" ITREALMS: July 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Microsoft may opt for partial share in Yahoo!

The last may not have been heard about the Microsoft’s burning desire to own a controlling share of the reputed online search engine, Yahoo! as its official confirmed weekend that it may re-open negotiations with the new board expected to emerge after the August 1, 2008 shareholders’ meeting.

The latest move, ITRealms Online gathered would now target making in roads in the negotiations with interest for partial instead of wholesome purchase of the search engine, Yahoo! by Microsoft.

With countdown remaining just 48 hours to come by for the next shareholders meeting of Yahoo! there is unexpected high handedness as even accredited media for the meeting have been banned from recording in any format.

Anticipation is also high at Microsoft that its inspired billionaire cum activist and top shareholder in Yahoo! Mr. Carl Icahn would uphold his threat to sack the current board of directors with Mr. Jerry Yang as the chief executive.

ITRealms Online recalls that Yang-led management team at Yahoo! refused in the past six months to yield to Mr. Icahn’s Microsoft motivated deal of disposing Yahoo! for United States Dollars 47.5 billion (about N5.59 trillion).

But new development emerged at the weekend that Microsoft after all would not be gunning for a wholesome purchase of Yahoo! as it foresees the entity declining assets.

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Microsoft Corporation, Mr. Chris Liddell gave this indication at the Financial Analyst Meeting 2008 held at the company’s headquarters, last weekend.

Commenting on Yahoo! deal lately, he said that certain elements have changed in the company since its initial offer was botched few days back.

As said by him, Microsoft went into the acquisition totally genuine, which they believe was a good deal and consequently made an offer based on that belief that it is incredibly good value to the shareholders of Yahoo!

Now, he said, Microsoft has taken a second look at the proposed offer and come to the realization that it was an incredibly generous bid, but Yahoo! has continued to decline in asset.

“We took the view, and we still take the view, that Yahoo! is essentially a declining asset,” he declared.

He explained that what is now available is a situation where you have an expectation from a vendor that looks like this, an expectation from a buyer that looks the other way and so “you see a declining parallel path.”

“It’s ironic now that we have a situation where the vendor is happy to sell to us at a price something like what we originally offered, so if you like that path was intersected where we started -- and having rejected that and said it was substantially undervalued six odd months ago,” the CFO said.

He stressed that what changed was time, because “Time passed and value eroded” and its no longer economical for Microsoft.

“We don’t have a situation now where the initial offer that we made makes any sense any more from economics,” Liddell said.

“There’s no way that you can get the sort of boost that you get from Yahoo! by doing things organically …. There has to be some economic justification for acceleration at the end of the day time. And if time passes and the value of what we are buying erodes for one reason or another, it stops making sense for us to do it,” he said.

Although he did not disclose the latest offer to be made when the negotiations reopens in the coming days, Liddell noted that in view of going forward, that the chances of buying Yahoo! on full scale is now very minute.

“I think the chances of us buying Yahoo! on a full acquisition basis are so small that they are essentially negligible,” he said, adding that a full acquisition certainly in the timeframe and sort of economics that were previously thought “makes no sense.”

Meanwhile Microsoft has announced the restructuring of the Platforms & Services Division (PSD) by splitting it into two groups.

Chief executive officer, Microsoft Corporation, Mr. Steve Ballmer made this announced penultimate Wednesday after the Yahoo! deal failed.

Noteworthy is that PSD president, Kevin Johnson would be leaving the company probably by end of this month.

The new two groups that emerged from the split are Windows/Windows Live and Online Services, with both groups reporting directly to the CEO, Mr. Ballmer.

While Microsoft officials were optimistic of the Yahoo! meeting outcome, industry observers were of the view that some clusters may still be working against Microsoft due to the fear that it would want to emasculate the online business like the firm did with the Personal Computing (PC) evolution initially, which saw almost all PCs coming into market with Microsoft Operating System (OS) and now on battlefield with Open Source advocates.

Yahoo! prides itself as the world’s largest global online network of integrated services and is one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide that was founded 13 years ago.

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Privacy Notice: Essentials about Google Toolbar (4)

Certain optional Toolbar features operate by sending Google the addresses or other information about sites when you visit them.

Web History, PageRank, and Safe Browsing in Enhanced Mode all work this way. In addition, if you use Safe Browsing, when Google warns you about a suspicious site we may also log that site’s URL and whether you accepted, rejected, or closed the warning message. We will let you know when you are enabling a feature that automatically sends page addresses to Google, and you can turn these features off at any time.

* Features that work by sending Google your requests for additional information may also send small amounts of data to Google at the time of use.

For example, Translate and SpellCheck work by sending text to be translated or spell-checked, and AutoLink works by sending Google page text (such as addresses or ISBN numbers) for which AutoLink information is available.

The “Backward Links” and “Similar Pages” features request more information about a page by sending the page’s address to Google.

These features are not active and will not send data to Google unless you click on a Toolbar button to enable them, or hover over words to translate them.

• SMS: This and other features that let you transmit data from the Toolbar may log that data transmission, as explained in the frequently asked questions (FAQ).

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UNIJOS wins Hewlett Packard’s N11.7m grant

In fulfillment of its corporate social responsibility, Hewlett Packard (HP) through the 2008 HP Technology for Teaching Higher Education Grant initiative, has presented to the University of Jos (UNIJOS), the sum of $100,000, (about N11,777,500.15) won by the institute as part of the $3.6 million to be spread across 36 universities globally.

This, HP said encompasses several elements valued approximately with cash and equipment worth $3.6 million.

Presently, only University of Jos, has benefited from the initiative cutting across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), just as other beneficiaries on the continent include the University of Makerere, Uganda and University of South Africa.

Marketing Manager, HP West Africa, Ms Ijeoma Onyiuke, said that over 250 higher institutions in the region competed under the 2008 HP Technology for Teaching Higher Education Grant out of which 36 were successful, including UNIJOS.

The grants, Ms Onyiuke said in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online, is part of the activities marking HP’s five years of commitment to innovative educators who are transforming student achievement through the use of technology in the classroom, while encouraging students career interest in technology, engineering, math and science, including environmental science.

She added that since 2004, HP has contributed a total of nearly $60 million in HP Technology for Teaching grants to more than 1,000 schools in 41 countries worldwide.

Pointing out that during the past 20 years, HP has contributed more than $1 billion in cash and equipment to schools, universities, community organizations and other nonprofit organizations around the world.

Managing Director, HP West Africa, Mr. Ime Umo, while presenting a letter for the grant to Vice Chancellor, University of Jos, Prof Sonni Tyoden, at the university campus, at the weekend, noted that the grant proposal submitted by the institution to HP for a 2008 HP Technology for Teaching Higher Education Grant has been selected for funding.

The letter read that “out of 36 Universities from Europe, Middle East and Africa that were competing, 15 have been awarded and 3 of them are in Africa. This is a concrete demonstration of HP’s commitment to support higher education in Africa and develop access to high-end information technology tools in Universities.

The HP higher education grant initiative is a catalyst for education innovation in Africa.”

The equipment within the grant include 21 HP Compaq Notebook/Tablet PCs with Microsoft Vista include 21" HP Ultra-slim Expansion Base with DVD drive, operating system, 3 HP One HP executive carrying case, HP USB optical travel mouse, one HP Designjet Printer Stand, one HP Designjet, iPAQs, one HP ProCurve Switch 408, Procurve Wireless Access Point, one Mobile Net Education Center and digital projector.

A $20,000 cash from the grant is also earmarked for the principal investigator to use to support the work of the project and also facilitate attendance at the annual HP Technology for Teaching Worldwide Higher Education Conference in San Diego, USA from 22-24 February 2009.

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Visafone rolls out in Kano

Emerging leader in the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators in the country, Visafone Communications Limited, last week rolled out in the ancient city of Kano.

Head, Corporate Communications, Visafone Limited, Mr. Toni Kan, said that Kano has joined the growing list of cities enjoying Visafone passport to connect the world.
During the launch, he said, the management team of the telco paid a courtesy visit to the Emir of Kano.

The team led by the Northern Regional Head, Visafone, Mr. Taiwo Ogunkanmi, said the launch was on the heels of a test-run recently concluded in the city by the telco.
He also told the Emir that Visafone’s strategies are aimed at ensuring that Kano experiences to the fullest the joy of communications for which the company is known for.

While expressing gratitude to the monarch, Ogunkanmi said, Visafone was in Kano to help speed up economic growth and human capacity development.

Responding, the Emir of Kano said, he was aware of the company’s emergence and entrance into Kano as well as the progress the company was already making.

He promised to offer the company “any assistance you may require in Kano.”

In another development, plans are already in top gear for Visafone’s commencement of operations in the city of Zaria.

This launch is coming at a time the company is intensifying its resolve to cover the entire country with its network.

Mr. Kan, added “we are spreading the joy of communication to Zaria in fulfillment of our pledge to offer Nigerians a passport to reach the world. Zaria is strategic because it is a university town and Visafone is a very youth-centric brand.”

He recalled that Visafone launched commercial operations on February 22, 2008 in 12 states and over 100 cities.

The company has since grown its coverage area to 16 states and over 150 cities in the past 3 months in fulfillment of its promise to provide Nigerians with a veritable “passport to reach the world.”

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Phase 3, GBB others root for Convergence Forum

Second edition of the IT Edge West Africa Convergence Forum, has started to attract major industry players as technology partners.

The latest list include Phase 3 Telecom, Galaxy Backbone Plc, Nigeria eGovernment Strategies (NeGSt) Limited, and the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) to name a few.

Chief executive of KMI, organizers of the event, scheduled to hold in Lagos, on August 22, 2008, Mr. Segun Oruame, said that the above named entities are joining forces with the major sponsor and partner, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in pushing the frontier of knowledge in Nigeria’s boisterous telecom market of over 50 million subscribers and offshore investment in excess of $15 billion in less than half a decade.

Oruame quoted the Chief executive officer of NeGSt, Dr Olu Agunloye as saying in Abuja, that the Forum’s themes on the goals for which the NeGSt was founded including to enthrone a technology-driven society where ease of transactions will be introduced in every facet of life.

NeGSt, he said, is designed to be Nigeria’s prime eGovernment backbone infrastructure.

“This forum offers ample opportunity for NeGSt to share with the stakeholders its core values on egovernment and its mission to ensure an e-driven country,” said Alhaji Abubakar Ali, one of NeGSt directors also in Abuja while commending the NCC for its foresight in using best practices and right leadership to make the Nigerian regulatory environment one of the best on the globe.

Also speaking, director general, NARSDA, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, noted that NCC has through rare display of leadership and foresight created the right investment environment backed by a purposeful government.

“We at NARSDA are not only happy to be part of the IT Edge Convergence Forum; we are also pleased to have a great organisation such as the NCC promoting this forum,” Boroffice said.

In his part, chief executive of Phase 3 Telecom, Mr. Stanley Jegede, said his firm was part of the forum on Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) organized by KMI previously and is pleased to join forces with other stakeholders in this year’s forum.

“We have no reason to hesitate to be part of this Forum encouraged by the track record of IT Edge.

Chief, business operations at Galaxy Backbone Plc, Yusuf Kazaure, said, “We would definitely be part of this,” he said.

Additionally, Oruame informed that the Chief Executive Officer of Galaxy Mr. Gerald Ilukwe is on the confirmed list of resource persons on the Infrastructure session and would be joined by his counterpart from Backbone Connectivity Network (BCN), Dr. Kwame Boakye, Mr. Jegede and Prof. Boroffice among others.

The IT Edge West Africa Convergence Forum is organized by Knowledge Media International Limited, publishers of IT Edge and www.itedgenews.com.

The event is geared at promoting the right framework for best practices and results as the technology sector evolved to its ultimate fate of convergence. The second edition follows the trail of the first edition as West Africa’s primal gathering on knowledge advancement on the key issues that affect the industry.

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CAI names 3 Nigerian distribution partners

United Kingdom (UK)-based charity organization and provider of refurbished computers in most developing countries of the world, the Computer Aid International (CAI), has named three Nigerian institutions its distributing partners.

The Programme Officer at Computer Aid West Africa, Ms. Anne Musyoki, while disclosing this recently in an exclusive chat in Lagos, gave the names of these partners as comprising Cooperative Information Network (COPINE/NITDA/FMST) located at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Center Information Technology and Development (CITAD) Kano, and Ecumenical Center for Justice and Peace (ECJP), Makurdi.

According to her, the above mentioned organizations are the authorized distribution partners in the country.

CAI, she said, currently has presence in over 105 countries of the world, which makes the organization the world largest and most experienced not-for-profit supplier of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) equipment.

Musyoki also said that the PCs’ distribution is part of efforts towards supporting developing nations in bridging the digital divide through making inexpensive PCs available.

Further, she said that CAI has made donations to some Nigerian institutions and organizations in the last few years.

“CAI has made donations to the Cooperative Information Network (COPINE/NITDA/FMST) at Obafemi Awolowo University, the Distance Learning Centre in the University of Ibadan and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Ogbomoso,” Musyoki asserted.

As at end of June this year, Musyoki said, a total of 9000 Personal Computers (PCs) have been distributed to various institutions and individuals in Nigeria under the Computer Aid International (CAI) refurbished computer programme.

CAI she disclosed has dispatched over 120,000 personal computers, to where the organization felt they were most desirable in over 105 countries globally.

She pointing out that within this figure, Nigeria has already added 1000 PCs from the 8,000 recorded at the end of May, 2008.

“So far, Nigeria has received about 9,000 PCs from the Computer Aid International,’ she said, stressing that the non-government organization (NGO) is the world’s largest provider of not-for-profit computers to the developing world.

“CAI provides only the highest-quality, professionally refurbished computer for reuse in education, health and not-for profit organizations in developing countries,” she said.

And called on interested NGOs, education institutions and students in benefiting from CAI computer distributions to feel free to contact the aforementioned partners in the country.

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Netapp elevates CWL to platinum partner

The hardware subsidiary of the Computer Warehouse Group, the CWL Systems, has been elevated to platinum partner of Netapp as the firm also picked the award for EMEA Best Partner for financial year 2008, which ended in April.

This was disclosed by the chief executive officer of Computer Warehouse Group, Mr. Austin Okere after receiving the award recently at the Austria Trend Eventhotel Pyramide in Vienna.

Presenting the award and announcing the elevation, Senior Vice President, Netapp, Mr. Christian Partarrieu, said “This is in recognition of CWL’s outstanding achievements, and in appreciation of her time, efforts and commitment to Netapp in the region.”

ITRealms Online recalls that Netapp which prides herself as the foremost storage entity, has enjoyed a place of prominence in the Gartner magic quadrant, being a leader in Network Attached Storage solutions and the fastest growing in Storage Area Network, growing three times faster than the market with 2008 revenue marked $3.3 billion.

Equally, Netapp attributed the phenomenal success of the company to highly scalable and multifunction storage solutions, making applications run better, and people more efficient.

The unified replication solution of Netapp, Partarrieu noted, enables more data to be stored with less storage, thereby guaranteeing one of the industry’s best total cost of ownership.

Also speaking, Director Channel Sales, eMed & Africa at Netapps, Mr. Eli Lopez, noted that firm’s momentum is strong.

“Our strengths are perfectly lined up with key market trends and our partners such as CWL Systems are winning with us,” Lopez said.

In addition, CWL Systems has achieved Platinum Partner status with Netapp, which is the highest certification level in the Netapp partnership chain.

This, allows CWL to enjoy all the privileges of Netapp native engineers such as white papers on products, online technical support from Netapp engineers as well as more favourable commercial terms of trade.

Commenting on the development, Mr. Okere said that this recognition shall spur CWG to much greater achievements with Netapp, and shall translate to better support and pricing for her customers in Nigeria and Ghana.

CWG is an acclaimed indigenous systems integrator leader, comprising three subsidiary companies in each of the disciplines of Information and Communications Technology, namely the CWL Systems, DCC Networks and Expertedge Software.

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Omatek Plc raises N6bn, seeks channel partners

Omatek Computer Plc raised about N6 billion from the capital market following its initial public offer which ended recently, just as the firm is now seeking channel partners nationwide.

Chief executive officer, Omatek Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki, made this disclosure at the resellers’ forum held last weekend in Lagos.

She said that the present focus of Omatek is to create channel markets by partnering with relevant resellers and mostly in form of franchising.

“We are ready to franchise with you. We want franchising in Ikeja, Ikotu and other major suburbs, cities and towns across Nigeria,” she said.

According to her, Omatek is ready to provide the partners marketing materials, training and other things that would enable them partner effectively with the company.

She appealed to the resellers most of who came from the Computer Village, Ikeja-Lagos, to patronize local computer brands like Omatek.

Pointing out that when China started, they were campaigning globally that their people should patronize them and now is Nigeria’s turn as Omatek has what it takes to meet market demands.

Omatek, she said, has a repair call centre for replacing parts when necessary and to boost this, Omatek now has an engineering subsidiary known as Omatek Engineering Services Limited.

This, subsidiary, she explained encouraged the computer manufacturer to remove the after sales service support from the Omatek brand.

She said, that the firm is looking for partners in this regard to compliment the mandate of the engineering subsidiary.

“Today, we believe that while looking for distribution partners, we are looking for after sales partners,” she said, adding that Omatek has resource centres at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), University of Calabar among others.

Further, Mrs. Seriki revealed, that Omatek has entered into alliance with an Asian firm reputed for producing Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) and has formed partnership with Omatek Engineering Services as a joint venture.

She pointed out that Omatek Computers is not only looking for partners just in Nigeria but in the whole of the sub-region of West Africa.

She explained that Omatek also now have new management team, insisting that just as they would spread in different fields of public, banking, manufacturing and other sectors.

She maintained that the factories where Omatek buy motherboard from are the best manufacturer all over the world.

“We need to get Nigeria to the next level through products,” she said, stressing that at the 21 anniversary of the company, two notebooks – 8 and 10 inches, were added to the brand with an official launch.

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Nokia, Qualcomm agree on new deals

World leader in mobility, Nokia Corporation and Qualcomm have entered new deals to improve their various offerings at the market place.

Confirming this, Communications Manager, Nokia Nigeria & West Africa, Mrs. Ngozi Ife Anene, said that the agreement reached penultimate Wednesday would cover various standards including the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) technology, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Wideband CDMA, High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), Long Term Evolution (LTE) and other technologies.

She also informed that the agreement will result in settlement of all litigation between the companies, including the withdrawal by Nokia of its complaint to the European Commission.

Under the terms of the new 15 year agreement, Nokia has been granted a license under all Qualcomm’s patents for use in Nokia mobile devices and Nokia Siemens Networks infrastructure equipment.

She stressed that Nokia has agreed not to use any of its patents directly against Qualcomm, thereby enabling Qualcomm to integrate Nokia’s technology into Qualcomm’s chipsets.

The financial structure of the settlement, she explained, include an up-front payment and on-going royalties payable to Qualcomm.

“Nokia has agreed to assign ownership of a number of patents to Qualcomm, including patents declared as essential to WCDMA, GSM and OFDMA. The specific terms are confidential,” Mrs Anene said in the press statement.

She also quoted chief executive officer of Nokia Corporation, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, in a press statement as saying that the mobile giant is positive the new deal would benefit the industry.

“We believe that this agreement is positive for the industry, enabling the market to benefit from innovation and new technologies,” Kallasvuo said.

Adding that the positive financial impact of this deal is within Nokia’s original expectations and fully reflects the leading intellectual property and market positions.

For his counterpart at Qualcomm, Mr. Paul Jacobs, “I’m very pleased that we have come to this important agreement. The terms of the new license agreement, including the financial and other value provided to Qualcomm, reflect our strong intellectual property position across many current and future generation technologies. This agreement paves the way for enhanced opportunities between the companies in a number of areas.”

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MultiLinks promises superior service

CODE Division Multiple Access (CDMA) service provider, Multilinks-Telkom has promised subscribers of superior quality of service by covering three quarter of the country before the end of 2008, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Corporate Affairs Executive at MultiLinks-Telkom Nigeria, Mr. Tayo Ekundayo made this promise during the recently held reward event for lucky subscribers on the network which took place in Lagos.

He said that Multilinks, unlike others in this category of CDMA platform, is more interested in developing infrastructure so that superior quality service is guaranteed.

Ekundayo also said the telco has invested so much in the area of transmission to avoid chaos which is the problem with many networks as there are challenges of infrastructure that cannot support the total number deployed.

“Transmission problem is handled in such a way that if you make a call anywhere it will go by one dial,” he assured, adding that the telco does not delight in announcing number of subscribers but working hard to ensure that its subscribers get value for their money.

“Multilinks does not delight in making noise, instead we are investing in infrastructure such that at the end of the day the customer will get superior quality service,” Ekundayo said.

Although he did not disclose the amount of resources expended so far on infrastructure by the operator, but added that attaining one million subscriber base under one year of being taken over by Telkom SA, is nothing to celebrate yet.

He also stated that Multilinks has covered over 30 communities in the country and that its team is working day and night to ensure that three quarter of the country will be covered before the end of the year.

“We’re in more than 30 communities in the country, as I am talking to you, we have team laying optic fibre cables all over, so that whatever amount of traffic we generate, we will not have hiccups at all,” he added.

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Celtel Nigeria appoints two new chief officers

Celtel Nigeria has appointed Messrs Tayo Bright and Norman Moyo as Chief Sales Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, respectively.

Their appointment, according to the Public Relations Manager, Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Otokhine, in a press statement, invariably makes them members of the company’s Executive Committee.

He also said that prior to his appointment Mr. Bright was the Director of Commercial Operations, while Mr. Moyo has been marketing director both at Celtel Nigeria respectively.

Otokhine explained that Mr. Bright’s new role as Chief Sales Officer, entails being responsible for all route-to-market strategies and the execution of these through the Celtel regional business structure across Nigeria.

An alumnus of the University of Ibadan, Mr. Bright joined Celtel Nigeria in 2003, and is known for his crucial role in successfully overseeing the development and deployment of company-owned consumer touch point (shops) across Nigeria; delivering sales and high quality services.

He has also contributed immensely to Celtel Nigeria’s business recovery plans and market share growth to No. 2 market position with over 15 million customers as at June 2008.

Before joining Celtel, Mr. Bright worked with Unilever as Marketing Controller in Nigeria and in South East Africa (Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi). In Unilever, he was a brand champion and innovation leader and contributed to the development of numerous mega-brands.

He was also part of the team that championed the marketing integration of all former A.J Sewards Nigeria brands into Unilever. During expatriation to South-East Africa, he pioneered the transformation of the Unilever regional HPC business into a profit-making category during his tour of duty from 1999 to 2003.

Mr. Bright has an invaluable experience in emerging and mass markets through expatriation assignments in the Asian sub continent. Married with four children, Bright is strong on consumer and trade insights and has a passion for innovation.

Relatively, Moyo joined Celtel Nigeria in 2006 and prior to his new appointment, was Marketing Director of the telco.

While in his new role as Chief Marketing Officer, Moyo would be responsible for the strategic management and growth of the segments and the delivery of the desired customer experience based on sound customer insights.

Since joining Celtel Nigeria, Moyo has distinguished himself as an aggressive marketer. He successfully led the team charged with re-branding of Vmobile to Celtel Nigeria, an exercise that was critically acclaimed as exceptional.

Born in 1973, Moyo has an extensive experience in the telecommunications industry spanning more than seven years. He started his career with Standard Chartered Bank in 1996 and later joined Econet Wireless in Zimbabwe, whereas he spent four years working as Group Head, Sales and Marketing for Cresta Hospitality, a pan African Hotel group.

He left Cresta for Celtel Zambia as Commercial Director, Sales and Marketing. While in Celtel Zambia, Moyo was part of the team that spearheaded the growth of telecommunications in Zambia from 215,000 customers to 1 million customers in 24 months.

Approving the changes, Zain Group (Celtel’s parent company) Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Saad Al-Barrak reiterated Zain’s commitment to promoting from within the right leadership with a demonstrable track record of achievement, identified through its talent management and leadership development processes.

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LTA-08 confab to hold in Abuja

THIS year’s Learning Technologies Africa (LTA) conference and exhibition has been scheduled for September 8 and 10, at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Abuja, reports cHARLES OKOH.

A press statement endorsed by the organisers said that the LTA conference and exhibition, with the theme: Towards delivering Qualitative Education, is expected to bring together top-level buyers and leading suppliers of training products and solutions.

They also said the event would draw participants from government, and non-governmental institutions with interest in quality education delivery based on global modern technologies.

Created to provide an international showcase of practical, effective and innovative approaches to modern day delivery of education, training and lifelong learning, the LTA the organisers added, will also attract top level executives, educational and government decision makers from various parts of the world who would be meeting to share knowledge and experiences to build partnerships and together create the solutions that will respond to the educational challenges of tomorrow.

The event which will also avail exhibitors with an unrivalled range of branding opportunities, according to him, also promises increased sales, launch of new products, improved brand awareness as well as generate new customers.

With the myriad of problems confronting the continent technologically, they noted that the conference will also be reflecting on the need to reform education and training systems for the knowledge society, promoting digital literacy and e-skills, up-skilling of the workforce as well as lifelong learning for all.

Further, they listed some of the facilitators expected to include Mr. Sam Juwe of Computer and Associated Products Ltd, Mr. Serge Revet, European Institute for E-learning Champlot , France , Prof. Charles Uwadia, University of Lagos, Dr. Saidu A. Shettima, Federal College of Education (Tech), Potiskum, Dr (Mrs) Adenike Osofisan, University of Ibadan, Fathi Farah, Interpro, Solukar, Tunisia as well Chris Uwaje, Connect Technology, Lagos, amongst others.

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Ericsson’s energy-saving solutions to address climate change

World’s leading provider of telecommunications equipments, Ericsson, has said that deployment of its energy saving solutions would help in addressing climate change.

According to the Head, Corporate and Marketing Communications, Ericsson West Africa, Mr. Olabode Sowunmi Jnr, addressing the issue of radioactive emission from base stations and climate change.

He said, Ericsson has implemented a three-step process to achieving energy-efficient communications for products, sites, and networks, which include energy-optimized networks, site optimization and alternative energy sources.

Sowunmi quoted the Managing Director of Ericsson Nigeria, Mr. Leif Edwall, as saying in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online that, the telco is consistent in its offering for energy saving.

“Ericsson is constantly looking at ways of achieving energy efficiency in all its offerings, both as a cost driver and also from an innovation perspective. We are also looking at how telecommunications in itself can have broader benefits to society, and help in reducing CO2 emissions, a contributor to climate change,” he said.

Also commenting on the company’s current energy efficiency initiatives, the Customer Solutions Manager at Ericsson West Africa, Mr. Chinedum Akaniro, said, the firm currently has a number of products that add to innovative energy saving.

“We have developed a number of energy optimization innovations that reduce Total Cost of Ownership, while at the same time improving the environmental performance of mobile network growth worldwide,” he said.

Akaniro stressed that in the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) mobile networks, Radio Base Stations (RBSs) are known to be the largest volume products.

“They are the highest contributors of CO2 emissions. We have improved the energy-efficiency level of our WCDMA radio base stations by up to 80 per cent in 2008, compared with the levels in 2001,” he said.

Equally, he pointed out that recently Ericsson introduced a Base Transceiver Station Power Savings, with the feature to reduce energy consumption in mobile networks during low traffic periods by putting the radio resources of the network that are not being used into standby mode.

“As you may be aware, the Ericsson Tower Tube which has led to a 30 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions associated with construction, and a 40 percent reduction in energy consumption. These will significantly reduce their environmental impact as well as operational expenditure,” Mr. Akaniro asserted.

ITRealms Online recalls that Ericsson is also leading the push towards alternative energy sources, just as its work with biofuels and solar power are not only cutting carbon dioxide emissions, but making telecommunications available in areas where traditional power options are either unavailable or unreliable.

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Connecting the world and role of satellite industry

As many of you know, I have been passionately involved with satellites and the satellite industry myself, since my early days at university in Mali. Indeed, I was fortunate enough to spend over 11 years working with our hosts here today, Intelsat, before I moved to ICO and then to ITU in Geneva.

As the world’s largest provider of fixed satellite services, Intelsat has been hosting GTM for over 30 years, providing an unrivalled forum for bilateral trading.

I am very grateful therefore that the theme chosen for this year’s event is ‘Connect the World’ – since this is one of our principal missions today at the ITU.

At the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005, we committed to connecting the world’s unconnected by 2015 – bringing access to ICTs to every village on the planet.

Progress in meeting this ambitious goal to ‘Connect the World’ has been more than impressive.

Take Africa, for example. A decade ago, in 1998, there were just 20 million telephone lines serving – or indeed under-serving – the entire African continent.

Today, however, Africa has over 300 million fixed and mobile subscribers, and over 50 million Internet users.

As the Secretary-General of an organization which is ‘committed to connecting the world’, I cannot tell you how much this progress means to me.

As you know, ITU firmly believes that by connecting the world, and fulfilling everyone’s fundamental right to communicate, the world will become a better and a safer place. It will also become a more positive and more equitable place to do business.

Technologies such as Space communications and ground-based mobile communications, fibre-optics and broadband wireless have done a huge amount in a very short space of time to bring many more of the world’s people into the ICT fold, and will continue to do so.

But I believe that satellite communications must play a bigger role in bridging the digital divide and connect the underserved and remote areas to the rest of world. I was just a small boy in Mali when the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, was launched into space in 1957, and I have been a passionate believer in the power of satellites ever since.

Satellite technology can help us bridge the digital divide and meet those ambitious WSIS targets.

No other technology can so quickly achieve large-scale coverage of widely-dispersed populations, or deliver quality connectivity to remote and isolated areas. If we can connect the furthest offshore sailor at sea and the mountaineer climbing an isolated mountain peak, then surely we can also connect the world’s remaining unconnected villages as well?

It is my view that the satellite industry has too often been absent from the development sphere.

We are all aware, of course, that building, launching and operating satellites is an expensive business, and that satellite capacity has historically been too costly for many people in the developing world.

But there are now exciting initiatives underway which are destined to change all that.

Notable among these is the Global Broadband Satellite Infrastructure Initiative (GBSI), which is one of the ITU’s ‘Connect the World’ projects.

Under the leadership of the ITSO, the GBSI is a public-private partnership which aims to leverage the power of satellite technology to promote affordable access to high-speed Internet services to under-served, remote and sparsely populated areas around the world. In the short to medium-term, existing excess satellite capacity will be used.

The GBSI is particularly interesting, because it recognizes the importance of three components in achieving this goal and establishing a framework for satellite broadband service. These three components are the identification of harmonized frequency spectrum worldwide; the use of an open and global transmission standard; and the harmonization of the relevant regulatory principles.

If this can be achieved, then there is no reason why access to high-speed Internet services via satellite cannot be delivered at prices and conditions which are comparable to terrestrial broadband technologies.

There is another crucial area where satellite communications make all the difference in connecting people – as we have all seen so heart-rendingly in the past month on our television screens.

That area is emergency communications.

When a disaster occurs – such as the cyclone in Myanmar, or the earthquake in China – terrestrial networks are often damaged, but satellites continue to do their job, far off in space, keeping people connected, helping coordinate vital relief efforts, saving lives and protecting communities.

Last month ITU was one of the very first agencies to arrive in Myanmar with telecommunications resources after the cyclone hit there, and was also quick to send satellite equipment to China after the terrible earthquake on 12 May – with the rapid deployment being made possible under the ITU Framework for Cooperation in Emergencies.

Satellite communication systems can play a key role in minimizing the effects of natural disasters through remote sensing and early warning systems. In confronting the global challenge of climate change, ITU is therefore intensifying its activities in integrating ICTs into disaster preparedness. Since July last year, we have provided ICT relief services to the Americas, Africa, and Asia and Pacific regions.

Governments, international organizations and businesses all need to recognize that the world has finally moved beyond aid and charity in delivering connectivity. Long-term prosperity depends instead on mobilizing investment and business resources.

It is no crime to expect a return on investment. Indeed, quite the opposite – if a virtuous circle of investment, profit and further investment is to be created, along with jobs, sustainable development, and a thriving economy.

In closing, I would therefore like to invite you to join ITU in helping connect the unconnected, and to work together with us to ensure that the essential role and future potential of satellite communications are not neglected. That way, we can bring the undeniable benefits of ICTs to the last villages, hospitals and schools which still lack any form of connectivity.

We have set ourselves very ambitious targets, but I firmly believe they can be achieved. And the satellite industry will play a key role in helping us achieve them.

•Speech by Dr Hamadoun I. TourĂ©, International Telecomunication Union (ITU) Secretary-General, to the INTELSAT – GTM 2008 held in Washington D.C. United States.

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Reltel rebrands to ZOOMmobile

Leading Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) in the country, the Reliance Telecommunications Limited trading under the name, Reltel Wireless has changed to ZOOMmobile, just as the pay off line is now “The wind beneath your wings … full speed ahead.”

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the company, Mr. Ken Aigbinode, disclosed this at a ceremony in Lagos, in addition unveiled its new prefix, 0707 numbering plan.

According to him, the branding pillars for ZOOMmobile is factored on affordability, dependability, innovation and service, even as the anticipated brand personalities for the new trade name is on youthful, determined, zestful, ambitious, distinct, friendly, creative and resourceful, with the telco’s mission reading “To be the leader and most preferred wireless and mobile brand in Nigeria. Become a verb.”

He also said, ZOOMmobile core values evolves professionalism, integrity, innovation, customer-centricity and one-family orientation.

ZOOMmobile brand, he said, is envisioned as a youthful, vibrant, dynamic, innovative, passionate and professional brand with a promise to offer unrivalled speed and reliability of service on our voice, internet, short messaging service (SMS) and other value-added services.

“With a keen eye on the youth market, ZOOMmobile also embodies the key attributes of knowledge, resilience and friendliness, laced with a lot of fun,” Aigbinode said.
He added that the ‘Z’ merging with ‘O’ symbolizes dynamism and speed.

“We have take care to choose colours that emphasize our brand attributes. Our colours are black, white and orange,” he said.

Equally, he explained that black represents stability, depth and maturity, while white stands for clarity and transparency, whereas orange represents change, warmth and friendliness.

“Our rebranding is deeply rooted in an evolving internal culture of service excellence,” the EVC said.

He further announced the introduction of a new numbering plan, the 0707 series, comprising 10 million lines, which means that ZOOMmobile has the privilege of introducing four digit prefix, alongside the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operators.

“”The 0707 series will be deployed to drive the ZOOMmobile brand nationwide,” he said.

Daily Champion recalls that Reltel Wireless was founded 10 years ago and is noted for being the first CDMA operator to fully pay for a national spectrum covering 36 states of the federation in addition to having over 1.5 million subscribers.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Unregistered SIMs to be deactivated – NCC

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that any unregistered Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) also known as SIM cards in the country at the end of a deadline to be announced soon would be deactivated.

A SIM card is a smart card used in GSM and CDMA mobile phones to identify the user for billing and sundry services as well as a device for storing information in mobile phones for Security Information Management (SIM) purposes; a concept in data security and which could be transferred from one mobile handset to another as far as the handsets in question have cellular modules.

The anticipated deadline, from ITRealms Online investigations would not be less than six months and would not be more than one year.

However, indications emerged weekend at the end of a one-day consultative forum on Thursday, held at the NCC headquarters in Abhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.photo.gifuja, which was attended by the regulator, NCC, major telecom operators and security agencies in the country that Nigeria would soon join the fray in compulsory SIM registration as obtained in some other countries of the world.

Affirming the possibility of deactivating unregistered SIM cards on the networks around the country at the end of the grace for registration, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe said that this has become imperative on the prepaid SIMs on the face of its security challenges to the nation.

According to him, an Action Committee has been set up with a one month mandate and is expected to come out with a guideline on the mandatory registration including specific deadline for already existing subscribers to get registered or face deactivation.

“Unregistered prepaid cards may be deactivated by the deadline of the registration period,” he said, in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online.

Ndukwe also enumerated other countries where same action has taken place before now to include Singapore, Australia, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and South Africa.

“So, Nigeria will not be the first nor only country strengthening controls to deal with the anonymity of prepaid SIM Cards,” he reiterated.

While highlighting the need for a time frame to be set aside when operators will commence compliance to ensure proper recording of the personal details of all customers who buy prepaid SIM Cards, Ndukwe assured that subscribers could continue to use their pre-paid SIM Cards as long as they register their particulars with their mobile operators during the registration period.

He also said that it was agreed the registration of SIM cards by pre-paid subscribers and the methodology of carrying out the registration would involve both potential and current subscribers.

Noting that though this was the first effort at systematically holding a discourse on the subject, the results of the consultative forum was intended to contribute to an evidence-based policy guideline on a practical regulatory regime on registration of pre-paid SIM Cards and to ensure that mobile services remain a tool for social and economic development.

As said by him, NCC has been deliberating on this issue for sometime in addition to other complaints received from security agencies and concerned individuals and corporate over the rise in the use of mobile phones to commit crimes and the difficulty in tracking down the perpetrators who take advantage of unregistered SIM Card especially for prepaid consumers.

“It is a widely held opinion that every technological development has provided a new opportunity for criminality and the introduction of cellular mobile telephone services is no exception. As part of an ongoing holistic security review by the Government, the Commission by this Consultative meeting planned to work together with all network operators who issue SIM Cards to subscribers to agree a workable regulatory regime,” he said.

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MTN, Ultima join forces on Project Fame West Africa

Telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria is determined to offer another life-cycle of excitements to Nigerian viewers’ home as it partners with the producers of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Ultima Communications, in unveiling Project Fame Television show, at the weekend.

Speaking at the groovy ceremony at the Planet One, the Chief Marketing Officer at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Bola Akingbade said the project is intended to fish out more talents in the country.

He said that this is yet another opportunity being offered by MTN to encourage Nigerians to take to professional music.

“We are here to open the famous Fame Academy,” he declared.

Akingbade added that it would involve 16 candidates drawn from various parts of West Africa and is expected to last for 90 days under the guidance of professionals at different stages of the project.

Also, he said that the group would be divided into groups who would later embark on probation and viewers would have the option of voting for their favourites at various stages until the last three emerge.

At MTN, he said, this presents huge opportunity for the teleco and its subscribers.

“All participating candidates should be able to play instruments, write and sing their songs,” he said.

According to him, the over-all winner would be contracted with a car and some cash reward.

The second place winner, he said, would also get a car, but not as much as the over-all winner got. However, all the top three are expected to perform at all the MTN Xtra Cool events.

In the structured college, Akingbade said, progress would be monitored weekly by a jury in a performance management system and is expectation is that the MTN Project Fame period would be one of the best for television viewers as the 26-minute show would be on TV through out the period.

“MTN Project Fame is a huge opportunity to harvest music talents. Winners will get recording contracts, cash, car gifts and be given the opportunity to perform in all MTN Xtra Cool events. To the young people, we say, go and become famous. This is your chance and make it happen,” he urged.

Akingbade also charged the organisers to shop thoroughly round West African countries for sixteen young minds who, as students, would then be housed in one environment and be nurtured into music icons within the three months the programme would last.

Equally speaking, the chief executive of Ultima Communications, Mr. Femi Ayeni, commended MTN Nigeria for buying into the concept presented by his firm once again.

He said that what they have decided to do is to team up with biggest network on the continent alongside Endemol and the largest television network in the country, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) to make it happen.

“What we have decided to do is to team with the biggest mobile phone company in the country, MTN, the biggest Reality TV producer in the world, Endemol and the biggest TV network in Africa, NTA, to bring this show to Nigerians,” he said.

Mr. Ayeni explained that what Ultima plans to do with the project is to teach, entertain and inform in the company’s tradition demonstrated in Who Wants to be a Millionaire among other reality shows on its stable.

As said by him, Project Fame Academy would train the candidates on chorography, instruments and how to become professional musicians.

The students, he said, will also have the opportunity to fulfill their life ambitions by performing alongside their music idols within the period.

ITRealms Online, recalls that Project Fame originally belongs to Endemol but is berthing on Nigerian airwave through Ultima Communications which has other relationships with them in some other projects.

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TD dangles Basket of Opportunities

Technology Distributions (TD) Limited, is dangling yet another resellers reward programme dubbed the ‘Basket of Opportunities’.

The new reward programme, the company said, would begin on Thursday, June 24 with a ceremony in Lagos.

General Manager, Marketing, Technology Distributions, Mrs. Chioma Chimere, disclosed that the number one Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is not relenting on the need to reward customers.

“The first of the series of launchs took place in Abuja on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 and the second on June 24 in Lagos,” she said.

As said by her, the current promo would last six months, that is, till November 30, this year when the draw would be held with star prize winners expected to emerge from the classified zones of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Ghana branches.

Mrs. Chimere disclosed that star prize for Lagos and Abuja branches is a Hilux van each, while the Port Harcourt winner will go home with a Kia Picanto car. A Tata Indica car will be won from the Ghana branch.

The intension of the promo, she said, was to spur the resellers to bolder and more yielding marketing activities.

She also noted that there are limitless opportunities in the ICT market today and TD wants her resellers to overcome the challenges of attaining new turnover targets.

“Therefore, for customers to qualify for the star prize, they must meet a minimum turnover of N250m in Lagos, N100m in Abuja, N50m in Port Harcourt and $250,000 for Ghana,” Mrs. Chimere said.

She added that business partners who purchase products during the promo period equally stand a chance to win amongst others, the following gift items: HP keyboard, APC password manager, laptop stands, surge arrests, carry cases, Microsoft encarta, Kessington locks, Toshiba mouse, Toshiba flash drives, back packs, scanjet adapter, extra battery for photosmart printer, and Epson C91 printer.

She reiterated TD’s commitment to the growth of ICT market in the country, stressing that TD would continue to open new ways of rewarding and enriching the trade.

Chimere equally recalled that in the recent past TD has given generously to resellers through the power promo that gave out generators, the IPG and ISS win a car promo in which two cars were won, and the Contributing to Excellence Promo that was designed to help the teaching and learning of mathematics in Primary Schools.

Mrs. Chimere pointed out that the Basket of Opportunities promo is also meant to highlight the fact that TD is a one-stop shop for the total ICT needs of individuals and corporate organizations.

TD is a hub for the big Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) like HP, Acer, Toshiba, Cisco, APC, Epson, and Microasoft and original products direct from these OEM’s include servers, desktops, laptops, printers, consumables, power backups, palm tops, switches, routers and software.

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Ekuwem, Nwaogu commend Progenics on Symbols M

President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, and the Senate committee chairman on Banking, Insurance and other financial institutions, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, have commended the management of the nation’s leading banking software house, Progenics Corps Limited, for introducing its Symbols’ M solutions for microfinance entities in the country.

Speaking at the launch of the solution in Lagos on the “Role of Technology in the development and sustenance of the microfinance banking industry” Ekuwem said, that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) enables a click to knowledge for those who care to belong to the 21st century.

He applauded Progenics for focusing its products on SMEs, describing them as a veritable part of the economy, insisting that the Symbols’ M from the company is not inferior to its counterparts developed in so-called advanced countries or even Asia.

“A product is not less powerful because it is developed in Nigeria and it does not mean its 100 per cent better than a product manufactured in United States,” he said.

According to him, part of the problem in the Niger Delta, is the refusal to encourage local content development, thereby engaging the youths more meaningfully.
Vision-20 2020, he said, would not be realized if local content such as Symbols’ M that was locally developed is not patronized by all relevant institutions.

“Without encouraging made in Nigeria products, the possibility of realizing vision 202020 would be very slim,” he asserted.

Although he acknowledged that local content may not be upto the standard needed for a given purpose, Nigerians should play around with local content products and report back to the developers so as to help them improve upon the product and make it better.

Maintaining that in the global economy, “its no longer who you know but what you know,” and tasked Nigerian Microfinance industry to buy into the idea of those who developed Symbols’ M for their good and that of the nation’s economy.

Welcoming participants to the occasion, Managing Director, Progenics Corp Limited, Mr. Tony Udoh said that the essence of the launch is to show how technology could contribute to poverty alleviation programme embarked upon by various levels of government in the country.

“We believe access to financial services by the poor is one of the major poverty alleviation tools,’ he said.

Udoh believes that without leveraging on ICT, licensed microfinance banks will soon be afflicted with similar challenges that overwhelmed the community banks.
He explained that Symbols Microfinance (Symbols M) is a comprehensive and integrated microfinance application.

“The system is aligned to all facets of banking operations to produce unparalleled customer service without the attendant operational bottlenecks,” he said, adding that it comprises several modular applications.

Equally, the Senate committee chairman on Banking, Insurance and other financial institutions, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, gave kudos to Progenics for the innovative application, saying that her presence at the occasion marked part of the support from the government, especially the legislature.
She later unveiled the Symbols’ M.

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FG inaugurates 6-man committee on S & T

Federal Government, at the weekend, inaugurated a six-man committee forthe National Science and Technology, Research and Development (NSTRD) at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

ITRealms Online sources said that the presidential committee has to fashion a dimension for the 21st century foundation for science and technology in Nigeria.
The committee, ITRealms Online also gathered is presided over by the chairman of the Board of National Merit Award, Professor Oluwafeyisola Adegoke.

Other members of the committee are Professor (Senator) Iya Abubakar, Prof. Abiodun Francis Oluwole, Dr. Umar B. Bindir, Dr. O.P. Obande and Engr. R.D. Abubakar.

A deputy director in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Malam Muhammed Bukar, would serve as committee’s secretary.

The formation and inauguration, our source further disclosed was at the instance of President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Just as the terms of reference of the committee comprises to advice government on how to fashion out and establish a National Science and Technology, Research and Development foundation, its sources of funds, legal status, and basic structures as well as functions.

ITRealms Online recalls that during the President Ibrahim Babangida era, a similar committee was set up with renowned activist Ishola Williams as the executive secretary.

Meanwhile, the federal government through the Ministry of Science and Technology currently has several plans for guided Research and Development (R&D) in all areas of Science and Technology according to the Minister, Mrs. Grace Ekpiwhire.

In addition to keeping abreast with latest progress in R & D in Science and Technology among industrial and educational communities within the country, the sub-region and overseas; ensuring that the various R & D efforts of public Science and Technology establishments fit in with the overall development plan of the nation.

As well as the linkage of researchers and their establishments with entrepreneurs for commercialization of successful research results, even as the ministry has the capacity to utilize the facilities of Technology Incubation (TI) and Science and Technology Parks (STP) to nurture new projects especially in areas of national priority.

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Lagos to host Digitest 2008

Lagos, the centre of excellence, would in next month play host to over 800 youths as Digital Peers International (DPI) organizes its 2008 Digitest in the former nation’s capital.

National Director of a non-governmental organization championing the development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capabilities in women and children, the Digital Peers International (DPI), Mrs. Ibukun Odusote made this disclosure at a media conference in Lagos.

Mrs. Odusote represented at the occasion by Head, Programme and Operations, Mr. Rotimi Olawale, who led the team of DPI officers including Messrs Biola Adebajo and Kunle Oloyede, Heads of Designs and Facilitations respectively, said that an estimated 800 youths are expected to be part of the Digitest this year being hosted in Lagos.

She also said that due to several partners have queued behind the project through various support thereby reducing the cost of participation per child to N15,000.

This, she said, would in addition afford such participating students to become members of Digitest Information Technology (IT) Club in schools and registered DigiPals.

Digitest, she said, has membership across all the 36 states of the federation.
While commended the efforts of its partners, DPI said that the likes of NTA, Zenith Bank Plc, the Education Trust Fund, Radio Nigeria, Ministry of Information and Communication, Computer Professional Council of Nigeria, Nigeria Computer Computer Society among others.

Equally, she said, that Nigerians should expect exciting version of Digitest Nigeria scheduled to hold in Lagos, from August 19 to 31, 2008, “where 800 participants are expected in camp to learn and compete around the theme, “e-business: no barriers, no boundaries.”

In addition, DPI would once again take its Digitest Abroad project to Singapore and Dubai between August 1 through 15, 2008.

“More than 30 children have registered for this year’s edition which promises to be as exciting, educational and fun filled as its previous editions. The participants will train at the Informatics Institute in Singapore and afterwards develop IT solutions around the theme; e-business: no barriers, no boundaries,” she told newsmen.

On the Nigeria’s vision 2020, Mrs. Odusote noted that being among the 20th largest economy by year 2020 cannot be energized if young people are not equipped with the necessary ICT skills needed to build a vibrant economy.

“No development and no growth takes place any longer without ICT as computer has taken over the determinants of national development,” she declared.

Pointing out that Digitest, which is IT-based, is a modest contribution to the computer age in terms of creating awareness and educating young people on vital computer and ICT skills.

“What would happen in this country if any of our children between the ages of 8 and 18 now are not computer proficient in the next 7-10 years, it will be disastrous for this great country,” she asserted.

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ExpertEdge partners Actimize on e-fraud control

Subsidiary of the Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), the ExpertEdge Software, is partnering with Actimize Ltd to bring to the Nigerian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) market, a suite of solutions.

Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communication, Ms Morenike Popoola, said the partnership would also assist banks, government agencies and other financial institutions with advance techniques of fraud detection, prevention and compliance with regulations.

She also quoted the European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Sales Manager at Actimize Ltd, Mr. Tal Noam, as saying that during the just concluded e-Payment seminar organized by CWG in Lagos, that the Actimize e-Payment Fraud Detection and Prevention Package is based on proprietary algorithms designed to analyze data such as Internet session data, phone call/fax data, Automated Teller Machine (ATM), transaction records, employee log-ins, banking transfer operations and account information to uncover fraud at both the payer and beneficiary levels.

He also gave insight into other solutions from the Actimize suite, including Actimize Insider Fraud Solutions, Actimize ATM Fraud solution, Deposit Fraud Detection solution usually used in checkmating cheque fraud to name a few.

Mr. Noam listed some of the benefits and values that Actimize offers to the Nigerian markets to include guaranteed quick return on investment to all intended users of Actimize suite of products.

He also explained how Actimize Fraud solution package could be used to execute proven fraud implementation methodology, developed by industry leaders and fine-tuned by Actimize clients and partners.

He further said Actimize Fraud Detection solutions, for instance, is comprised of data mapping, complex alert generation, transaction blocking and comprehensive alert investigation capabilities; link analysis investigation, cases support and so on.

Mr. Noam emphasized that Actimize proven track record consist being the 6 of the top 10 global banks, 6 of top 10 United States (US) banks, and 8 of top 10 US brokerages, processing hundreds of millions of transactions a day uses the Actimize Fraud Management Suite of Solutions.

Equally commenting, the Product Manager for Actimize and Fraud Management Solutions at ExpertEdge Software, Mr Kola Awonugba, noted that the human resources needed to implement and support Actimize solution in Nigeria and the West Coast will be trained to meet the challenges and add value to various sectors of the economy and mostly the financial sector.

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Grey market is our major challenge – Umo

Managing Director, Hewlett Packard (HP) West Africa, Mr. Ime Umo, has described the influx of grey market as the firm’s major challenge in the regional market and precisely Nigeria.

Umo made this disclosure at an interactive session with the media since assuming office few months back in Lagos.

“Grey market is really impacting on HP market share in the country,” he declared.
He also said that though HP is not afraid of competition among the local computer companies, but was emphatic that the major challenge facing his firm in the region is how to curtail the influx of the grey market.

Usually, grey market is known to be those who buy in good marketable quantity a certain brand of goods without requisite records and impact to the local market where it would finally be disposed off on out of the box prices, most at times without guarantee.

He cited an instance with the Otigba market in Ikeja-Lagos, saying that most of those trading at the market are just interested in low priced personal computers (PCs), most of which he alleged are counterfeits.

“Grey market is a major challenge for us and we’re not encouraging anybody to do grey and I am sorry for anybody who bought from grey market, because, HP cannot help you at our service centres, except if the person is ready to pay for such services,” he lamented.

He also advised Nigerians to always consider the total cost of ownership while making Information Technology (IT) purchases especially on computers.

He insisted that they cannot run away from competition but tends to leverage on the existence of its partners to ensure dominion of the market.

Umo further said that HP Nigeria is responsible for the West African market and evolves within some departments including the Financial Services Industry (FSI), Communications and Entertainment, Personal System Group (PSG), Image and Printing Group (IPG), and Technology Service Group (TSG).

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Celtel extends free prepaid roaming to UK, 4 others

Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operator, Celtel Nigeria, has taken its prepaid subscribers to another level by availing them free opportunity to roam to the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirate (UAE), Belgium and Sri Lanka via the network.

Chief Marketing Officer, Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Norman Moyo said in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online that with the introduction, prepaid subscribers would not be required to change their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) whenever they travel to these locations.

“With the introduction of Pre-paid roaming, our customers do not need to change their SIM card or purchase another line when they travel to major locations of the world. Our customer can now make and receive calls as well as send SMS even when they are several kilometers away from home,” he said.

Explaining that the pre-paid roaming service has been made possible by the signing of recent agreement between Celtel and a number of telecommunication network operators in various countries of the world.

He added that pre-paid customers could use their phones in the Celtel One Network countries, the world’s first borderless mobile network, which covers several countries like Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Niger and Sudan.

According to him, Celtel is excited to be able to provide this options for its teeming subscribers.

“We’re happy to be able to help our customers stay in touch with their families, friends and business associates in several places across the globe,” he declared, adding that prepaid customers need not have to make any deposit with the company before they could use the service.

“Indeed access to the service is hassle free as the customer does not have to pay registration fees, complete registration forms or have their SIM cards specially provisioned before access to in the service can be granted,” Moyo said, promising that the coming months, Celtel Nigeria will be expanding the number of countries where customers could use their Celtel SIM cards when outside the country.

He described the development on the network as unique due to its benefits to the subscribers.

“It allows all pre-paid customers the access to use their local numbers while traveling out of Africa. It also affords customers an opportunity to be connected to the Celtel Network while abroad without a single hassle of registration or special provisioning,” he said.

The new addition to the roaming portfolio of Celtel will complement existing roaming arrangement for post-paid customers who have had access to the company’s roaming service since 2001 as they have more than 290 networks across the world to enjoy.

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NCA hands over license to Glo Ghana

Acclaimed fastest growing telecommunications network, Glo Mobile, last weekend formally received in Accra, the capital of Ghana, its recently won GSM license from industry regulator, the National Communication Authority (NCA).

Speaking at the ceremony at the NCA headquarters in Accra, its Chairman, Mr. Jude Kofi Arthur, expressed optimism that the telecom giant would deliver on innovative products and urged the mobile company to always consider all stakeholders in the industry including the government, fellow operators, the regulator and the general public in all its endeavours.

“On behalf of the government of Ghana and the NCA, I present to Glo, the license to operate mobile cellular service in Ghana. This is the end of the licensing process but the beginning of the relationship with Glo,” Arthur said.

Responding, Glo Mobile’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Mohamed Jameel, expressed the gratitude of Glo Mobile’s board and management to the government and people of Ghana, and the NCA in particular for believing in Glo Mobile’s ability to operate quality cellular mobile service.

“We won’t let the NCA and the government down and we’ll leave no stone unturned in our bid to provide world class and innovative telecommunication service for the people. We thank you for the transparent international bidding process,” Jameel promised.

Reiterating that Glo would not waver in its determination to execute the vision of the board to build Africa’s biggest and best telecommunication network, assuring that Glo “shall be a disciplined operator and we need the support of the NCA. We’ll cooperate with all the other operators. We are challenged by the confidence the NCA and the general public have generously reposed in us based on our continental pedigree and we wish to assure you that we shall, with your collective support and goodwill, meet your expectation and yearning for quality and affordable telecoms products and services.”

Jameel further said that given the antecedent of Glo Mobile in Nigeria and Benin Republic, the network would deploy robust telecommunication infrastructure and services in Ghana with the government and people as the biggest beneficiaries.

“As we berth in Ghana, we are encouraged by the warmth and love extended to us by the government and good people of this peace-loving, dynamic and resourceful country. We are indeed grateful to the government for providing the enabling environment that encouraged us to venture into the country,” he said.

In addition, he said that among the telco’s major initiatives is an ambitious and promising submarine cable project, significantly the biggest by any single investor on the continent.

“The project, which has been named Glo-1, will traverse Africa from Nigeria through Ghana to Europe with a dedicated link to the United States of America (USA). This project will be beneficial to the West African sub continent, including Ghana and it is projected that the impact will be felt by businesses and people all over,” he asserted.

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Iseghohi becomes new NITEL chairman

The management of the Transnational Corporation (TRANSCORP) of Nigeria Plc, has announced the appointment of the Group Managing Director (GMD), Transcorp, Mr. Tom Iseghohi as the new chairman of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL).

Confirming this development, Vice President, Corporate Communications at Transcorp, Mr. Adedayo Ojo, said it is in continuation of the ongoing resuscitation plans for NITEL. Just as the Mr. Iseghohi lead the NITEL management to visit the Saka Tinubu Exchange of NITEL, last week.

Ojo also said that the naming of Iseghohi as the new NITEL chairman was part of the exclusive rights of Transcorp has as the majority stake owner in NITEL.

This, he said, includes the appointment of five directors as well as the chairman.
During his first official outing as NITEL chairman, Mr Iseghohi and his team were conducted round the exchange facilities at the exchange; consisting of the building housing the Private Telephone Operators (PTO) interconnect facility which was partly torched by fire over a forthnight ago.

Satisfied with the level of commitment displayed by the NITEL staff, Iseghohi commended the employees, assuring that the management had taken cognizance of the high level of their desire to see a new NITEL.

NITEL, he noted, may not have found itself in a friendly situation today, but the time is coming when the company would reclaim its leadership position in the nation’s telecommunications sector.

“To some that time is far from the reach, but to me and other members of the Transcorp management very soon the tide would change in favour of the stakeholders,” he assured.

Iseghohi further stated that it is not a bad idea to face challenges because they mould you and make you better, stressing, “But it is worse to waste the experience gained during the trying period like this without coming out better refined.”

He, therefore promised the staff at the exchange that the management would ensure installation of a new PTO room; one that would be equipped with adequate fire walls and security devices.

ITRealms Online recalls that Transcorp recently sacked the former NITEL chairman, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba. However, Iseghohi career, spans structuring and analyzing hundreds of global, regional and domestic investment opportunities and specific portfolio risk management decisions.

Until his appointment as Group Managing Director of Transcorp and now chairman of the NITEL board, Mr. Iseghohi was an Executive Vice President at the Hudson Consulting Group, a New York based Commercial and Governmental firm that focuses on Deal Analysis, Deal Creation, Transaction Facilitation, Strategy, Executive Coaching and Transformational Consulting.

Mr. Iseghohi has also been an executive in three of the most respected and successful companies in the world; Ford Motor Company, $176 billion in annual revenue, Pepsi-Cola Company, $20 billion in annual revenue and American Express Group of Companies with $23 billion in annual revenue.

Mr. Iseghohi obtained his undergraduate degree in Accounting and Computer Science from Bethune-Cookman College in 1985 and his MBA in Finance and International Business from the Ohio State University in 1989. He completed the Executive Marketing Program at Duke University Graduate School in 1999 and The Kellogg (Northwestern) School of Management’s Executive Board Program in 2005 as well as Chartered Accountancy since 1993.

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CPN repackages pro exams, introduces online element

In living up to its mandate, the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), has repackaged its professional examinations to accommodate online educational component.

Registrar and Chief executive, CPN, Mr. Sikiru Shehu, revealed this during a media interaction last weekend in Lagos, and said that the repackaging is to offer Nigerians, especially the youths more options in being part of the 21st century revolution based on Information Technology (IT) literacy.

“CPN has repackaged its professional examinations to make the graduates employment ready,” he said, stressing that Nigeria cannot forego IT at this time of development in the country’s quest to be part of the 20 most successful economies by 2020.

Shehu also said that the repackaging provides the exam with the purpose that it would always have recognition at every stage the candidate may decide to stop.

“From kindergarten to primary it is now compulsory for pupils to be taken on English Language, Maths and Computer Science,” he said, noting that CPN was not ignorant of lack of teachers at this level thereby encourage heads of kindergarten and primary schools to approach CPN for collaboration.

“A big challenge here is non availability of teachers to teach computer studies,” he decried.

Also, he said there is now a window for those who could not gain admission into the universities due to their inability to either pass the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exams or make their papers as well as those who could not scale through the post-JAMB entrance exams by various universities.

“There should be a window offer for Jambites via vocational certificate programmes,” he said, advising those youths finding it difficult to get through JAMB requirements to try their hands in the CPN certificate programmes which have been divided into three stages.

“Such persons can take pre-professional exams and if successful goes on for the affiliate before foundation exams,” Shehu said.

According to Shehu accompanied by the Media & Corporate Communications officer, Mr. Idowu Olusile, in the pre-professional level, there are Computer Literacy Certificate (CLC), Computer User/Proficiency Certificate (CUC) and Computer Affiliate Examination (CAE).

Within the CUC level, he listed about 12 specialization candidates could take interest in consisting Computer Secretarial Practice, Computer Desktop Publishing, Computer Utilization, Computer Operation & Programming, Office Productivity Expert, Website Development Expert, CAD Expert, DeskTop Publishing (DTP) Expert,
Programmers, system audit expert, PC Maintenance expert and network expert.

After the aforementioned, he explained, that candidates could then proceed to professional certificate exams, namely the computer foundation, computer professional I, 2 and 3.

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There’s enough space for Cosmos PCs – Maduka

There is enough space for the newly launched Cosmos personal computers and laptops to make impact in the nation’s market space says the chairman, Coscharis Group of Companies, Dr. Cosmos Maduka.

He was speaking during the launch of the products in Lagos in response to the assumed late entry officially of the Cosmos brands.

According to him, the sky is so vast that all the birds in the air can afford to fly without colliding with one another and “that is our perspective about this market, that we live in a universe of infinite possibilities and there is more than enough good to go round.”

He stressed that in a country of about 140 million people with only estimated 3 million people using PCs, no doubt, presents exciting challenges to an enlightened entrepreneur.

“Our Cosmos brand of PCs being unveiled today is part of the answer to this challenge,” he declared

By introducing a locally-assembled PCs in the Nigerian market in the midst of existing foreign and local brands, he said, was borne out of a strong need to fill a yawning gap in the supply and demand equation of the PC business.

He quoted recent survey after survey conducted by his firm in the past two years which provided adequate justification for the introduction of another Made-In-Nigeria PC in the market.

Just as the introduction was encouraged by the feedback received from Coscharis partners who believe that a PC brand made and supported by Coscharis will be a success.

“Besides these surveys, a recent World Bank report reveals that IT or PC penetration in Nigeria is not more than 2 per cent. That alone reveals a whopping gap begging to be filled,” he said.

Cosmos, he added, would represent intelligent IT solutions to specific human needs in the society, hence in Cosmos, they firmly believe in the theme: “Consider IT Solved” especially with the partnerships of Microsoft and Intel.

“We see Cosmos enabling zero-downtime service in banks, oil firms and large manufacturing firms,” he said.

Chief executive, Coscharis Technologies Limited, Mr. Emecheta Ofondu, said that Cosmos brand of computers stand on the premise of Coscharis values including service integrity, innovation, empathy enthusiasm and professionalism.

He also said that with strategic offices in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, Cosmos Pcs come in various style and shapes including Cosmos Mars and Libra which with Windows XP Home alongside the Intel dual core 2.2 Gega Hertz 800FSB, Cosmos speakers as well as pro-3 years warranty.

He explained that the first year is full warranty while the second and third year respectively is labour only with free 1 Gega byte flash drive.

Additionally, he said that there are Cosmos Monitor’s 15” CRT, TFT and 17” TFT as well as Cosmos 37” Liquid Crystal Display Tv.

On the laptops, he said that there are Cosmos Venus and Ariel which come with Intel Core 2 Duo 1.3 camera, Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) B+G in addition to Windows XP home or professional, carrying case, Bluetooth and 4-cell and 6-cell battery respectively.

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eTranzact, bank and future of e-payment in Africa (2)

On the other hand, governments’ need for cost reduction and GDP growth as well as the desire to be more transparent are expected to lead to more joint ventures between card technology industry players and public sector organizations.

It is understandable that governments of some countries are afraid that the introduction of e-cash (through smart cards) could portend a risk of money laundering since the transfer of payment value is now in the form of digital information.

The fear notwithstanding, it is imperative that governments get involved from the outset and act as catalyst by introducing efficient market-driven mechanisms to promote accelerated diffusion of e-cash (and by implication e-commerce) into the national economy.

Examples abound of countries which have adopted the initiative for the good of their people. In Australia and the Czech/Slovak Republic, the government has taken the initiatives in experimenting with the use of smart cards in the medical system, educational application, transportation cards and so on.

In Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore, the government has taken many initiatives to support the development of e-cash schemes to open up new challenges, which are believed to increase consumer response to the e-cash as a revolutionary means of payment transmission.

In Russia, Visa, one of the global card technology companies, partnered with the Moscow City Government to develop a multi-application card, which provides a variety of services such as pension payments, access to medical insurance and government subsidies, and public transit. Other governments in various countries of the world are gradually buying into the e-cash culture and are weaning out cash-based forms of transactions in favour of e-payments. Africa ought not to be left behind.

To achieve a cashless society is a task that must be done, and eTranzact, a multi-channel payment mechanism, conceptualized and driven by a Nigerian, Valentine Obi, is already providing the leadership role that should usher the continent into that era of cashlessness. The journey has just begun with a number of initiatives and more are still expected to be done to achieve the desired result.

At a recent Banking Technology Conference held in Lagos tagged “Competing in a borderless world”, the chief executive officer of eTranzact, Valentine Obi, in a paper titled “Creating a financial ecosystem across African borders”, traced the genesis of business models for payment in African countries by dividing the transaction phases into three, which basically reflected the past, the present and the future.

Obi traced the era of traditional business model for payment, which he describes as predominantly cash dependent with very little alternatives to effective ways of trading amongst individuals, organizations and countries. He observes that this model was responsible for the slow growth of trading relations amongst Africans within and outside the various parts of the continent, as Africa lacked what it takes to embrace the then emerging technologies in the payment industry. The traditional payment model was the “Brick and Mortar” system, which was the same as expansion of bank branch networks necessitated by compulsory appearance of customers in the banks to consummate transactions. This system was riddled with a number of challenges, chief among which were insecurity, inconvenience, high cost of transaction, inability to access real-time information, cumbersomeness and high business risks.

The search for a more robust system of business transaction led to the present where innovation rules, leading to tremendous transformation occasioned largely by technological advancements, a more sophisticated customer base and high rate of global economic growth. The effort to reposition Nigeria, and by implication Africa, has been a conscientious one, and eTranzact has been at the forefront of the e-payment revolution bridging the gaps among countries in the continent and beyond.

eTranzact identified the growing need by consumers to have a single applications platform that provides access to multiple accounts – ATM/cash cards, electronic transfer of funds (ETF), point-of-sale (POS) as well as debit/credit cards.

eTranzact’s applications are home-grown, and are being exported to neighbouring West African countries and into other regions. eTranzact’s innovative applications have been successfully deployed in Zimbabwe, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and the number is growing. eTranzact’s applications have also been deployed in Europe and the United States of America. For its leadership role and innovative products and services, eTranzact won the Computerworld Honors Award USA in 2003, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Award for the Most Innovative Product of the Year 2007.

eTranzact understands that the business strategies to launch the new payment innovation have to be aligned with IT strategy, which requires collaboration among competing organizations so as to achieve a level of diffusion capable of generating a revolution.

In doing this, Obi believes that players would be able to focus on shared benefits rather than proprietary benefits. As the pioneer of e-payment technology in the country, eTranzact has constantly reiterated the need for collaboration in the industry because the market size of e-payment is too large for any innovator to capture by going it alone, Obi stated that with the CBN’s declaration that there is 80 percent cash outside the banking sector, and that less than 24 million out of a population of 140 million Nigerians are banked, there is a new challenge for the players in the e-payment sub-sector to reach the unbanked urgently.

Providing further explanation regarding the CBN’s declaration, Obi said factors responsible for the status quo are diverse. One, cash transactions are risky and the hitherto payment systems do not provide adequate security and comfort for users. Two, international payment systems are expensive and out of reach of most African people. Moreover, international payment systems are elitist and discriminatory, designed to suit the West.” To address the issue, Obi said eTranzact has been able to respond by providing a home-grown technology to suit the specific needs of the African people. eTranzact, by that token, has helped to remove inconveniences associated with the brick and mortar system with its provision of credible alternative integrated channels of payment using modern technology like the Internet and the mobile phone. As a result, customer can transact business in a risk-free mode not carrying cash, conveniently and over huge distances and boundaries. eTranzact has a total of 21 banks on its platform while intensifying efforts to connect the remaining four banks as soon as possible.

eTranzact’s services, according to Obi, are bridging gaps across different interfaces and the impact has been tremendous. “eTranzact offers services for the banked and unbanked; for payoutlets; for corporate organizations (CorporatePAY) which make large volumes of transactions; for merchants (eREMIT) who need to make local and international remittances. These services are cost-effective, convenient, secure and they offer credible alternatives to the traditional model.”

A number of significant domestic applications have aided basic transactions within countries. These applications include: bill payment where payments could be made from cell phone to cell phone (P2P), from cell phone to business/merchant (P2B) especially for the payment of utility bills, school fees, taxes, parking, cable TV, to name a few, and from business to cell phone (B2P) whereby salaries, grants and allowances are paid to both banked and un-banked workers.

Another application on the eTranzact platform is automated teller machine/point of sale (ATM/POS) transactions, which enables the use of a single card in many countries. With the secure mobile banking, it is possible to check account balance, get mini statement, make funds transfer to any bank account, mobile phone or card.

There is equally mobile top-up, which enables one to recharge one’s mobile phone and top-up family and friends’ phone as well. To this end, customers now enjoy convenience, safety and lower transaction costs when they connect to the eTranzact network. eTranzact, in facilitating choice, trade across borders, convenience and security, is helping to prove that technology is vital at helping to put Africa on the same pedestal with the developed nations.

•Awelewa is a staff of XLR8, a communications consulting group based in Lagos.

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InterSwitch drags e-payment stakeholders to Calabar

Leading electronic payment transactions company, InterSwitch Nigeria Limited, has concluded plans to literally drag global e-payment experts and Nigerian financial institutions to Calabar, the Africa’s premier business resort for the maiden edition of its annual Techno-Interactive BootCamp.

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, InterSwitch, Mr. Mitchell Elegbe, said that the camp with the theme: “Building a World Class Chip+PIN+Loyalty
Programme in an Emerging Market,” is a three-day event.

He said that the event scheduled to kick-off on July 30 through August 1, 2008, would enable Nigerian banks to share experiences and wealth of solutions that InterSwitch and its partners could offer.

Also, he said, it would afford participant to experience first hand promotion of tourism in the country, and showcasing of the rich diversity to both foreign and local partners.

He equally said that participants at the maiden edition of the conference would have the opportunity to visit historic landmarks, scenery among others.

Elegbe further said that it would afford participants the opportunity to spend time with the people behind InterSwitch and have their say; learn what’s new, enjoy industry experts as they present impressive InterSwitch case studies and partner updates.

“They would also view the state-of-the-art InterSwitch exhibition, also featuring value-add services offered by partners and third-party vendors, relax at the many networking events during the conference, learn how other companies have conquered their challenges and made InterSwitch work smarter for them as well as enjoy the hospitality, and rich warm culture of Calabar,” he said.

Elegbe revealed that some of the global e-payment experts confirmed for the event include African Regional Director, Stratus Technologies Inc, Mr. Dick Sharod, who is billed to speak on “Changes Ahoy – Availability meets Virtualization in your Data Centre; Vice President & General Manager for Africa, Postilion Inc, Mr. Deon Van Biljon, who would be speaking on the imperative of “Ensuring 100 per cent Availability in e-Payment Through Postilion Active-Active Implementation”; Vice President EMEA, Identity Access Management, Gemalto, Mr. Jean Marie Giraud on would take the participants through how to “Secure Card-not-Present PC and Internet Based Payments Through Strong Authentication.”

Other international experts who will be speaking at the event include Mr. Nicholas Lefort, Marketing Director, Welcome Realtime France, who has been scheduled to dwell on how to “Leverage Extended Loyalty Solutions as a Platform for Pervasive Reward Schemes”.

Additionally, Elegbe would lead a group of InterSwitch’s experts in different aspects of the e-payment transaction that will present papers at the event.

Elegbe would avail the participants the “ InterSwitch Company Update: Thought Leadership is Necessary but Not Sufficient,” while Mr. Akeem Lawal, InterSwitch’s Chief Technology and Operation Officer (CTOO) would engage participants on the “MasterCard MCHIP4 EMV Programme, a Possible Solution to Nigeria’s CHIP and PIN Requirements.”

Tito Adeniyi-Aderoju, Chief Marketing and Client Engagement Officer of the company would speak on “Perspectives of the Drivers and Market Opportunities for Cards and Rewards in Nigeria.” Tobi Boshoro, Product Cluster Manager, Cards, InterSwitch will address the participants on “Positioning the Verve Card for Effective Market Penetration.”

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