" ITREALMS: October 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ICANN releases factsheet on IPv6

The global Internet coordinating agency, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has released a fact sheet on Internet Protocol version six (IPv6) aimed at the Internet’s vital expansion.

ICANN also said there is widespread agreement within the technical community that the Internet’s current system based on IP version 4 (IPv4)is unable to cope with the network’s expansion.

General manager of public participation at ICANN, Mr. Kieren McCarthy, informed that the release of factsheet covering Internet Protocol 6 was intended to provide an explanation of the protocol upgrade for a non-technical audience in the hope of enlarging public understanding surrounding this and related issues.

“The factsheet briefly reviews the technology behind IPv6, explains why it is needed, why uptake has been slow, and outlines why a move to the protocol should be considered soon by many organisations and governments,” he said.

He also said that the factsheet continues what has been a popular series of short, clearly written, guides covering topical technical issues in which ICANN is involved.

ICANN in the executive summary made available to Champion Infotel stated that there is widespread agreement within the technical community that the Internet’s current system is unable to cope with the network’s expansion.

“Every device attached to the Internet needs its own unique address. The “free pool” of existing addresses will run out completely within five years,” ICANN said.

In addition, the proposed solution, ICANN said, is an updated system running on Internet Protocol version 6, or IPv6.

“IPv6 adoption has been slow. Since it is not directly compatible with the current IPv4 system, there is inertia to the move,” ICANN highlighted, adding that this delay has become a matter of increasing concern.

“It is important that companies, governments and regulatory authorities understand the issues surrounding IPv6 and why its use should be encouraged,” the global Internet agency said.

ICANN further stated that every device connected to the Internet needs an address, but those addresses are rapidly being depleted.

“As unlikely as that may seem, the system put in place in 1977 assumed that four billion separate addresses on the network would be more than sufficient,” ICANN said, stressing that the Internet’s enormous success and growth has seen those addresses rapidly taken up.

“Within the next five years, and possibly sooner, the “free pool” of addresses – those that have not yet been used or assigned will run out,” ICANN explained.

As a result, ICANN pointed out that unless a method of providing more addresses is introduced, the Internet’s growth would become increasingly constrained over the next decade.

Fortunately, ICANN pointed out that Internet engineers foresaw the problem and back in 1996 devised a solution that would provide 340 zillion separate addresses.

“To give an idea of the scale, if all existing four billion Internet addresses were contained inside a Blackberry phone, the new system would fill a container the size of the earth,” ICANN said.

Adoption of that solution called Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) has been slow, just as the benefits of IPv6 are long-term.

Technical workarounds, ICANN noted allows for continued use of the existing Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) system, which also allow several devices to share one Internet address.

ICANN clarified that the slow movement to IPv6 has caused increasing concern in the technical community and relaxed expectation of movement has moved to active promotion of IPv6 adoption.

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How to recognise online UPS’ – Kleynhans

Regional director for Africa at APC-MGE, Mr. Carl Kleynhans, has explained the difference between the two kinds of online uninterruptible power supplies (UPSes) by APC, so as to afford the consumers the opportunity of having clear picture of what could solve their needs.

According to him, APC-MGE has two online UPS, namely the Double and Delta Conversion respectively.

For him, the Double Conversion On-Line UPS is the most common type of UPS above 10kVA and operates in much the same manner as the Standby UPS except that the primary power path is the inverter instead of the AC mains.

He added that in the design of Double Conversion On-Line operation, failure of the input AC does not cause activation of the transfer switch.

This, he said, is because the input AC is not the primary source, but is rather the backup source.

“Therefore, during an input AC power failure, on line operation results in no transfer time,” he said.

He stressed that the on line mode of operation exhibits a transfer time when the power from the primary battery charger, battery, inverter power path fails.

This, he explained could occur when any of the blocks in this power path fails, hence the inverter power could also drop out briefly, causing a transfer, if the inverter is subjected to sudden changes in the load, or if the inverter experiences an internal control glitch.

“Contrary to popular belief, Double Conversion On-Line UPS systems do exhibit a transfer time and in actual installations may transfer as frequently as standby type UPS systems; however on line UPS transfers are not related to AC input power failures as they are in a standby UPS,” he said.

Mr. Kleynhans emphasised that both the battery charger and the inverter convert the entire load power flow in this design, which causes undesirable heat and results in reduced efficiency.

Due to practical design constraints, he said, that UPS below 10kVA, which are represented as Double Conversion On-Line UPS are always working like the Standby On-Line Hybrid type.

On the Delta Conversion On-Line UPS, he said, was designed via a technology that was recently introduced to eliminate the drawbacks of the Double Conversion On-Line design and is available from 5kVA and greater.

“Like the Double Conversion On-Line design, the Delta Conversion On-Line UPS always has the inverter supplying the load voltage,” he said.

However, he warned that the additional Delta Converter also contributes power to the inverter output and under this condition of AC failure or disturbances, this design behaves identically to the Double Conversion On-Line.

While during steady state conditions the Delta Converter allows the UPS to deliver power to the load with much greater efficiency than the Double Conversion design.

“It obviously saves energy to carry the package only the difference (delta) between the starting and ending points,” he said.

Even as the Double Conversion On-Line UPS converts the power to the battery and back again whereas the Delta Converter moves much of the power from input to the output directly.

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Portable numbering plan to boost market evolution – Ndukwe

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has said that the proposed introduction of portable national numbering apart from enthroning convergence in the polity would boost market evolution.

Speaking at the four-day workshop organised by NCC in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Lagos, Dr. Ndukwe, who was represented at the occasion by the former Communications Minister and NCC commissioner, Chief Olawale Ige, noted that Nigeria as leading country on the continent in terms of mobile communications, has continued to record success, even as Nigeria has surpassed South Africa, having achieved 44 million subscribers against South Africa 40 million.

He described the proposed portable numbering plan as a cornerstone for market evolution and growth.

According to the EVC, introduction of numbering is a critical component towards provision of communications services that would impact on how operators conduct business, and services are rolled out as well as how subscribers would behave in the near future.

Dr. Ndukwe who dwelt on ‘Numbering and Convergence: Cornerstone of Evolving Communications,’ said numbering would allow the nation to efficiently manage this valuable but limited asset, thus impacting on the productivity and competitiveness of the country.

Hence, he looks forward to the national numbering plan adding value by way of promoting economic growth through fair competition.

“Every operator would have equal rights to this national resource,” he said, stressing “No numbers, no services, no business and no competition.”

He emphasised that the proposed number plan would promote service innovation intended to generate more revenue, just as new services would not be restricted to numbering constraints.

He citied an example with the mobile lines and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) numbers would now have common short codes, premium or toll-free numbers, and special services numbers.

Therefore, he expects better subscriber satisfaction and ease of use as an important design goal, maintaining that competition drives better service quality and more new services.

“More usage would translate into more revenue for operators,” he noted, adding that it’s a win-win proposition that would empower subscribers to manage their ‘personal brand’ with freedom to change operators at will.

“It enables fair competition amongst operators and allow innovation to flourish with greater return on investment,” he declared, thereby rewarding creative marketing, service features, pricing models, and high quality with growth in subscriber numbers, and revenue, accompanied by the expected rise in the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).

Convergence, on the other hand, he said, reduces inter-machine trunking traffic with tendency to simplify and efficiently transport long distance and transit traffic.

This, he said, would enable optimisation of offnet traffic and interconnection tariffs as well as subscriber access to voice mail and other application services.

“Convergence delivers enhanced services with Voice over Broadband (VoBB) service at business and residential areas, thus improving in-building mobile coverage,” he said.

There also would be fixed and mobile convergence (FMC), while application innovation using advanced service creation, integrating voice calls, web services, presence, location and group lists among others.

While soliciting the support of all stakeholders in the nation’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), NCC boss said that Nigeria is at a pivotal point of growth, adding that relevant infrastructure needed to be in place to allow for further expansion.

“We need to re-examine our national numbering place … It’s a must for growing economy,” he asserted.

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Senate to strengthen NCC on regulation

The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has identified areas it could strengthen the telecommunications regulator in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) so as to efficiently perform its duties.

Senate Committee chairman on Communications, Senator Sylvester Ndubuisi Anyanwu, gave this indication at the end of the one-day public hearing on Quality of Service in Abuja, while interacting with newsmen.

He said that his committee has advanced plans to introduce new laws into the regulation of the sector that would tackle complaints against poor telecommunications services by various operators.

This, he said would be achieved by strengthening the powers of the telecom regulator to facilitate the application of stiff sanctions against any defecting operator.

As said by him, part of the proposed laws would be to make it mandatory for operators to refund subscribers on established cases of call drops and call terminations or in any clearly established situations of poor service delivery.

Senator Anyanwu added that at the Senate, they are of the opinion that Nigeria telecom subscribers are not getting the best from telcos.

“Some level of responsibility on the part of operators could lessen the problem and provide subscribers with the minimum service quality expected anywhere. We’re working to ensure that refunds are made to subscribers as is the case in many other countries,” he asserted.

Members of the National Assembly and especially the Senate, he said, are mindful of the uncommon challenges facing the sector including inadequate power supply and insecurity of telecom facilities at some locations.

He warned that these challenges should not be used as an excuse to “rampantly and consistently deliver low service quality resulting into loss of money for subscribers which tantamount to extortion since subscribers are forced to part with money for services not rendered.”

On NCC, he identified lack of sufficient empowerment by law to enforce its own regulation, adding that his committee recently held the first Telecom Stakeholders meeting in Abuja, and warned that some deceitful actions of operators could undermine the effectiveness of the regulator at securing the interest of all stakeholders in the sector particularly subscribers.

Already, he said, the committee is taking second look at the existing laws with a view to reviewing and advising the assembly on the creation of entire new laws to accommodate the dynamics of the industry.

“We are looking seriously at the law that created the NCC. At the time the law that created NCC was made, it may be adequate but a lot of changes have occurred and change is constant. Now we are working at new laws to accommodate the growth of the telecom industry,” he said.

The committee, he equally said would examine laws that would accommodate some of the lapses currently witnessed such as encouraging the growth of fixed lines through tax holiday and duty waivers among other incentives.

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Danisat launches TC 500, 700 radios

Danisat Communications Limited, one of the nation’s leading telecommunications service provider, has lived up to its promise by launching the HYT 2-way radios, TC 500 and TC 700, at this year’s Nigeria International Communications Exhibition also known as NICOMM-07 in Lagos.

Speaking at the occasion, Managing Director, DaniSAT Communications, Mr. Aigbo Emigbuan, informed that the latest two-way radios came as a result of partnership deal DaniSAT recently entered with a Chinese firm and have been categorized into two, namely commercial and professional series.

He explained that these two categories were classified as very rugged with a higher performance ratio as well as cost effective.

“The new series of HYT radios the TC 500 and TC 700 are packed with cutting-edge technology coupled with the HYT long standing innovations for user-friendly operations which guarantees optimum performance,” he declared, adding that the rugged, reliable and compatible nature of the radios allow potential users the advantage of using a state-of-the-art communications tool that not only guarantees optimum performance but also has the rare capacity of increasing efficiency and high productivity level.

As said by him, these radios are applicable for security and allied companies, hotels and restaurants supermarket and warehouse, tourism and service line, manufacturers, banks, construction sites, residence safeguard management and agriculture to name a few.

He also informed that Danisat Communications Limited in strategic partnership involves CICCI of Denmark and Shenzen HYT Science & Technology Company China, was strictly to sale and service the new HYT brand of commercial and professional two-way radio portables and mobile equipment in the country.

Emphasizing that the newly launched HYT brand is packed with cutting-edge technology and HYT innovations for user-friendly operations and optimum performance.

With its distinct advantage in affordability, quality, durability and compatibility with existing two-way communication models, the latest HYT brand of Two-Way radio communications equipment is the tool of choice for companies and individuals who do not compromise on quality but yet insist on competitiveness and affordability.

Currently, the HYT brand is a worldwide brand with users in China by the Police Force and other government agencies cum provinces, even as it has been deployed in South Africa, Russia and the United Nations among others.

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Intel opens 45nm microprocessor factory

Production of a new generation of microprocessors for PCs, laptops, servers and other computing devices officially began weekend at the inside of Intel Corporation, as the firm unveiled its first high-volume 45 nanometer (nm) factory in Chandler, Arizona.

Intel president and chief executive, Mr. Paul Otellini, while disclosing this said that the factory tagged “Fab 32,” is worth $3 billion, about N361.8 billion, and is intended to use Intel’s innovative 45nm process technology based on Intel’s breakthrough in “reinventing” certain areas of the transistors inside its processors to reduce energy leakage.

“The 45nm transistors use a Hafnium-based high-k material for the gate dielectric and metal materials for the gate, and are so small that more than 2 million can fit on the period at the end of this sentence,” he said.

Millions of these tiny transistors, he said, would make up Intel’s products faster, more energy efficient lead and halogen-free processors for Personal Computers (PCs), laptops and servers, as well as ultra low-power processors for mobile Internet and consumer electronic devices, and low-cost PCs.

According to him, the first of the company’s 45nm processors has been scheduled for introduction into the market by the second week of next month and precisely November 12.

“The opening of Fab 32 in Arizona is a testament to Intel’s continued investment in our most strategic asset; the most advanced, environmentally friendly manufacturing network in the world,” he asserted, stressing that the magic of 45nm and new transistor design is to allow for delivery of high-performance, energy-efficient processors to customers globally.

In addition, he said, that Fab 32 is Intel’s sixth 300mm wafer factory and its second factory to produce 45nm chips.

Champion Infotel recalls that Intel first produced 45nm processors in its Oregon development facility, called D1D, in January and is now moving into high-volume production with the opening of Fab 32.

Two additional 45nm, 300mm factories are scheduled to open next year in Kiryat Gat, Israel (Fab 28) and Rio Rancho, N.M. (Fab 11x).

Using 300mm wafers, Mr. Otellini pointed out lowers the production cost per chip while diminishing overall use of resources.

“With 184,000 square feet of clean room space, the completed Fab 32 structure measures 1 million square feet, so large that more than 17 United States football fields could fit inside the building,” he declared.

Adding that more than 1,000 employees will operate the factory in such positions as process, automation and yield engineers and senior manufacturing technicians.

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NICOMM-07 ends in style

The 2007 Nigeria International Communications exhibition (NICOMM-07) ended at the weekend in style as participating companies went home with certificates.

The three-day exhibition and conference organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), was also rated high against the previous exercise held in 2005.

Some of the participants who spoke to newsmen afterwards commended the current leadership of ATCON under the presidency of Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem.

Even as NICOMM-07 held concurrently with the World Radio Conference in Geneva which the Hon. Minister of Information & Communications and the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had to attend.

Those who spoke on NICOMM-07 included the Trade Development Manager in the British Deputy High Commission, Mrs. Mojisola Fayokun; Commercial Assistant in the Embassy of France, Mr. Damien Pade; Commercial Attaché in Embassy of Spain, Mr. Miguel B. Lopez as well Mr. Isaac N. Annum who represented the Minister of Science & Technology, Chief (Mrs.) Grace Ekpiwhre at the occasion.

They agreed that the event was excellently organised and well attended by all standards, even as they promised to collaborate actively with ATCON to ensure that 2008 edition will be grandly attended by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies from their home countries.

Equally, exhibitors said they were impressed with new innovations introduced by ATCON into the organisation of the NICOMM Expo.

Just as they applauded ATCON for the timely and orderly set-up of exhibition stands, which had not been the case in the past as well as delighted with the special products launch segment of the event which gave exhibiting companies a veritable opportunity to present and/or demonstrate their new products and services to the audience.

ATCON President, Dr. Ekuwem, in his comment, decried lack of an international expo centre in the country, which he noted, is one of the reasons multinational corporations declined to participate in some exhibitions in the country.

He added that ATCON is considering options for larger exhibitions ground for next year and confirmed that plans for next year is already in motion and shortly, the planning committee will be appointed and inaugurated to commence work on NICOMM 2008 in earnest.

He added that General Assembly of ATCON would soon be deliberating on the change of name for the exhibition and conference, obviously in its next general meeting.

He later presented certificates to participating companies.

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Survey rates Africa low in receiving aids for development

Recent survey by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has rated Africa low receiving aids to finance development in line with the 2002 implementation of the Monterrey Consensus.

ECA in a press statement made available to the Highway Africa News Agency (HANA) endorsed by the Information and Communication Service, stated that the survey of African policymakers was conducted in March and April 2007 to gauge their views on the degree of progress in meeting the goals of the Monterrey Consensus.

The outcome which coincided with a two-day high-level biennial review of the United Nations General Assembly Plenary in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, informed that the overall found showed that while significant progress was made in the area of external debt relief, performances in other areas have declined, thus disappointing.

The survey pointed out that considerable efforts are required by both African governments and development partners to mobilize the level of resources needed for development in the region.

Highlight of the findings, according to ECA included that governments are making efforts to mobilize domestic resources, but savings rates in African countries remain inadequate relative to their investment requirements.

Also, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow has increased, but it is still insufficient, and too concentrated in the natural resources sector, to help accelerate economic growth and development. Just as most countries have policies in place to attract private capital flows, but response from foreign investors has so far been muted.

Exports, the survey noted have increased in recent years, even as respondents believed that donors have not made much progress in supporting African countries in the area of trade.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) flows to Africa, the survey pointed out, are on the increase, however, donors are still not on track to meet their commitments, adding that recent aid flows also tend to be concentrated in a few countries and social sectors cutting across emergency aid and debt relief.

While there has been a significant reduction in the external debt burden of African countries as a result of recent debt relief initiatives, just as more debt relief needs to be provided.

“Governments also need to exercise caution in borrowing to ensure that debts in African countries remain sustainable,” a part of the survey read.

HANA recalls that the Monterrey Consensus adopted at the International Conference on Financing for Development in 2002 was the first global attempt to comprehensively address the challenges of financing development, especially in the context of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Consensus calls for a new partnership between developed and developing countries covering six main areas of action, such as mobilizing domestic financial resources, attracting international financial resources based on private capital flows, promoting international trade as an engine for development, increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development, sustainable debt financing and external debt relief; as well as addressing systemic issues.

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Motorola introduces two bluetooth headsets

Global leader in wireless communications, Motorola, has added H680 and H375 bluetooth headsets to its family of Bluetooth Companion Products (BCP).

This addition unveiled in London recently come with elegant design, premium audio and Bluetooth wireless technology to allow multi-taskers and stylish talkers to make and take calls, while going about their businesses in a style.

General Manager, Accessories at Motorola Europe, Gillian Tune, said that the headsets’ outstanding sound quality is due to Motorola’s TrueComfort technology, which enables users to hear and be heard at home, on the move or at work.

According to the GM, Motorola’s exclusive TrueComfort design was developed after an intensive study of the human ear.

“The result is H680’s new ear hook, ear bud and speaker designs which improve audio by mechanically isolating the speaker and bringing it closer to the ear canal to channel sound. It also allows for a much better fit and improved comfort for prolonged use,” Tune said.

Also the GM said that both the H680 and H375 benefit from Motorola’s Easypair, which means that after an initial connection is made, your phone will conveniently and automatically pair with your headset whenever you switch it on.

“The H680 offers experienced Bluetooth headset users performance, style and looks in an absolutely discrete size. Alternatively, the H375 offers first timers to Bluetooth headsets a simple, reliable option with a battery check function,” said Tune.

Bluetooth users of today, Tune noted, wanted not only freedom from wires but also to look good while they converse on the go.

“The audio quality, comfort and convenience offered by the H680 and H375 means you will never have to slow down your life to talk on the phone again,” the general manager assured.

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PA Telecoms unveils products

PROFESSIONAL Advanced (PA) Telecoms International Limited has unveiled its products at the just concluded Nigerian International Communications exhibition (nicomm-07), reports Ugo Nkwocha.

The event, which held in Lagos at the Musical Society of Nigeria (muson) Centre, Onikan-Lagos, saw the launch of P.A. Telecoms two way radio terminals and some radio network solutions.

Speaking at the launch executive director, PA Telecoms, Mr. Prince Anyim, said that the firm’s avalanche of product were introduced to develop a full line of telecommunications solution.

This, he said, would aid his firm in exploring the liberalization of the Nigeria telecommunications sector toward providing technical partnership to Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Fixed Wireless Access (fwa) operators and end-to-end solution to both private and cooperate organisations.

He also added that they serve various sectors of the economy including oil and gas, security agency, maritime industries among others.

He urged Nigerians to patronise his firm by given them a chance to prove themselves.

“Let us know how to be of service to you and our technical team will be glad to provide you with the solution to your telecommunication needs. Ours is a blend of technology built on innovation,” he said

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Friday, October 26, 2007

FG yet to complete acquisition of GITT

SIXTEEN months after the setting up of Galaxy Backbone (GBB) Plc, which acquired the former Galaxy Information Technology and Telecommunications (GITT) Limited, the Federal Government is yet to complete the process.

The process, which include allocation of 100 per cent shares and acquisition of both human and material resources to GBB are still inconclusive.

This is against the Nigerian policy on privatisation of public institutions as outlined in the reference that established the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) charged with privatisation of public enterprises.

In setting up GBB, government supposedly claimed ownership of 51 per cent and private sector partners 49 per cent.

But investigations by Champion Infotel revealed that FG is yet to conclude the process of acquisition of GITT owned by the Jigawa State under Alhaji Ibrahim Saminu Turaki and was not proclaimed as subject for privatisation, just as the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) were the only listed government public entities mapped out for privatisation and commercialisation within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, according to BPE.

Even as efforts to contact BPE on updated pictured on GITT acquisition was not successful.

BPE reference on privatization and commercialisation process focused on four sub-categories including full, partial privatisation as well as full and partial commercialisation.

Full privatisation means divestment by the Federal Government of all its ordinary shareholding in the designated enterprise and partial privatisation stipulates divestment by the Federal Government of a part of its ordinary shareholding in the designated enterprise.

Relatively, full commercialisation entails that enterprises so designated will be expected to operate profitably on a commercial basis and be able to raise funds from the capital market without government guarantee. Such enterprises are expected to use private sector procedures in the running of their businesses.

While partial commercialisation involves that such enterprises so designated will be expected to generate enough revenue to cover their operating expenditures, although the government may consider giving them capital grants to finance their capital projects.

Confirming this development, Managing Director, Galaxy BB Plc, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe, said that the transfer of shares to other parties has not been concluded as well as process of full acquisition of GITT, which he promised will be within the next few weeks and as such the final allocation to the Jigawa State Government (JSG) and of the purported parners remained unknown.

Additionally, he debunked reports making a round that the former chief executive of GITT, Alhaji Yusuf Kazaure, who is currently the Chief Business Operation officer, Galaxy BackBone Limited, was not part of the game plan of acquiring GITT, hence he was offered the present position after he resigned his prior position.

Mr. Ilukwe explained that Alhaji Kazaure formerly resigned from GITT and joined GBB, even as plans are on to absorb other staff of GITT when there are openings.

Champion Infotel recalls that Galaxy Backbone Plc was set up in June 2006 to be a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP), while the board is made up of stakeholders from the Federal Ministries of Science and Technology, Education as well as board members from Ministries of Works, Communications and Health.

But the Senate Ad-hoc Committee that investigated the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) scandal as at last quarter of 2006, revealed that of the purported N250 million sum, only N20 million was paid to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as incorporation fees allegedly through Afe Babalola chambers.

Galaxy Backbone’s mandate is to build and operate a single nation-wide infrastructure platform to provide network services to all Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

In addition, GBB is to manage all national databases and transversal applications and services for all Federal Government MDAs.

Equally, GBB is to provide connectivity and Internet access to rural and underserved communities and third party customers, as well as integrate people, technology and best practices to operate a financially independent company, while meeting and sustaining service quality standards as contained in service level agreements (SLA).

Reacting to this development, social analyst, Abubakar Atiku Nuhu-Koko, said that it has become even more puzzling the way and manner the government seems to continue to circumvent its own established due process procedures.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

MWEB Africa acquires AFSAT

A subsidiary of Naspers Limited, MWEB Africa, has acquired African satellite-based Internet Service Provider (ISP), AFSAT Communications Limited.

Chief executive officer, MWEB Africa, Mr. Harry Aucamp, disclosed this at the weekend and said that the acquisition takes MWEB Africa’s representation on the continent from 16 to 26 countries.

MWEB Africa, he said, has subsidiaries in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria.

AFSAT claims to be Africa’s biggest satellite based ISP and active in over 26 countries across East, West and Southern Africa, with operating subsidiaries in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

Mr. Aucamp also said that MWEB Africa’s strategy is to expand its presence and Internet services throughout Africa.

“The acquisition of AFSAT will considerably strengthen our representation and underlines our commitment to be a leading player in this dynamic market. The AFSAT iWay service is a perfect fit with our current MWEB VSAT service,” he said.

He stressed that the acquisition significantly strengthens MWEB’s African presence, making it one of the biggest providers of Internet connectivity services, with more representation and clients than any other service provider on the continent.

Additional benefit of the acquisition to MWEB customers, he said is that would be the various cross-border connectivity and facilities linking to both the United States and Europe.

He added that the AFSAT platform is the leading satellite data service in Africa and will enable his firm to offer customers in these markets a high quality, reliable and flexible service.

“In many African countries, companies, governments and home users cannot rely on fixed line broadband services, so satellite-based Internet access becomes a vital link to the rest of Africa and the world,” he said.

Mr. Aucamp expressed the believe that the potential for growth is excellent especially now it has added AFSAT to its offering, thus putting MWEB Africa in an position to take advantage of this potential.

Founder chief executive of AFSAT, Salim Suleman who would remain with the company as Group Managing Director, said that he looks forward to becoming part of the large MWEB family.

“We have a common vision for the business, and the resources that MWEB bring will enable the business to expand to a new level,” he said.

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9 year-old pupil wins TD maths contest

A nine-year-old pupil of Pampers Private School, Surulere-Lagos, Master Kennedy Onyemenam has emerged as a winner of the maiden edition of Technology Distributions (TD) Mathematics competition for primary schools in Lagos state, reports Leonard Okachie.

The competition, which took the form of an examination for primary 5 pupils from 15 selected schools, was held during the weekend at Lagos Resource Centre, Victoria Island.

In the competition, tagged, “Contributing to Excellence,” Kennedy beat Miss Alamotu Ibukun of Fountain School and Ossie Nwaeri of Corona School, Victoria Island to the second and third positions respectively.

For becoming the Champion of Technology Distributions, Kennedy went home with a sum of $1000, HP laptop and a printer and a recommendation letter from TD. The first runner’s-up, Ibukun also received a reward of a complete HP desktop computer with a flat screen monitor while Ossie smiled home with HP Laptop.

Also, each of the first 10 schools that emerged as winners got an HP Laptop, including Adrao International School, Victoria Island, St. Glaria School, Corona, Ikoyi, Corona, Gbagada, Corona, Apapa, Corona, Victoria Island, Halifield, Fountain, Unilag staff, Akoka, and Pampers, Surulere.

However, the last five schools received an HP digital photo lab (digital camera and a photosmart printer) as consolation prizes.

They include Faithville, Rightville, Diamond Lara Day and Our Lady of Apostle, Yaba. Similarly, all the 45 pupils that participated got Microsoft Encarta software each.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of TD, Mrs. Chioma Ekeh, said the competition, which was organized in collaboration with HP is TD’s initiative of contributing to excellence, and as a means of investing in the youths that will build Nigeria tomorrow.

“The world fortunately, for us has become what everybody calls the global village. And you can’t compete if you are still working with the analogue system that some of us went through. And because we have excellence as our driving force, we tend to identify with the kids that are normally excelling in their little ways and try to give them that spring to take them to greater heights,” Ekeh said.

TD’s managing director who said she was highly impressed with the performance of the participating schools disclosed that the competition will be an annual one that will also involve different parts of the country even as she stressed that other IT companies apart from HP would be drawn into the initiative.

Expressing his gratitude, the winner, Master Onyemenam thanked the organizers for giving him such a wonderful opportunity to express himself. “I feel great and I say thank you to TD and HP for this wonderful honour. In fact, this has set a challenge for me in the aspect of mathematics and technology. I wish to thank my school as well for impacting the knowledge on me,” he remarked.

The academic management staff of Pampers Private School Surulere, who was excited for Kennedy’s feat said: “I thank God and the kids too for doing us proud in our school. We know that this is the beginning of new things in their lives and we will continue to encourage them. In our school we train a total child not only in Mathematics but in all aspects of education.”

Speaking to Champion Infotel the Mathematics teacher at Corona School Victoria Island, Ms Funmi Ajayi said, “I’m not surprise that Ossie Nwaeri came up as second runner-up because he is a stuff when you talk of mathematics. I have told him that next time, I’m sure he is going to be the TD champion.”

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LG, driving TV technology with Plasma, LCD

Analysis for the week:

Several technologies are making waves in the markets, especially within the television products. REMMY NWEKE reports that LG Electronics is leveraging on this to drive its brands in Nigerian market.


Abu Mohammed and Jide Oyebanjo are upcoming employees residing in Lagos and in their bid to improve lifestyle decided to go shopping for television sets.

Although they settled for LG Electronics brand, they have challenge of making a choice of the television set out of avalanche of series, especially between the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Plasma Display Panel (PDP).

But marketing experts intervention saved them the agony. According to LG officials when shopping for a new flat-panel TV, there are two main options to choose from, that is, either to go for the LCD or PDP TV.

As said by one of the marketing experts at LG Shop, the truth remains that one is not necessarily better than the other because these technologies have different attractive features and the customer will make a choice based on these.

Exciting viewing:

LG Digital Display Company is the largest flat panel display manufacturer in the world, acclaimed producer of LCD and Plasma TVs and one of the world’s top Plasma module makers. While focusing on creating well designed, feature rich TVs, the company said its also pushing technological boundaries to create a more exciting viewing experience.

What is LCD TVs:

Simply put, LCD TVs are smart television sets that permit viewers to enjoy colorful life-like display of text and graphics. Experts also said that LCD TVs use non-emissive technology and fluorescent tubes, which involve less power to operate.

“Quite a number of LCD TVs have slim designs and flat viewing surfaces which all enhance the pleasure that people derive from watching television,” expert says.

… Plasma TVs:

On the other hand, Plasma TVs work by charging electricity through what experts described as a matrix of gas cells, stressing that it illuminates the gas ions to form a picture.

Champion Infotel gathered that the dual top benefits of Plasma technology are colour quality and display performance, just as Plasma TVs produce dacker blacks than LCDs, which makes dark scenes in movies look better.

“While they’re extremely fast, Plasma TVs give viewers a soft and natural picture, and allow them to enjoy sports and movies for long periods of time without eye fatigue,” LG official declared.


Also, the firm’s experts explained that the differences between LCD and Plasma, particularly where performance is concerned, are getting smaller all the time, noting that a few years back, LCD screens were reportedly having severe refresh issues, often producing hideous digital artifacts whenever the on-screen action intensified.

In addition, Plasma displays were known to have short life spans because of the radioactive half-life of the gases they use.


Providentially for both sides, those challenges were pretty much a thing of the past, even as LCD artifacting is now a relatively rare occurrence and Plasmas now live twice as long as before.

Statistically the lifespan of both Plasma and LCD technology should more than ever sufficiently satisfy most consumers.

The average Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) version of TV has a half-life of around 25,000 hours. If an average household, for instance, watches a typical four to six hours of television per day, even a 30,000 hour lamp would give you over 16 years of use.

Until then, the likes of Abu and Jide must have enjoyed their new TV sets enough to get on to yet another modern TV technology.

Purchasing factor:

Above all the purchase factors to consider while going for LCD TV include beautiful colour, clear picture, competitive low power consumption, stylish design, whereas for PDP TV, it comes with rich colour, natural picture, faster response time, lower eye stress and competitive price.

Commenting recently on this two, President, LG Electronics for West Africa, Mr. Byong Woo Park, noted that LG Electronics is a top player both in LCD and Plasma TVs, stressing the importance of educating consumers.

“The important thing is that consumers need to be more educated about the benefits of these two technologies in order to make their purchase. The thing to note is that one TV isn’t necessarily better than the other,” he said.

He pointed out that currently, LG Electronics, offers consumers a wide variety of choice in the flat panel TV market as the company is a major player in the two most popular TV technologies in the world; the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Plasma Display Panel (PDP) TVs.


Offering advice to both Abu and Jide, LG Electronics sales partner for the country and managing director, Fouani Nigeria Limited, Mr. Mohammed Fouani, explained that based on the aforementioned features, “the Nigerian customers who like to watch soap drama, can go for LCD TVs because of the TV’s beautiful colour separation, while those more interested in action movie and dynamic picture, soccer and other sports can opt for Plasma TV because of its faster response time.”

At least, both Abu and Jide are now better educated and thus well informed to take make market decision even as they continue to strive for a good life, after all, life is good and worth to be lived as such.

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G-Mobile makes a debut

DATA compressing company on mobile phones, G-Mobile Nigeria has made its debut into the nation’s telecommunications market.

Chief Operating Officer, LW GNet Nigeria, proprietors of G-Mobile Nigeria, Mr. Aig Inegbedion, said the directors took the decision in recognition of the need for Nigerians to extend their mobile phone adaptation to the next level, based on data.

According to him, there is endless business opportunities created through compression data and conversion software capabilities.

This, he said, offers Nigerians affordable hands-on user-friendly interface for private as well as corporate users, mostly those wishing to improve communication capabilities, multi media advertising and data transmission, data storage, security applications, and electronic banking.

In addition, he said, that G Mobile Nigeria would offer payment solutions and such other advanced application interfaces as bio-matrix finger-print and voice solutions.

Throwing more light, the International Sales Director, G Mobile International, Mr. Danny Mills, in his presentation, noted that what makes the product to stand out is its edge in striving towards creating unique customer experience.

As said by him, G Mobile plans to put value to owning the customer’s permissive mind space experience, which is not the simplest of tasks but the value that could be gained.

Describing the gain as enormous, he said that the question now should be how to unlock this unique experience and bring the customer back for more.

“G-Mobile is a cost effective alternative communications solution,” he declared, adding that the G-NET software enables the automatic compression, at an average ratio of 350 per minute, of various graphical image formats.

He citied an instance that for still images, any type data file as well as voice and video formats, the same time frame is used in converting these compressed data files into a multi platform format suitable for mobile phones, Personal Digital Assistant (PDAs) and or for Internet enabled devices.

G-NET software, he emphasised facilitates clients to convey high quality, high resolution images be it for audio or video content to standard General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)-enabled mobile phones directly, without the necessity of a Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) application, thus enabling a direct line of communication as well as content push-to-mobile phones, between mobile phones, and from mobile phones to web sites, and web sites to mobile phones.

“G-NET will effectively turn every GPRS handset in the market, into a BlackBerry type device, without requiring the subscriber to up or down load software to their existing mobile phones or to upgrade to fancy handset devices,” he asserted.

On connection, G-Net avails instantaneous luxury to the user of being able to use their GPRS enabled phones to do every data transaction and much more than a BlackBerry device will be able to perform.

He further said that with the G-Mobile virtual platform, users are able to virtually store any type of data, including but not limited to contact details, word and Portable Document Format (PDF) files, Power Point presentations, photo’s, music, video, or any such other information that they have deemed private or important.

Subscribers, he said would be able to publish all of their stored data, on their own mobile compatible website, accessible via any Internet connection or GPRS enabled phone worldwide.

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CPN takes IT assembly to Abuja

Information Technology (IT) professionals under the auspices of the Computer Professionals (Registration Council) of Nigeria (CPN), have taken the maiden edition of IT Assembly cum Annual General Meeting (AGM) to the capital city of the nation, Abuja.

Disclosing this, CPN President, Dr. (Mrs) Adenike Osofisan, said the programme taking place beginning tomorrow, Thursday through Friday at NICON Luxury Hotel, is a milestone for the proper positioning of CPN in effort to realise sustainable developments for the industry and the nation at large.

Dr. Osofisan who was accompanied by the former President of CPN, Chief Ojinta Oji-Alala and secretary to the council, Mr. Sikiru Akanji Shehu, said the assembly has been designed to be an annual event where topical issues on IT would be discussed.

“It was created as a continuation of our awareness generation drive to let people know what CPN is, reasons for its emergence and what IT practitioners stand to benefit when they join CPN,” she said.

CPN, she said, determined to sanction individuals and corporate organisations that engage in IT practice without being duly registered after the necessary awareness has been created.

This, she also said has become imperative because of the need for all the critical sectors of the economy to harness intellectual resources and partner with the federal government towards achieving the vision of making the nation a giant economy by year 2020.

Mrs. Osofisan equally said that prominent personalities have been selected as speakers from both the public and private sector for the event.

As said by her, two key papers have been slated for the two-day event including the “Trends in IT Regulation and Policy” to be delivered by the immediate past president of CPN and chairman of the National IT Development Agency (NITDA) Act Implementation Committee, Dr. M.M. Obi.

The second paper, she said, would focus on “Computer Technology and African University of Science and Technology” which the speaker is being kept to the heart until the d-day.

In addition, CPN plans to launch a blue print for primary and Junior Secondary School (JSS 1-3) syllabi in the country.

Minister of Education, Dr. Igwe Aja-Nwachukwu, she said, is expected to declare open the two-day programme.

“The event would also be a platform for the presentation of the blueprint for Computer Education Policy in Nigeria,” she said.

CPN was established in 1993 through Act 49 passed into law on June 10 and gazetted on August 9 of the same year.

“We’re a corporate entity that is charged with the regulation, control and supervision of the computing industry in Nigeria,” she said.

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VIA turns SDPs into PCs with vm7700

Developers of x86 silicon and platform solutions, VIA Technologies Incorporated, has introduced the new VIA vm7700 based on the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) specifications’ mounted PC (vmpc) into the market.

The thin VESA, according to experts at VIA Technologies turns a standard display panel into a fully functional Personal Computer (PC) for signage, kiosk and other intelligent display applications, as well as providing a radically superior space management, cost effective and flexible alternative to traditional panel PCs.

Speaking on the new product, the Assistant Vice President, VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies Incorporated, Mr. Daniel Wu, said that from small desktop Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) monitors to larger flat panel displays, the VIA vmpc vm7700 leverages the industry-standard VESA.

The product measuring 10cm x 10cm, he said, could be mounted at a given specification for simple attachment behind the customer’s screen of choice, and offers considerable cost savings when upgrading or replacing screens.

“Through-chassis mounting allows the VIA vm7700 to be secured behind a flat screen display in seconds, or firmly mounted on walls or under desks, while dual-view support extends display utility,” he explained.

Mr. Wu also noted that the fanless configurations based on a 1.0 Gega Hertz (GHz) VIA C7 or 1.5GHz VIA Eden ULV processor and the ultra low power VIA CX700M2 system media processor enable the VIA vm7700 to deliver a solution packed with rich multimedia features within a maximum power of only 12 watts and a low 45ÂșC thermal envelope – essential for display-mounted systems.

He pointed out that the product capable of being housed within a durable, ultra-thin and sleek black 26mm x 180mm x 298mm chassis, the VIA vm700 provides the answer for a wide spectrum of intelligent display applications, such as state-of-the-art casino gaming, home automation, information kiosks, timetable boards, advertising and more, as well as a discreet system for space-constrained locations.

As said by him, the VIA vm7700 VESA-mounted PC is a revolutionary concept that delivers an efficient, cost-effective method of delivering x86 technology simply and discreetly.

“With its robust multimedia performance and inherent display flexibility, the vm7700 offers a strong alternative to panel PCs,” he said.

Mr. Wu further said that the new product supports up to 1 Gega Byte (GB) of power efficient DDR2 system memory, a 2.5” Hard Disc Drive (HDD) or DOM interface, four Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports and a COM port as standard.

“Networking is taken care of with a VIA Gigabit Ethernet port and optional Wireless IEEE 802.11b/g module,” he said, adding that the completely fanless vm7700 mounted PC also has DVI-D, D-Sub and S-Video TV-out interfaces with native dual-view configurations.

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HP introduces Blade solutions for SMEs

Hewlett Packard (HP) Nigeria, has introduced new products with focus on providing solutions and services specifically to assist the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country, known as HP Blade System c3000.

HP Enterprise Business Manager, Mr. Chukwuma Okpaka, informed that the product comes as great help to the world’s midsize companies numbering over 500,000 globally in accelerating growth and reduce operating costs.

He pointed out that key factor of the “Shorty,” but compact HP BladeSystem c3000 is that it encloses smaller technology sites, branch offices and remote locations, stressing that implementation of the c3000 requires no special power, cooling or staff, therefore, easing midsize customers’ ability to gain the benefits of a fully bladed environment.

Also, HP used the occasion to unveil its StorageWorks All-in-One SB600c Storage Blade, which Okpaka said works in both the new c3000 and the existing HP BladeSystem c7000.

He said that additionally, HP has released new application “blueprints” called HP Solution Blocks, offering simplified and accelerate integration of multiple application and data protection solutions into the new c3000 enclosure.

According to him, recent HP research indicated that two-thirds of SMEs want technology offerings that meet their needs and are created just for them. Even as almost 90 per cent of senior business and technology executives at midsize companies say their company is doing more with less by using technology.

Mr. Okpaka, equally said the new products, backed by a set of HP care pack services, expand HP’s Adaptive Infrastructure portfolio, which helps customers of all sizes to benefit immensely from an infrastructure tailored to meet their business requirements.

Equally speaking on the latest products, Ann Livermore, executive vice president, Technology Solutions Group, HP said that midsize customers do not want watered down enterprise solutions, but “… complete solutions built uniquely to address their needs.”

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Senate warns telcos’ CEOs

The Nigerian Senate has warned the chief executive officers (CEOs) of all the telecommunications companies in the country to desist from shunning it’s summon or face the wrath of the upper legislative house.

The Senate gave this note of warning at the weekend during a one-day public hearing on Quality of Service (QoS) at a chamber of the National Assembly Abuja, organised by the Committees on Communication and Commerce.

Speaking through the chairman, Senate Committee on Communication, Senator Sylvester Ndubuisi Anyanwu, the upper house expressed dismay over the inability of any of chief executives of telcos invited for the forum that was present, especially across the four Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operators, namely the MTN, Globacom, Celtel and M-Tel.

Senator Anyanwu who presided over the public hearing stressed the importance of the CEOs of telcos and mostly of GSM companies, saying that it’s disheartening that they would be invited before the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and they would send representatives.

“Its no longer business as usual,” he warned.

He also sounded a note of warning that the experiment of last week should serve as last warning, because his committee is capable of dragging such unsubmissive CEOs to the floor of the Senate to face probe and could even go the mileage of suspending the licenses of defaulting telco’s.

Apparently irked by the absence of these CEOs, Senator Anyanwu asserted that if it is in the United States, they would not dare to shun Senate summon.

All the representatives of GSM operators at the forum, which was monitored in Lagos on African Independent Television (AIT) and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), were shunned as soon as they introduced themselves as representatives with flimsy excuses that their chief executives travelled out of the country or just arrived last night.

Senator Anyanwu equally advised all the representatives to wait after the session so as to take a new date for them accompanied by their chief executives to appear before the committee, but insisted that they take enough note on the reports from the forum, because they must respond to them.

He stressed that the emphasise on these chief executives being present goes beyond mere explanation of technicalities of their operations, adding that the Senate intends to get affirmation from them too on whatever would be arrived at as matter of their response.

He further asked the GSM operators to come up with a working document on how to improve the quality of service on their networks when coming for the special session after they have taken their dates.

The Senate, he pointed out would like to see a working document on how they intend to solve the issues at hand, especially on the poor quality of service, which he said must be signed before the Senate and at least and solve the problem before December this year.

Declaring open the forum, Senate President, Dr. David Mark reiterated this position and said that there is no acceptable excuse for the increased drop calls among the telcos in the country, noting that something must be done very quickly too.

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ITU approves new 3G standards

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) organized Radiocommunication Assembly 2007 (RA-07) has approved a new global importance to include Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WIMAX), which is a telecommunications technology aimed at providing wireless data.

The assembly also said that WiMax-derived technology is in the framework of the International Mobile Telecommunications 2000 (IMT-2000) set of standards.

IMT-2000 is an initiative of ITU for a service that will provide radio access to the global telecommunications.

This approval paves the way for the deployment of a range of voice, data, and multimedia services to both stationary and mobile devices, just as it significantly opened the door to mobile Internet, catering to demand in both urban and rural markets.

At the meeting, the RA-07 formally recognized technology derived from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE 802.16) standards by incorporating it as the sixth terrestrial IMT-2000 radio interface.

Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, Valery Timofeev, noted that this is the first addition to IMT-2000 since the original five were adopted years ago as part of the Third Generation (3G) radio standards being used globally and significantly pushes the technological envelope of IMT-2000 capabilities.

He also said that IMT-2000 is a global standard defined by ITU in a set of interdependent ITU recommendations, which include the specifications for the radio interfaces of advanced wireless communications systems such as 3G mobile.

An initial application for the IMT-2000 advanced standard, he said, was made at the ITU-R WP8F meeting in Kobe, Japan, in January this year, adding that the adoption of the latest radio interface was the culmination of tireless effort among administrations, industry and ITU experts.

“It gives me great satisfaction to observe that the ITU Radiocommunication Sector continues to be responsive to the most pressing needs of the wireless industry in the deployment of innovative technological solutions,” said Timofeev said.

The director equally said that the successful approval of the two new resolutions and four draft recommendations dealing with IMT technologies represents a pinnacle in the recent technical achievements of the sector.

Speaking on this, President, WiMAX Forum, Mr. Ron Resnick, said, the WiMAX technology currently has the potential to reach 2.7 billion people, stressing that this announcement expands the reach to a significantly larger global population.

The new technology will facilitate delivery of broadband wireless services at lower cost and include multiple wireless broadband Internet services, including VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

The specific terminology of the IEEE 802.16 standard in ITU-R M.1457 recommendation is ‘IMT-2000 Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) is a multi-user version of the popular OFDM digital modulation scheme aligned to Time Division Duplexing (TDD) and Wireless Metropolitan Area Network WMAN.’

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Globacom eyes top position in African market

The Second National Operator, Globacom, has announced its desire to occupy the number one position on the continent’s telecommunications market.

The telco which last week introduced another number range, 0705, on its network, said its ready to assume the leader of the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) market.

Quoting the latest reviews of the mobile market in Africa and Middle East (AME) region by Cellular News, the telco said it has indicated that Globacom has moved from the sixth position last year to the fifth position in the second quarter of 2007 in terms of growth in subscriber base.

According to the Chief Operating Officer, Globacom, Mr. Mohammed Jameel, with this, Glo has displaced MTN South Africa and is currently aiming for the top spot on the continent.

“With each quarterly review, Globacom continues to post impressive showing in the league of the top 10 operators in Africa and the Middle East region,” he said.

He added that by the second quarter of this year, Globacom had earned 13.95 million subscribers within just four years of operations.

The review also stated that this is about 37.3 per cent of the Nigerian GSM market, while MTN Nigeria has 14m and faces the harsh reality of Globacom closing the gap in the next few months and eventually seizing the market leadership in the country.

Last week, Globacom announced it has achieved a 15 million subscriber base and introduced a new number series, 0705.

At a parley with key Information and Communication Technology (ICT) editors in Lagos, Mr. Jameel disclosed plans by the telco to reach for the leadership position in the next few months.

He pointed out that Globacom has commenced installation of capacity for over 30 million subscribers by the end of this year, adding that over 150 base stations every week are being put in place across the nation, which would bring additional 750 base stations to the network by the same time.

“The equipment for achieving this phenomenal growth is already in the country,” he said.

However, South Africa’s Vodacom maintained its decade-long leadership hold in the Top 10 league, a hold that is being highly threatened by the advances of the Nigerian Globacom.

The review also showed that Vodacom SA added 1.55 million new connections in the quarter, to take its subscriber base to 21.95 million, a regional market share of about 6.6 per cent.

The Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI) took the second place with 17.8 million subscribers, while STC of Saudi Arabia closed the quarter with 15.5 million connections, to become the third after a gain of just 0.2 million.

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Siemens Profile-07 opens

The Siemens Profile Awards for 2007 is now receiving entries from media practitioners round the continent, whose work has helped make science and technology more easily, understood with new categories that aim to attract a broader submission of entries.

Corporate Communications, Siemens Nigeria, Mr. Olusegun Akin while appealing for Nigerian media professionals participation in this year award, said that in the past, the likes of Remmy Nweke of Champion Newspapers Limited, has made the nation proud by winning the Siemens Profile awards on two occasion.

He expressed optimism that most of the awards for 2007 would come to Nigeria given the kind of vibrant media practitioners the nation has been endowed with, especially within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector with particular interest in reporting science and technology.

A press statement from the chief executive officer, Siemens Southern Africa, Sigi Proebstl, noted that as a well-established feature of the African journalistic landscape, Siemens Profile Awards have once again open its doors to accept entries from all the countries on the continent.

He added that the Profile Awards are the only pan-African awards devoted exclusively to science and technology reporting, an area of media activity that is increasingly important for the continent as African countries compete for a place in a new world order characterised by the Information Age and rapid advances in technology.

“It is our firm belief that science and technology reporting needs to be continuously accelerated and improved on the continent in order to demystify these vitally important subjects that have the potential to impact massively on the lives of all Africa’s people,” he declared, stressing that the recognition and reward of those writers, broadcasters and producers who effectively do this, therefore, is an important task.

In order to make it easier for entrants, he said, that the award has been categorised as well as broadening in potential thus categorised based on the subjects of science and technology.

For 2007, he explained that the new categories are Healthcare; Industry; Mobility (Transportation); Safety and Security; Information Technology (Business Process and Outsourcing); Energy; Research and Development; and Corporate Responsibility with a science and technology slant.

“From the winners of each of the categories, an overall grand prize is awarded for the best piece of science and technology journalism of 2007,” he submitted.

Champion Infotel recalled that since the launch of the Siemens Profile Awards six years ago, the number of entries has grown steadily, as well as the number of countries participating, especially since the opening of the competition to countries across the African continent.

“Entries from French-speaking countries have grown substantially, and it is pleasing to note that these nations featured prominently amongst the 2006 Award winners,” he said.

In spite of the increasing number of entries, given the importance of radio and television in spreading messages across the continent, especially in the more remote regions, Proebstl added, these two media are vitally important channels in the communicating the benefits offered by developments in science and technology to Africa’s people.

According to him, in spite of a rising number of print entries, there has been a decline in submissions from radio and television.

“We would therefore especially urge journalists, producers and broadcasters in these areas to submit their work for adjudication and look forward to receiving their entries,” he said.

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APC-MGE offers travel packs to customers

Leading global provider of critical power and cooling services and a company of Schneider Electric, APC-MGE is offering its customers a total travel packs.

Champion Infotel gathered that the company is offering a total APC Travel Pack, which include roller laptop travel bag, travel power for powering up laptops and a six-hour universal notebook battery.

To win this pack, the company said that customers are expected to go online and share their local users experience with global end users.

And to participate, APC urged users of its product to visit http://promo.apc.com and use the key code 62773T and if any story is selected by the company, which would be published in the firm’s print newsletter.

Company sources in Nigeria, informed that APC will send winners free APC Mobile Power Pack, to power up mobile devices such as cell phones, iPods and Personal Digital Assistant (PDAs).

Even as all entries would also be automatically entered into a lucky draw competition to win the complete travel pack.

APC-MGE, is a $3 billion (2.4€ billion) company with industry’s most comprehensive product and solution range for critical Information Technology (IT) and process applications in industrial, enterprise, small and medium business and home environments.

APC-MGE solutions include uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), precision cooling units, racks, and design and management software, including the industry’s only integrated power, cooling, and management solution.

Heavily backed by the industry’s broadest service organisation and an industry leading R&D investment, APC-MGE’s 12,000 employees help customers in confronting today’s unprecedented power, cooling and management challenges. Schneider Electric, with 105,000 employees and operations in 190 countries, had 2006 annual sales of $18 billion (€13.7) billion.

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Nokia unveils two new phones

Leading firm in telecommunications mobility has unveiled two new phones into the global market.

Communications Manager for Nokia Nigeria, Ms Ngozi Ife Anene, said that the aim of these new products, the Nokia 1200 and Nokia 1208 mobile phones, was in the bid to drive transformation and growth of converging Internet and communications industries.

“Nokia makes a wide range of mobile devices and provides people with experiences in music, navigation, video, television, imaging, games and business mobility through these devices. Nokia also provides equipment, solutions and services for communications networks,” she said.

She pointed out that most emerging markets around the world, that mobile phones are often shared among families and even entire villages in some instance and to meet the needs of these customers, many of whom are first-time buyers, hence Nokia has introduced two new mobile phones designed to meet the unique needs of a shared mobile device.

Both phones, she said have the industry’s first call-time tracking application and multi-phonebooks to make phone sharing simpler and more efficient.

Adding that the call-time tracking feature helps the consumers and village phone entrepreneurs to manage airtime costs by enabling them to pre-set a time limit on individual calls. The call automatically ends when the pre-set limit has been reached.

She equally said that the easy-to-use multi-phonebook allows consumers to set up personal phonebooks unique to that user and save specific contacts to that user’s phonebook.

“The Nokia 1200 and Nokia 1208 each come with 5 available phonebooks, so it is possible for an entire family to share a phone, and for each of the family members to manage their own phonebook,” she said, emphasizing that the sharing of a mobile phone allows many consumers in entry markets to experience the benefits of mobility firsthand - an experience that might otherwise not be possible.

Also speaking, Area Manager Nokia Nigeria, Fady Khatib, was quoted as saying that with the industry-first features found in the Nokia 1200 and 1208, Nokia has continued to address the needs and aspirations of people in emerging markets by making its mobile phones accessible to more consumers and enabling positive community development.

“The Nokia 1200 and Nokia 1208 also come equipped with additional features tailored to entry markets such as flashlights, localized languages that enables the setting of the user interface in either Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa languages and a teaching mode that allows non-experienced users to quickly learn how to master the phone,” Khatib said.

In addition, the area manager pointed out that the seamless keypad protects the phone from dust, another reality of rural mobile phone use, whereas the Nokia 1200 phone is offered with a monochrome screen, while the Nokia 1208 features a colour VGA screen.

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Celtel excites Corp members in Lagos

Celtel Nigeria at week excited members of the National Youth Service Corps in Lagos State, according the Public Relations Manager, Mr. Emmanuel Otokhine.

The event tagged “Celtel welcome party for Corp Members”, was organized and sponsored by Celtel Nigeria to provide the NYSC members for 2007, the opportunity to unwind, interact and have fun after a tedious week of rigorous activities at the Ipaja, Lagos, Camp.

A press statement endorsed by him, quoted the Trade Marketing Manager, Lagos, Mainland Region, Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Sunny Ekhalume.

Corp members were excited by the sensational hip pop star, Weird MC, Top Idols Stars: Eric Arubayi and Omawunmi Megbele, among others stars

Equally, Mr. Ekhalume noted that the corps members were equally given the opportunity to win prizes through a dancing competition.

The winners of the dancing competition were selected by the Corps members who were allowed to make their choice of the best dancers through a voice vote.

At the end of the dance competition, Jonathan Okpor, Onyinyechi Ukaogo and Atuenyi Kennedy emerged winners of the contest, while other winners were rewarded with Nokia handsets.

Also, the corps members were offered more opportunity to win prizes through a series of games.

The winners of the contests were presented with Nokia phones and recharges cards.

The group’s performance ushered in Eric Arubayi, and Omawunmi Megbele, the fourth runners up and the first runner up respectively of the popular West Africa Idols sponsored by Celtel.

There performance lifted the crowd to another level of elation. Eric did the popular ‘End of the Road’ by Boys 2 Men, even as Omawunmi did a song ‘I will survive’ by Gloria Gaynor.

Omawunmi, easily a crowd’s darling any day attracted a lot of attention from the audience as danced from one end of the stage to another in her well fitted pair of black pair of low trousers.

The show was brought to a climax by the performance of Weird MC. She took the audience on a long thrilling musical journey with the track ‘Allen Avenue.’

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Survey rates Africa low in receiving aids for development

Recent survey by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has rated Africa low receiving aids to finance development in line with the 2002 implementation of the Monterrey Consensus.

ECA in a press statement made available to the Highway Africa News Agency (HANA) endorsed by the Information and Communication Service, stated that the survey of African policymakers was conducted in March and April 2007 to gauge their views on the degree of progress in meeting the goals of the Monterrey Consensus.

The outcome which coincided with the a two-day high-level biennial review of the United Nations General Assembly Plenary in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, informed that the overall found showed that while significant progress was made in the area of external debt relief, performances in other areas have declined, thus disappointing.

The survey pointed out that considerable efforts are required by both African governments and development partners to mobilize the level of resources needed for development in the region.

Highlight of the findings, according to ECA included that governments are making efforts to mobilize domestic resources, but savings rates in African countries remain inadequate relative to their investment requirements.

Also, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow has increased, but it is still insufficient, and too concentrated in the natural resources sector, to help accelerate economic growth and development. Just as most countries have policies in place to attract private capital flows, but response from foreign investors has so far been muted.

Exports, the survey noted have increased in recent years, even as respondents believed that donors have not made much progress in supporting African countries in the area of trade.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) flows to Africa, the survey pointed out are on the increase, however, donors are still not on track to meet their commitments, adding that recent aid flows also tend to be concentrated in a few countries and social sectors cutting across emergency aid and debt relief.

While there has been a significant reduction in the external debt burden of African countries as a result of recent debt relief initiatives, just as more debt relief needs to be provided.

“Governments also need to exercise caution in borrowing to ensure that debts in African countries remain sustainable,” a part of the survey read.

HANA recalls that the Monterrey Consensus adopted at the International Conference on Financing for Development in 2002 was the first global attempt to comprehensively address the challenges of financing development, especially in the context of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Consensus calls for a new partnership between developed and developing countries covering six main areas of action, such as mobilizing domestic financial resources, attracting international financial resources based on private capital flows, promoting international trade as an engine for development, increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development, sustainable debt financing and external debt relief; as well as addressing systemic issues.

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