Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Ericsson, MTN terminate biofuel project in Nigeria

Acclaimed world’s leading provider of telecommunications-based technology services to telecom operators and supplier of communications services and managers of networks that serve over 195 million subscribers globally, Ericsson, has terminated its biofuel project with the nation’s leading Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operator, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, ITRealms Online can authoritatively reveal.

Biofuel result is out of produce from feedstocks that have been grown on idle and marginal land that has not been deforested for the purpose of biofuel crop plantation, resulting in lower carbon emissions than diesel when calculated on a whole of life basis and taking into account the effect of land use changes as well as produced in a manner that contributes to the social and economic development of local, rural and indigenous people and communities.

This revelation came at the time the world’s mobile operators group, the Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) has identified fully with biofuel based on the likely escalation of the cost of generating power for the GSM operators, as well as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector generally.

Industry watchers also have advocated for alternative source of energy supply, with a greater number favourably endorsing the biofuel method, saying it’s cost effective and at the same time boosting the agricultural produce.

The bioful project was initially instituted between the trio of MTN, Ericsson and GSMA deploying the GSMA’s Development Fund, which was set up in October 2005, to provide consulting support to innovative pilot projects that use mobile technology to boost social, economic and environmental welfare in developing countries.

Confirming the latest development, Manager, Marketing and Communications, Ericsson West Africa, Mr. Olabode Sowunmi Jnr, said it has since been put an end to.

“… The project has been discontinued,” Sowunmi told ITRealms Online recently and refused to give further details on the suspension of the project.

External Affairs Manager at MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, Mr. Andrew Okeleke said he needed time to confirm whether or not MTN has pulled out of the project finally and what ignited the current state of discontinuation.

But as at press time, Monday night, he is yet to make any further input based on the query, while other senior officials of MTN Nigeria kept mute over the issue as they did not respond to even Short Messaging Service (SMS) sent to them in this regard.

ITRealms Online notes that MTN Group was part of the GSMA renewable energy interest operators hosted in Kenya by Safricom last month.

Meanwhile, MTN recently identified Nigerian market as source of its revenue growth in the interim results for six months, which ended June 30, 2008, just as the group’s market share increased by 29 per cent amounting to R19.6 billion (about N276.8 billion).

The result endorsed on August 28, this year by MTN chairman, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa and the Group President and Chief executive officer, Mr. Phuthuma Nhelko, which was made available on the telco’s website, expressed optimism in the global telephony market as it plans to seek expansion opportunities in emerging markets and optimize efficiencies as well as improved competitive position.

The group also said its West and Central African (WECA) operations are being led by Nigeria with increased Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) of 37 per cent. This accounted for the 57 per cent growth on the network.

“This was mainly driven by EBITDA from Nigeria,” the result stated, pointing out that the South and East Africa (SEA) region contributed 30 per cent and down by four per cent, while the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) recorded 11 per cent, that is, up by three per cent within the period under review when compared with the same period last year.

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