), Contact Solutions is ready to transform the face of customers relationships in the country.
Corroborating, the Sales and Marketing Manager at Contact Solutions Limited, Ms Candy Agu, said that they are well-equipped to face the Nigerian market squarely and bring the required change in the Customer Relations Management (CRM) of companies who engage their services.
Contact Solutions specializes on deployment of CIT to engender values to customer relations.

She also said, they have been receiving exciting responses since the company roll out operations in January.

“Our core value added is helping companies locally to retain their customers. This is our main goal,” she asserted.

Ms Agu further said, CS basically work with databases of customers provided by the clienteles.
Explaining that usually, they dedicate telephone numbers for customers to call in when needed from various clients.
She emphasised that very soon, CS would host a workshop as part of efforts to create more awareness on the offerings of the firm.

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eClemo hit grows by 300%

By Remmy Nweke

Online marketplace, www.eclemo.com, has a record breaking hit growth of over 300 per cent in adverts and visitors’ to the portal, thus emerging as one of the hottest sites on the continent.

eClemo, a business to consumers (B2C), consumer to consumer (C2C) and business to business (B2B) portal provides an online window for sellers to advertise their goods to thousands of people across the globe seeking for such products or services, free of charge.

Vice President, eClemo Nigeria Limited, Mr. Clement Ekhator, who revealed this said that the portal offers a whole lot from electronic products, houses, books, computers, beauty and pharmaceutical products, health and hospital equipment, business an industrial products, digital cameras and accessories, clothing and accessories, musical instruments, and Nigerian home videos to legal services, home tutorial and others.

According to him, the portal was designed as an automated auction site where buyers or sellers could personally place products for sale online, users may load their own advert themselves or ask to be guided by the eClemo team.

“More than 750 major deals have been concluded since it was launched giving it a remarkable success rate in a country, just starting to get in tune with online opportunities to spread news on products and services to prospective customers beyond the confine of where the products are immediately situated,” he said.

Stressing that the development is great news for the firm’s management, which is making everything possible to expand the portal by giving them a reach that was not existing before now.

“We have shown that the Internet can be a useful resource to advertise products or services even in Nigeria,” he declared.

Underscoring this as a prove that there is full acceptance of the website by Nigerians, he said, transactions on the site are equally growing steadily as well as comments from the public using eClemo, saying it gives users price transparency in the market about product, easy to use.

ITRealms Online recollects that since its launch about a year ago, the eClemo.com has grown to become one of the continent’s major meeting points for buyers and seller of services and product.

For Ekhator, it has become the biggest car online market on the continent with over 320 cars on its site and featured some of the widest range of electronic and ICT products for sale particularly in the country.

“We invite everyone to visit our website and see things for themselves. Companies can advertise their banner or logo for their solution to business with eclemo.com. Our vision remains to create an interactive meeting point for buyers and sellers on the continent. We are happy at the progress we are making,” he submitted.

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Motorola’s PEBL hits African market

By Remmy Nweke

HANDSET manufacturer, Motorola, has unveiled its latest design known as PEBL into the African’s telecommunications market.

The PEBL product, which hit the market in South Africa weekend for the continent has been described as a shape by nature.

The PEBL’s rounded silhouette, Motorola said is the first interaction of a new round of silhouette inspired by the feel of a stone worm smooth by water with oral handset which marks an evolution in the firm’s mobile design philosophy.

Head, Marketing at Motorola South Africa, Ms Sarit Reoveni, said the design invites the consumer to touch and feel the tactile and mysterious new form.

Also defined as a perfect marriage of design and innovation, PEBL’s unique opening mechanism adds to the mystery and allure of this simple, yet distinctive handset.

She pointed out that a recent, in South Africa commissioned by Motorola showed that 90 per cent of consumers would want their cell phones with them all the time.

“This finding provides a strong motivation behind the power of iconic design and brand-lead purchasing decision.

“Consumers want their cell phone to mirror their image, to be an extension of their self-_expression,” Reoveni said.

She also explained that the PEBL silhouette was created to emotionally and rationally engages with consumers.

“It has character and defined personality that speak a very human and intuitive language through sight, sound and touch” she said.

Mrs. Reoveni outlined its features to include integrated Bluetooth wireless technology, speaker independent voice recognition, up to 5 mega bytes (MG) of memory and a Video Graphics Array (VGA) camera and all seamlessly merge to deliver an effortlessly cool experience.

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Tasks has evolved, toasts customers

By Remmy Nweke

Managing Director of Task Systems Limited, Mr. Dave Ibelegbu has said that the company has grown from desktop publishing company to sub-regional Information Technology (IT) solutions provider.

Speaking at a forum for its customers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Mr. Ibelegbu said that over the years the company has evolved to the West Africa’s biggest IT solutions provider because of its focus and competencies in meeting customers’ needs.

“Task Systems grew from a desktop publishing company at inception in 1989 to West Africa’s biggest IT solutions provider because it remained focused on expanding and deepening competencies to effectively meet the solution needs of customers” he asserted.

The event which took place at the firm’s newly acquired office in the city, he said, was organized to promote informal interaction between the management of Task Systems and its numerous customers as well as keep them abreast of development in the company including the new office block.

He also highlighted some strategic steps taken recently to position Task Systems for the next level competition.

These, he said, include the introduction of Simply Better Way programme aimed at aligning the company’s structure, process and attitude to world-class standards in order to deliver clients’ objectives in a more effective and cost-efficient manner.

Mr. Ibelegbu further said the firm has developed a new product known as Task Service Manager (TSM), structured as a world-class service management outsourcing package that delivers end-to-end support for all IT assets from desktops to servers and applications to networking infrastructure.

According to him, smart organizations world-wide outsource total IT to trusted specialists in order to concentrate on core businesses.

Stressing that is why Task Systems came up with the TSM in order to take off that burden from its major customers.Customers cutting across the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Population Commission (NPC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE), National University Commission (NUC), British Council, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Valencia Hotel among others, were at the event.

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Gloworld opens in Jos, 6 more winners emerge

By Remmy Nweke

Globacom, the second national operator has opened its office in Jos, Plateau State, just as six winners emerged in its 180 cars in 180 days jumbo promo in Ibadan.

This is coming as the former military governor and now chief executive, Farm Fresh, Air Vice Marshal Ishaya Shekari, has lauded the company, saying it has propelled revolution in the telecommunications sector.

Shekari who was speaking at the opening of the new office of Gloworld in Jos, noted that Nigerians who have tried their hands on business would appreciate the efforts of the chairman of Globacom, Dr Mike Adenuga (jnr).
He also said that of all the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) operators in the country, “Globacom truly has the most affordable charges.”
As said by him, “All of us who have attempted to do business in Nigeria have come to appreciate, Dr Mike Adenuga as a pacesetter in every sense. I was on another network before I was introduced to Globacom and ever since I started using Globacom, I have discovered that Globacom truly has the most affordable per second call rate.”
He gave emphasis to the fact that Globacom has come to Jos, it has brought along with it a revolution because of the reasonableness of its tariff.
Also speaking at the commissioning ceremony, the Plateau State Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Indaba, described Globacom as an “excellent product.”
Welcoming guests to the ceremony, the Jos Regional Manager of Globacom, Mr. Chudi Nwoye, said that Globacom has established “a pedigree for itself as the telecoms company which is constantly giving the people life-changing opportunities.”
Assuring the people of the state that Globacom, as a national icon, would not waver from the path of patriotism as it would remain committed to its pledge to cover every nook and cranny of the state.
Equally in her remarks, Managing Director, Gloworld, Mrs. Shade Boyede, said that the Jos outlet has brought the number of such outlets to 23 nationwide, stressing that plans were at advanced stage to add 30 more outlets before the end of the year.
She noted that in barely 32 months of operations, Globacom has achieved a subscriber base of seven million.
In a related development, six winners emerged weekend at the regional draw in Ibadan, in continuation of its on going Glo Jumbo Promo.
The six winners, each won a Kia Picanto saloon car while another six were announced as winners of generating sets, while 48 others each won a cash prize of N25,000.
The winning numbers for the Kia Picanto cars were 08058418524, 08057662935, 08056987216, 08053041503, 08051791071 and 08051118615, while 08056764010, 08055607184, 08055291314, 08055174484, 08054690056, and 08052834438 won the power generating sets.
This brings to 26 the number of subscribers who have so far won cars in the Glo Jumbo promo. Ten emerged at the Ogun Gateway Games edition of the draw in April while 10 more won in the Lagos draws staged recently.
Mr. Chris Ehimen, Head of Consumer Marketing of Globacom, said at the event that the promotion was a way of rewarding the subscribers who have shown faith in the company over the years.
He said the company appreciated its subscribers and would continue to offer world class quality of service and make the happiness of its subscribers top priority.
Towards this end, he said, the entry qualification for the draws was reviewed downward from #1,500 recharge to #1,000 within thirty days preceding the draw date to ensure that more subscribers took part in the promo. Prizes worth N500 million are on offer.
Veteran journalist and Bale of Ekotedo, Elder Taye Ayorinde, who witnessed the draws said he was proud of the great feat that Globacom had performed within the first two years of its operations. According to him, Globacom signified hope in a better future for the nation and is a pointer to the fact that Nigerian entrepreneurs can excel like their counterparts in the developed world.
“I make bold to say that Globacom is the best thing to happen to the entrepreneurial face of the country in recent time. If Otunba Mike Adenuga could do it with Globacom and his other business concerns, others can also excel in their businesses in Nigeria given the right spirit and determination. I wish to appeal to other well-meaning Nigerians to invest in Nigeria to build a solid future for ourselves and our children after us,” he said.

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GUS comes to West Africa

By Remmy Nweke

UNITED States (US)-based Global University System (GUS), a technologically-based platform for advanced education and poverty reduction, has found it’s way to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Founder and Vice President for Technology and Coordinator of GUS, Dr. Takeshi Utsumi, disclosed this to ITRealms Online, recently.

Already, a meeting involving GUS, the group’s chief consultant and chief executive, Connect Technologies Limited, Mr. Chris Uwaje, Director-General, Advanced Information Technology Institute (AITI) Ghana, Dr. (Mrs) Dorothy K. Gordon and officials of ECOWAS in Accra.

In a concept paper on the creation of GUS presented by Dr. Utsumi and made available to our correspondent, the initiative is due to take off soon.

According to Dr. Utsumi, steps have been advanced to create GUS in Ghana thereby evolving a new economy in a knowledge society.

GUS, the laureate of Lord Perry award for excellence in distance education, said, would enable African countries and ECOWAS members to leapfrog with abundant supply of excellent brain power.

The project, the researcher further said aims at building a higher level of humanity with mutual understanding across national and cultural boundaries for global peace.

Dr. Utsumi noted that the keys to transformation from industrial to knowledge societies are education and health, and they “are the very basis of the national wealth”.

Institutions partnering with GUS, Dr. Utsumi explained will become members of the larger GUS, United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and UNITWIN Networking chair programme located at the University of Tampere, Finland.

Also these institutions will act as knowledge centers of their communities for the eradication of poverty and isolation via the use of advanced Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

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TTC warms up for youth training

By Remmy Nweke

LAGOS-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Transfer Technology Center (TTC) Organisation, is warming up for its third in the series of training for the Nigerian youth on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

The three-week training tagged National Youth Development Programme in Information Technology (IT), would deal specifically with issue of interconnecting networks with Cisco switches and routers.

President, TTC Organisation, Mr. Akin Aregbesola, informed ITRealms Online that the training slated to hold in Lagos and Port Harcourt respectively, leads to international certification in Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).

The training to be attended by graduates, post-primary school leavers and students has been structured in a way to benefit those with the potential of seeking future career in the ICT sector.

Assuring that the training is of industry-standard, he said, its objective is to equip the Nigerian youths for possible employment opportunity as well as instill in them the skills and entrepreneurship essentials.

Mr. Aregbesola also said that former beneficiaries of the programme are now big time employees of various companies across the economy.

He promised that at the end of the training, participants would be able to design voice and data networks from scratch.

“They would learn to use various network elements like hubs, switches, bridges, routers, and so on and implement various protocols like Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) cum Internet Protocol (IP), X.25, frame-relay, as well as Local Area Networks (LANs), Internet works and Wide Area Networks (WAN).” he said.

According to him, trainees would be given necessary support to ensure they scale through the certification exams in addition to pursuing appropriate careers in telecom, even as career and interview counseling will be provided by former trainees.

The programme to commence June at the TTC Lagos and Port Harcourt, he said, would entail practical training along with access to manuals, dumps and certificates.In order to extend the horizon of the programme, he said, that TTC Organisation is currently collaborating with the National Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSSS) to take this same quality training to students and staff of Nigerian Universities on their campuses.

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Zinox explains presence in Ghana

By Remmy Nweke

Zinox Technologies, manufacturers of Zinox Computers, has explained its presence in the capital of Ghana, Accra, where it tends to commence offshore production come September this year, just as it eyes three other countries in the sub-region.

Group Head, Brand Development and Communication at Zinox, Mr. Clement Ugorji, said it is a strategic step to enable the company meet the increasing demand in Ghana and other neighbouring countries for Zinox Personal Computers (PCs), laptops, servers and Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS), while taking advantage of Ghana’s favorable production climate.

The step, he also said will bring the products nearer and at more affordable costs to consumers in those markets, stressing that Zinox has since received necessary approvals from relevant Ghanaian government agencies, and the company’s four-storey complex in Accra consisting of offices and an ultramodern plant would be completed in July.

“The plant will be test run by August and full production will commence in September,” he said

Mr. Ugorji made it clear that Zinox Technologies will continue to manufacture its products at the main plant in Lagos, to serve the enormous Nigerian market where it already enjoys entrenched leadership position.

“Extending its production base to Ghana will significantly reduce the price of Zinox products in neighboring countries, because of substantially lower production costs made possible by stable power supply, zero duty on imported components and zero Value Added Tax (VAT) that Ghana offers,” he asserted.

Noting that this is a sharp contrast to the situation in Nigeria where IT manufacturers pay between 5 per cent and 10 per cent duty on components; while, paradoxically, imported fully built computers attract zero duty.

He further explained that Zinox Technologies is confident that Zinox (Ghana) will be a very successful venture.

According to him, apart from lower production costs the company envisages radical growth in demand for its products, given the imminent explosion in IT capacity that will result from the ongoing World Bank-assisted project to ring the entire country by optic fiber.

“Consequently reducing the cost of bandwidth and making the Internet accessible and affordable to all Ghanaians wherever they live,” he noted.
The optic fiber project is a forward-looking strategy by the Ghanaian government to boost IT capacity and effectively transform the country into West Africa’s regional ICT hub.

He also disclosed that the forthcoming entrance of Zinox into the Ghanaian market is creating excitement there, and the company is already receiving orders for supply and installation of its systems in Ghana.

He further revealed that three other countries in the West and Central Africa regions have invited Zinox Technologies to establish production plants, and the company is seriously appraising these possibilities.

He noted that these developments, which reflect the growing international recognition and acceptance of Zinox products also strengthen the company’s ambition to become the dominant African IT brand of world-class standards.

Zinox, brainchild of Chief Leo Stan Ekeh was launched in 2001 with a public trust committed to a spiritual responsibility to achieve technology independence not only for Nigeria but also for the entire Africa.

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Microsoft exchange for FCMB

By Remmy Nweke

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has deployed the latest information technologies, Microsoft Exchange 2003, to provide an advanced email, messaging and collaboration solution.

This, the bank said was in a move to reposition as one of the top three banks in the country in the next four years.

The Microsoft-based software infrastructure has improved the bank’s internal processes, and allowed its internal stakeholders to communicate and collaborate more effectively. He listed some of the benefits of the new deployment.

Speaking on the software deployment, Mr. Ladi Balogun, the Managing Director/CEO of FCMB, said: “Technology is crucial to our business. To streamline operations, be efficient in all areas and allow customers to interact with us around-the-clock, via alternative channels, not just branches, we need a stable technology platform.”

The move also signals a shift in the relationship between the bank and its technology suppliers. Balogun says he prefers to see Microsoft as a key strategic partner and not just a company that simply drops off boxes of software.

“With a larger-scale business, we can offer customers a lower cost and higher quality banking service. We can also start effectively using technologies such as customer relationship management to improve our customers’ experience, and to identify new products and services,” the bank chief emphasizes.

Balogun justified the strategic alliance between the bank and Microsoft saying, “We are also working on a roadmap that will give us strong MIS [management information systems] such as business intelligence, document management, knowledge management and CRM. A partnership with our technology suppliers is therefore vital.”

“We are working with FCMB via our business partner, TITIS, over the next two months to provide an advanced email, messaging and collaboration solution based on our Exchange 2003 platform,” explains Mr. Adefolu Majekodunmi, the financial services industry manager at Microsoft Nigeria.

He explains that the Exchange 2003, “not only allows employees and management to communicate when they are at branches or the head office but allows them to be in contact from wherever they are.”

FCMB also lent its voice to the issue of software piracy and lauded Microsoft leadership in this.

“The market for ICT in Nigeria is huge, yet many multinational technology companies choose to ignore it. Microsoft is one of the few US software firms that has a direct presence here and, as such, they are well positioned to ensure compliance by users of their software and this is welcome. One of the benefits of enforcing piracy laws is that the international community will become aware of the attractive statistics of the Nigerian market,” he said.

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Osinubi joins SystemSpecs

By Remmy Nweke

Renowned software house, SystemSpecs Limited, has appointed Mr. Chris Osinubi formerly of Lucent Technologies, United States as Group Head, Business Development.

With a background of study and work experience spanning about 25 years in US, United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa, Osinubi is bringing to SystemSpecs a broad outlook as the Group Head, Business Development.

Born in Port Harcourt, Osinubi completed his primary education at Ago Ijaye Methodist Primary School, Ebute Metta, Lagos. His secondary education was at Mayflower School, Ikenne where he had the privilege of working as the Chief Registrar to Tai Solarin.

His outlook for knowledge and self-development is portrayed by his academic and professional qualifications, which include three advanced degrees.

He possesses; BSc. Information and Decision Science (University of Illinois, Chicago); MSc. Computer Science (De Paul University, Chicago); MSc. International Business (Roosevelt University, Chicago) and MBA Marketing Research & Management Information Systems (Roosevelt University, Chicago).

Osinubi began his career at Lucent Technologies in 1990 as a technical staff member of the Switching Business Unit.

He resigned his appointment at Lucent Technology as a Senior Manager Government Accounts 16 years later to join SystemSpecs. In Lucent Technologies, he participated in the company’s one year cross posting program to Swindon (UK) and another one to Johannesburg (South Africa).
Before Lucent Technologies, Osinubi was with British Petroleum – Amoco Corporation.

He is joining the league of top-flight Nigerians being recruited from the Diaspora by SystemSpecs which include Hakeem Bakare (CMA, PhD) - the Head of Financial Solutions Group, who joined SystemSpecs from Kmart Corporation (USA) about 2 and a half years ago having sojourned for over 18 years in Canada, USA and Ukraine.

At SystemSpecs, Osinubi will be in charge of driving the Business Development function energizing the quest of the company to further stamp its presence across the African continent.

His global perspectives will help in no small way to re-strategize and sustain the gain the company has achieved over the years.

Osinubi has indeed returned home to contribute to Nigeria’s quest of securing a respectable niche in the global IT landscape.

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Koukis for Inlaks’ seminar

By Remmy Nweke

Chairman of Temenos and a Greek national, Mr. George Koukis, is expected to lead global audience to a one-day seminar being organised by Inlaks Computers, the Nigeria business partner of Temenos, developers of Temenos T24.

Mr. Koukis, who with the support of Conquer The World (CTW) vehicle bought over the right to the Globus Software in 1993. The company was re-named Temenos, which in Greek means something to be cherished.

The success of the software since then has been phenomenal with user base increased from just fewer than 30 users to over 500 users worldwide even as it has over 750 installations.

For the last eight years Temenos System has consistently been ranked as one of the best two systems in the world.

Managing Director, Inlaks, Mr. Adelowo Adesola, who disclosed this said Koukis sees the Nigerian market as very much part of Temenos success, and this is one passion he shares and would like to demonstrate Temenos commitment just beyond providing banking systems but to lend support to the growth of Nigerian banks and its integration to the world financial market place.

According to Inlak boss, Mr. Koukis is determined to see to the strong growth of the Nigeria’s banking industry and its integration into the world’s financial market place, consistent with the vision of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He also said the seminar with the theme “Developing Customer Value in Post Consolidation” is quite apt in the wake of transformation in the banking industry that witnessed the fusion of banks from 87 to 25 in one fell swoop.

“Banks today now have to contend with various issues from Integration issues in processes, to technologies, branding and cultural issues. Banks will still have to face the issues of competition which is global in today’s boundary less world,” he said.

Further, he said most retail banks worldwide including their Nigerian counterparts are still traditional in their evaluation of success by product lines rather than by customer value. “For banks to remain competitive, focus must shift to strategies on customers rather than on products.

Retail banks have long known that growing customer loyalty, customer profitability and share- of- wallet is the key to competitive advantage. Unfortunately, global estimations put banks that are organised around customer value at just under 20 per cent,” he said.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Policing beyond SIM cards

Features of the week:

The need to really computerize the Nigeria Police beyond the value added by the availability of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards has continued to be of concern, writes REMMY NWEKE.

DATELINE was Lagos State, May, Friday 19, and venue was the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Center Onikan, where the just-concluded Computer, Telecommunication and Office Equipment (CTO-06), exhibition and conferences was held.

The event, which is the sixth in the series, is the annual exhibition and conferences organized by the Commercial Section, United States Consulate, Lagos. This year’s theme was “Leveraging Franchise for Business Growth and National Development.”

Road to CTO-06

Going to this year’s CTO from the Ikeja axis of Lagos State was part of the day’s schedule, according to Mr. Okon Idah, a middle class Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enthusiast.

Having boarded a commercial bus from the popular Allen Roundabout, his mission was to be at MUSON Center and listen to the likes of chief executive, Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia, Chief executive, Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, who also is the president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), as well as the chief executive of Spectracomm and Consultant COREMAP, Mr. Mark Schwartz, among others, during the special section on “Students and Aspiring Enterpreneurs”.

One remarkable thing that got Mr. Idah’s attention penultimate Friday was that as soon as the bus he boarded passed 7Up Junction, near the demolished toll-gate, a Police motorbike was blocking a heavy-duty truck on the highway, which nearly crushed the motorcyclist and exposed him to further crush by other vehicles on the Oworoshoki Expressway.

This follows that during the interception the truck had with the bike, a senior Police officer jumped on to the truck-door where he hanged for over 15 minutes and because the truck was not engaged in high-speed from Ojota to under-bridge, about a hundred meters from the Oworoshoki bus stop where the officer eventually got tired, obviously because the driver did not allow him entrance having locked the door and wind-up the windscreen round-up.

LASTMA antics

Then at Oworoshoki bus stop where Mr. Idah’s bus stopped, for a passenger to alight, a Molue, a long commuter bus in Lagos, soon zoomed passed with shouts and screams from the passengers, as the driver tried to dodge hitting other vehicles while heading with speed towards the third mainland bridge, which is about 400 meters ahead and definitely coming from Oshodi to CMS via Obalende in the Island part of the state.

Behind the Molue was a Toyota Hiace bus painted in commercial bus colour of yellow, occupied by a task force team in Police uniforms and some members of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).

Eventually at Adeniji Adele link road, the Molue driver managed to stop for the passengers to alight. Some who were caught in the web of the Molue driver took time to kneel by the roadside to give thanks to God for saving them. Then Mr. Idah’s bus had to convey some of these people to their final destination, including two students on their way to CTO-06.

Our stories by students …

According to the students from a high school in Oshodi, names withheld, they boarded the Molue with the hope of catching on the session on ‘Students and Aspiring Entrepreneurs’ having read about the event at CTO the previous day at the Free Readers stand near the school at Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.

But no sooner had they sat in the bus, the conductor began to ask the driver hurriedly to move, despite being aware that two of this task force members; a Police and LASTMA officials, had jumped into the bus, signaling an arrest, yet the driver refused to stop.

They said that most of the time the “Police was dragging the vehicle steering with the driver as they approach third Mainland bridge.”

For Mr. Idah, who was pondering over the two experiences aloud, some unanswered questions abound including why was the senior Police officer hanging out on a truck along the expressway and why was Policeman whose duty is to save lives drag the steering with a Molue driver.

Co-occupant of Idah’s bus, Mrs. Iyabo Oni who showed interest in the story was not excited at all as she exclaimed, “Can you imagine a police officer who ordinarily should be saving lives, now putting it at danger!” Her worries was because she knew that Molue in Lagos do not carry less than 50 passengers including those standing close to each other.

She noted that the Police needs re-orientation generally and wondered what hope for Nigerian children who are regularly showing interest in ICT, when they are not safe in the hands of Nigeria Police, let alone having their businesses conceptualized and managed with Police harassment on daily basis.

Policing without data

Wordnet, an online educational portal of Cognitive Science Laboratory, Princeton University, United States, identified data as a collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn; ‘statistical data’.” This, it says is an item of factual information derived from measurement or research.

Bearing in mind the importance of data in today’s Policing, Mr. Idah on the other hand, posited that in the first instance, if the nation’s population data is computerized such as vehicle and licensing registrations, the task force may not have to chase the Molue and the officer hanging out along the expressway should not have arise.

He underscored that in a computerized data situation, what the Police needed to do was simply to book the drivers for whatever offences they may have committed like they do now in even South Africa.

And if the situation still did not satisfy the Police, they would use a good communication network system to reach out to other Police divisions and the culprit would be rounded up in no time.

He also said that if not for corrupt tendencies why should the officer take such a risk despite the fact that the driver refused to stop for booking initially.

Essential point here, he said, is that the Nigeria Police will do better if well-equipped with relevant communication gadgets and in no distant time, the likes of unrepentant truck and Molue drivers, will have no choice than to stop knowing fully well that as long as they are in this country, they would be fished out and arrested.

Conversely …

Maybe as posited by one of the students, that since the Nigeria Police is a contradiction of itself, the Nigeria Police Commission should consider ‘outsourcing’ some of its operations if not total ‘franchise’ to capable and trusted organizations to manage, but that will not be without constant training and retraining of men and women in the Police force.

Equally, have you considered the time wasted by Police officers in manually checking papers both relevant and irrelevant to their immediate search, especially on vehicle particulars, a situation ICT experts would say is achieved with a click of the mouse by the seconds if a Police team has a well-equipped communication vehicle with adequate computerized system.

Therefore, computerizing the Nigeria police must go beyond availability of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) for Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), of which most of the officers do not have credit all the time, together with rickety vehicles or having an updated website.

The main question now is when shall Nigerian Police be fully computerized? An aggressive effort that starts now can only give indication that the answer is in the near future, only if we begin now without forgetting what a country like Ghana is doing with her Police.

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Cisco has confidence in Nigeria – Emelife

By Remmy Nweke

Managing Director, Cisco Nigeria, Mr. Maduka Emelife, has adduced more reasons for the global company to open office in the country, saying it has confidence in the current reforms.

Mr. Emelife who spoke in a chat with ITRealms Online said, that Cisco makes complex products.

“For a Cisco to therefore invest in Nigeria at this time, is a test of its confidence in the progress of the Nigerian economic and government reforms,” he affirmed.

Also Cisco presence in the country, he said, depicts an opportunity for both the firm and Nigeria to explore mutually beneficial opportunities for long term partnership, moreso, as the nation is still at the infrastructure stage in many sectors and the basis for effective infrastructure management are networks - intelligent networks, which Cisco is the only player in intelligent networks.

“The country has to take advantage of this” he said.

As said by him, Cisco is the leader in complex networking products which guides countries and companies in their journey of life and service to its citizens and customers.

“We do recognize that there are still skill shortages and so we are focusing on building the competencies of partners and customers alike,” he said.

Stressing that there are 22 Cisco Network Academies in the country already, but his leadership at Cisco Nigeria intends to review them and come out with plans to build more over the next few years.

Recalling that a Cisco Academy is a philanthropy project where the company provides equipments and resources for free to select serious minded institutions, who would in turn run them by providing training and certification to members of their community.

“So that such graduates of the academy would find gainful employment in networking, telecom and information technology (IT),” he asserted.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in the country, he said, should expect better customer support, market presence, and ability of providing answers to the numerous questions on what Cisco could do to help each government entity and business enterprise, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) to grow.

“We will also provide thought leadership on key national projects in information technology, education, private sector development, and how people connect to each other with technology,” he assured.

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‘Connect Solutions is well-equipped’

By Remmy Nweke

Sales and Marketing Manager at Connect Solutions Limited, Ms Candy Agu, has said that they are well equipped to face the Nigerian market squarely and bring the required change in the Customer Relations Management (CRM) of companies.

Connect Solutions specializes on deployment of Computer Telephony Integration (CIT) to engender values to customer relations.

The manager who spoke at the just concluded Computer, Telecommunications and Office Equipment (CTO-2006) in Lagos, said that with the capacity to accommodate 900 Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), Connect Solutions is poised to transform the face of customers relationships in the country.

Responses, she said, have been very encouraging mostly between customers and operators at the firm’s end.

“Our core value added is helping companies locally to retain their customers. This is our main goal,” she told correspondent.

Explaining further, Ms Agu said, Connect Solutions basically work with databases of customers provided by the firm’s clients.

“Usually, we have a special number to be called by customers of various client companies,” she said.

Mr. Agu also informed that currently Connect Solutions which started business officially last January, has capacity that operates three shifts daily across its 300 CSRs.

She pointed out that plans are underway to organize awareness seminars in the country so as to further educate the populace on the values the firm is offering typically for large organizations.

All these, she said, would be tailored towards assisting clienteles not only to retain their customers but also to have a mileage of trust from their customers.

Also speaking, Chief executive of Connect Solutions, Mr. Sonny Oyediran, said that with the firm’s CTI functionalities, together with trained agents at hand to handle any kind of request seamlessly, the firm is ready for the nation’s market and beyond as well as across all the sectors of the economy.

Each client has a customized, cost effective solution waiting to be tapped at Connect Solutions, he noted.

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Ericsson’s ‘managed model’ for Nigerian telcos

By Remmy Nweke

CONSISTENCY with its plan to shape the future of mobile and broadband internet communications via technology leadership, Ericsson has introduced a new product known as ‘managed model’ for the Nigerian market.

According to Ericsson, the new model of operations when adopted could lead to cost savings of up to 20 per cent in the capital expenditure.

The overall benefit is to bring down the cost of operating in developing countries especially Africa with the likes of Nigeria in mind.

As said by the Managing Director, Ericsson Nigeria, Mr. Leif Edwall, the introduction is for telecom networks in the country to grow and break even.

He pointed out that given the fact that they are at a stage of development, operators in the country, need to penetrate rural areas deeply.

“Unlike urban areas where population is dense and where base stations can be concentrated in a handful of areas”, he declared.

Noting that in the rural areas population is a lot more disperse which implies for instance installation of base stations and switching equipment across very large expanses of land, together with the logistic difficulties of regular maintenance of these installations.

Mr. Edwall also said that in the Ericsson’s rural business model, the managed services concept avails telcos the ability to save cost and effort erecting a network.

“All it needs to do is buy required network coverage and capacity from Ericsson” he said, stressing that operators are also spared the operational risk involved in operating an always-on network located in the remoter parts of the country, which he said would be borne by Ericsson.

“The only risk which operators bear, therefore, is market risk, which they must bear anyway,” Mr. Edwall said.

Additionally, he said, big advantage of the rural business model is that it facilitates infrastructure sharing among operators, advising that several operators can simply buy coverage and capacity on the single Ericsson network rather than commit enormous resources, which could have been deployed elsewhere, towards building and maintaining networks especially in the more disperse markets.

“The cost savings can of course be then deployed to penetrating even deeper into the lower ends of the market, thereby further enhancing access of the poor to telecommunications, with the accompanying positive impact on country economic growth and development,” he noted.

Emphasising that by adopting the managed services model, telcos would benefit immensely in Nigeria and across Africa in many ways, which he also said, would enable them to focus on key core aspects.

Also speaking recently at the just concluded GSM East and Central Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, Managing Director, Ericsson Kenya, Mr. Thomas Sonesson, pointed out that telecom is still quite expensive on the continent.

“We see a combination of factors adding up to make telecom fairly difficult to access by the poorer segments of the population” he said.

Practically, Mr. Sonesson said, all the telecom operators tend to work in silos, installing for themselves, base stations, switches and in some cases, even providing transmission for themselves.

According to him, there are several advantages of outsourcing such back-end processes to a company like Ericsson.

“The most important, is lower and controlled spending by telecom companies as Ericsson brings the advantage of economies of scale to bear on the cost, with the result that telecom companies end up spending less than they ordinarily would were they to deploy and manage the networks by themselves” he said.

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Adobe, Nokia partner on consumer solution

By Remmy Nweke

Global software company, Adobe Systems Incorporated, is partnering with Nokia, a global mobile phone manufacturer to enhance consumer solutions.

The partnership would be hinged on the deployment of Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 software for video capture, editing and sharing in with the newly launched Nokia N93.

Announcing this development the two companies noted that the standard sales pack of the new Nokia N93 mobile device would be integrated with Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 software for Windows XP.

With Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0, video captured using the Nokia N93 could now be transferred to compatible desktop Personal Computers (PC’s) for editing, burning into Digital Video Display (DVD), and export to other formats for web streaming and electronic mail.

Delivered free of charge to Nokia N93 customers, Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0, which the software house said is valued at US$99.99, will further enhance the video capturing and sharing experience on the mobile phone.

Vice President, Product Management for Digital Imaging at Adobe, Ms Deborah Whitman, said the partnership would be featuring DVD-like video capture at 30 frames per second, a 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and 3x optical zoom with video stabilization, just as the Nokia N93 offers users digital camcorder benefits without compromising mobile phone functionality and ease of use.

Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 software, she pointed out, brings Nokia N93 users unparalleled control and multiple options for creative digital video editing with a self-adjusting workspace and DVD menu customization.

According to the Vice President, Solution Creation and Delivery for Multimedia, Nokia, Mr. Mike Butler, with latest enhancement move, owners of Nokia N93 could experiment with hundreds of professional transitions and effects and burn videos to DVD, one of many formats the software supports.

“The video capture quality of our new Nokia N93 is so good, we felt that providing users with great, easy-to-use editing and DVD burning software was an absolute must,” he declared, expressing gratitude to the collaboration with Adobe.

“We are able to offer people a comprehensive digital imaging and video experience. With Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0, you can easily turn those high-quality video clips captured with Nokia N93 into great home movies. And even better, you can burn them on a DVD to share with friends and family,” Mr. Butler said.

Ms Whiteman also stressed that rapid proliferation of mobile devices like Nokia N93 have altered the way consumers capture life events.

“Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 addresses the need to be nimble and gives people fun options to share high-quality video output just as quickly as they shot it, preserving the spontaneity of the experience” she asserted.

Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition 3.0 software is also included in the standard Nokia N93 sales pack and allows consumers to fix their high-quality digital photos utilizing the large screen of a compatible PC. With Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition 3.0, cropping, rotating, and red eye reduction can be carried out in just a few seconds.

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Adobe, Nokia partner on consumer solution

By Remmy Nweke

Global software company, Adobe Systems Incorporated, is partnering with Nokia, a global mobile phone manufacturer to enhance consumer solutions.

The partnership would be hinged on the deployment of Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 software for video capture, editing and sharing in with the newly launched Nokia N93.

Announcing this development the two companies noted that the standard sales pack of the new Nokia N93 mobile device would be integrated with Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 software for Windows XP.

With Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0, video captured using the Nokia N93 could now be transferred to compatible desktop Personal Computers (PC’s) for editing, burning into Digital Video Display (DVD), and export to other formats for web streaming and electronic mail.

Delivered free of charge to Nokia N93 customers, Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0, which the software house said is valued at US$99.99, will further enhance the video capturing and sharing experience on the mobile phone.

Vice President, Product Management for Digital Imaging at Adobe, Ms Deborah Whitman, said the partnership would be featuring DVD-like video capture at 30 frames per second, a 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and 3x optical zoom with video stabilization, just as the Nokia N93 offers users digital camcorder benefits without compromising mobile phone functionality and ease of use.

Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 software, she pointed out, brings Nokia N93 users unparalleled control and multiple options for creative digital video editing with a self-adjusting workspace and DVD menu customization.

According to the Vice President, Solution Creation and Delivery for Multimedia, Nokia, Mr. Mike Butler, with latest enhancement move, owners of Nokia N93 could experiment with hundreds of professional transitions and effects and burn videos to DVD, one of many formats the software supports.

“The video capture quality of our new Nokia N93 is so good, we felt that providing users with great, easy-to-use editing and DVD burning software was an absolute must,” he declared, expressing gratitude to the collaboration with Adobe.

“We are able to offer people a comprehensive digital imaging and video experience. With Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0, you can easily turn those high-quality video clips captured with Nokia N93 into great home movies. And even better, you can burn them on a DVD to share with friends and family,” Mr. Butler said.

Ms Whiteman also stressed that rapid proliferation of mobile devices like Nokia N93 have altered the way consumers capture life events.

“Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 addresses the need to be nimble and gives people fun options to share high-quality video output just as quickly as they shot it, preserving the spontaneity of the experience” she asserted.

Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition 3.0 software is also included in the standard Nokia N93 sales pack and allows consumers to fix their high-quality digital photos utilizing the large screen of a compatible PC. With Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition 3.0, cropping, rotating, and red eye reduction can be carried out in just a few seconds.

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DBI boss tasks schools, signs MoU on T2P

By Remmy Nweke

CHIEF executive, Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) Abuja, Dr. Olasupo Ogunfemi, has tasked Nigerian higher institutions to tap into a new fund made available by the World Bank for teaching of science and technology as development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) courses for the nation.

This came as DBI has officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Polytechnic Nekede-Owerri, (FPNO) in Imo State, under its Training-To-Placement (T2P) academic programme.

Dr. Ogunfemi said, Nigerian schools, and mostly the tertiary institutions should take advantage of this fund, which he noted is already being used by a few.

Tapping into the fund, he said, would give the nation’s tertiary institutions the required leverage to become 21st competitive and their graduates proud of the nation.

He lamented that till date some Nigerian graduates even in the computer science department are not employable due to inadequate training equipment for hands-on practical and teaching.

“Employers of labour want productive people and not just bodies of liabilities,” he declared.

Dr. Ogunfemi therefore lauded Nekede Poly for taking a step in signing the MoU on T2P academic programme of DBI, which he said was designed to provide world-class education to Africans who have the education qualifications.

“But were unable to position themselves in the ICT, industry where skillful competences are required,” he noted, even as DBI offers this programme in Diploma and Post Graduate degrees, which are awarded in various ICT disciplines.

The MoU, he also said, was well conceptualized and responsibility of each party well understood and accepted to make it a success, even as beneficiaries have the choice of internship within and outside the country to be facilitated by DBI.

Dr. Ogunfemi equally enjoined other institutions in the country to emulate FPNO and improve on the standards of graduates.

In his comment, Rector, FPNO, Mr. Onyekwere Nwankwo informed newsmen that as the first step in the MoU, FPNO would soon be sending approximated 10 students and two lecturers to DBI from the school of Telecommunications Engineering and Computer Science all together.

He expressed confident that FPNO would maintain the standards already achieved in the school that was established 28 years ago, by leveraging upon the MoU via making good use of the opportunity to train students and staff.

FPNO became a federal institution in 1993 and currently has a student population of over 15,000, just as it is accredited by the National Board of Technical Education (NBTC) to award Higher National Diploma (HND) in both telecommunication engineering and computer science among others.

Mr. Nwankwo, who was accompanied by the registrar of FPNO, Mrs. Chiaka Onukogu, later endorsed the MoU, as DBI team was led by Dr. Ogunfemi and Head, Research and Educational Development, Dr. Idika Ochaa, while the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, witnessed the ceremony among other dignitaries.

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Arik Air website makes a debut

By Remmy Nweke

Arik Air, the new Nigerian airline, has introduced a dedicated job website, www.arikjobs.com, in order to attract local talents from all areas of aviation in the country to join the company as they warm up to take flight in summer 2006.

Director, Human Resources at Arik Air, Ms Stella Kiwanuka, who made this known to newsmen, said that the company is shopping for talented and experienced people to join hands in keeping its standard in aviation.

“Arik Air is committed to introducing new levels of safety and quality standards into the Nigerian aviation industry, and we are looking for talented and capable people to join us at this crucial time. Our team will immediately reflect the image of the company, and therefore only the best need apply!” she said.

The airline, she also said, would soon take delivery of two new build CRJ900 aircraft on June 14 to be followed by three CRJ200’s and two Boeing 737-322’s, slated to fly domestic routes and sub-region.

Ms Kiwanuka, further said Arik would extend routes to include intercontinental destinations in due course.

She advised applicants from Nigeria and overseas, saying they could now commence review of Arik Air job opportunities at www.arikjobs.com.

Plans have been advanced to commence domestic route in summer this year, following which the airline will introduce intercontinental routes.

ITRealms Online recalls that Arik Air has taken hold of the former Nigerian Airways facilities in Lagos, where it intend to base its operations and maintain the airline’s initial fleet of two Bombardier CRJ900s (2006), three CRJ200s (2003) and two Boeing 737s (1990).

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NIG inaugurates committees

By Remmy Nweke

The Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) would today, Wednesday inaugurate seven committees in Lagos.

Publicity Secretary of NIG, Mr. Qasim Akinreti said the inauguration is expected to leapfrog the programmes of the new leadership of NIG led by Mr. Lanre Ajayi.

He also said that the committees would include E-Readiness, Training, Youth Development, Publications, International Relations, Webmaster Certification and Internet For Job Initiative.

Mr. Akinreti gave the names of the committee chairmen as Destiny Amana, Olaleye Alao, Gbenga Sesan, Shina Badru, Remmy Nweke, Jide Awe and Bankole Olubanise in that order.

He further quoted Mr. Ajayi, as expressing optimism that the smooth take off of the committees will jump start various laudable programmes of his tenure with a view to moving ICT industry into the next level of “Technopreneurship Job Creation” in the country.

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Brian unveils dual processor PCs

By Remmy Nweke

Brian Integrated Systems Limited, hardware subsidiary of Balog Technologies Limited (BALOGTEK), has unveiled series of Personal Computers (PCs) that would run on dual-core Intel Pentium processors.

Announcing this at the Computer, Telecommunications and Office Equipment (CTO-06) at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Center, Onikan-Lagos, which ended weekend, Head, Marketing at Brian Integrated Systems, Mr. Sam Adeyemi, said the latest in stock delivers outstanding multi-tasking responsiveness and media experiences for high volume 2006 platforms.

He also said that the dual processors, otherwise known as ‘D processors’ avails extra performance when deployed.

“Accomplish more while running multiple applications, such as editing video while downloading music,” he declared.

On why they chose CTO for unveiling of the product, Mr. Adeyemi said that given the populous nature of the ICT fair, organized by the commercial section of the American Embassy.

“We also showcased the dual-core Intel Pentium D processors at the this year’s CTO so that as many Information Technology (IT) technocrats and visiting public could see, touch and experience the latest technology in the country,” he asserted.

Also commenting, Managing Director of Brain, Mr. Tunji Balogun, recalled that when the Intel pinless LGA 775 Processor on hyper threading and Prescot mother boards were to be launched in the nation’s IT market, “Only Brian brand of computers could provide the platform for this to happen.”

Stressing that Brian as a brand has to stand out among equals.

“BRIAN is an acronym for Bringing Reliable Information Access to Nigeria, and that is what we want to be known for. We will always be on the vanguard of breaking technologies and bringing such advances to the Nigerian market.”

According to Mr. Balogun, who also is the President, Computers and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), the firm operates a system that allows transition easily into new technological advances, even as they are focusing on laying prime emphasis on being the foremost in technology advances.

“We pride ourselves in this,” he declared.

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Unified Licensing: Ndukwe reassures on transparency

... post ULR forum underway

By Remmy Nweke

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has reassured telecommunications operators in the country and those interested in the current allocation of third generation (3G) licenses, that the commission would remain transparent.

ITRealms Online recollects that NCC early last week released the list of the first batch licensees for the take of operation since the floor was opened March 1 for the Unified Licensing Regime (ULR), including Starcomms, MultiLink, Intercellular and Prestel.

This is coming as IT & Telecom Digest has advanced plans to organize a post-Unified Licensing Regime (ULR) forum.

He said in a chat with newsmen weekend that through some GSM operators have expressed interest on the unified licensing, they are yet to apply formally.

“_Expression of interest is not the same as in submission of application to support the _expression,” he noted.

He was optimistic that any of the GSM operators that apply for UL would scale through because based on the prerequisites, interested parties should either have the financial capability to implement or have the technology and relevant subscriber base to back it up, which must not be less than 10,000.

Reassuring on the transparency on the part of the Commission, Dr. Ndukwe said that the list released fortnight ago were only ones that have applied and were successful.

Whoever is applying, he said, must undergo due diligence process of the commission either on the 3G or unified licenses.

Unified license is not an utopian that is not reachable, he declared.

Meanwhile, organizers of ULR forum recently, IT & Telecom Digest has commended NCC for granting four Unified Licences to Multilinks, Intercellular, Starcomms and Prestel.

According to Mkpe Abang, chief host of the forum, plans have been advanced to host stakeholders to another round now that ULR has taken off practically with some of the licenses issued.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission has proved again with this latest step that it is a focused, forthright and committed regulator whose interest is the creation of opportunities for growth in Nigeria, for Nigerians and whoever does business in and with Nigerians,” he said.

He therefore congratulated the four telcos for being the first licensees, noting that on February 27, 2006, IT & Telecom Digest, in conjunction with the NCC, organised the Stakeholders’ Forum on Unified Licensing Regime.

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