" ITREALMS: July 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

N181m fraud:EFCC denies quizzing Visafone officers

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has denied quizzing officials of Visafone Communications Limited, over the alleged N181 million fraud in the company, saying it does not have knowledge of the case.

This is coming as confusion has pervaded the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry on the state of things in Visafone as the operator weekend, named new chief executive officer and chief financial officer, without the usual razzmatazz that the telco has been known for in over two years of its operation.

ITRealms Online recalls that recent media reports, had alleged that Visafone was entangled in N181m fraud, which invariably led to the ‘Exodus’ of some of the telco’s management team.

The report also added that a staff of Visafone, who is currently at large perfected the fraud, which has since been uncovered. The key suspect is allegedly one Fola, who has since been declared wanted by the security operatives and had even led to resignation of some top employees of the telco.

Company source was quoted by the report as saying that the alleged N181m fraud in Visafone was discovered at the first quarter of this year and has since culminated in redeployment by way of demotion, while a new chief financial officer has been employed.

According to the sources, EFCC has since stepped in and quizzed top officials of the telecom company including the out-going Managing Director, Mr. Ninan Thomas and Director of Finance.

But reacting to the allegations, Assistant General Manager, Marketing Strategies at Visafone, Mr. Clifford Onyeike told ITRealms Online that the report was not true.

“It’s not true at all. Thanks for trying to find out the truth,” Onyeike said in a
Short Messaging Service (SMS) to ITRealms Online.

Also responding to our inquiries on the alleged N181 million scam, the Head, Public Affairs at EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi, told ITRealms Online that his office was not aware of the development.

“I’m not aware of the case in question,” he said.

But industry observers maintained that something must have gone amiss for Visafone to announce the appointment of a new CEO and CFO without the usual razzmatazz of which the company is reputed for alongside Zenith Bank Plc owned by business magnate, Mr. Jim Ovia.

However, Visafone claimed that the contract signed by the out-going CEO Mr. Thomas would end officially on August 15 and he was not interested in renewing the deal, rather, Mr. Ramachandran Balachandran, from Thomas’ corporate lineage was named to succeed him.

Industry observers also contended that for Mr. Thomas to abandon his contract renewal is fishy in addition to the latest two appointments at senior management levels of Visafone.

Meanwhile, Visafone announced weekend the appointment of two new key officers, namely the chief executive officer, Mr. Balachandran and the chief financial officer (CFO), Mr. Ross Clewley.

This appointment, Visafone official said, was necessitated by the expiration of contract of the outgoing chief executive officer, Mr. Ninan Thomas, due to elapse on August 15, before when he is billed to handover officially.

Messrs Balachandran and Clewley have since arrived in the country and were treated to a reception last weekend in Lagos.

Visafone also said the repositioning was in effort to meet the challenges of a vibrant and constantly evolving telecoms industry, while Mr. Thomas would return to his Chicago USA base to continue his career.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Challenges before Beckstrom @ ICANN

Sustaining the tempo of the current Internet governance through multi-stakeholder involvement, especially in developing world tops challenges before the newly appointed chief executive officer, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Mr. Rod Beckstrom, reports REMMY NWEKE.

The search for a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAAN) ended on Friday, June 26, following the outcome of the board meeting held in Sydney, Australia same day as part of the ICANN international public meetings, which saw Mr. Rod Beckstrom endorsed as the new CEO.

Beckstrom would soon take over from the incumbent, Dr. Paul Twomey, before the end of this year. The position became vacant at the ICANN meeting in Mexico City in March this year, when the current President, Dr. Twomey, announced that he would not seek renewal of his contract, which ends this year.

Ever since then, the board has been engaged in the process of recruiting a new CEO for the global internet coordinating body, which began with the hiring of Egon Zehnder International to conduct a world-wide search for the next CEO.

ITRealms Online notes that Egon Zehnder received over 100 applications in response to the ICANN notice, reviewed approximately 1000 possible candidates on their databases, and from these lists approached over 300 potential candidates. There was significant diversity of gender, nationality and country of residence amongst the candidates.

Thus giving birth to the approval by the board, for a Board Search Committee (BSC) consisting chairman, Board Governance Committee, Mr. Dennis Jennings, his counterpart in the Board of Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA), Mr. Harald Alvestrand, chairman, Board Finance Committee, Mr. Rajasekhar Ramaraj, chairperson of Board Audit Committee, Ms Rita Rodin Johnston and chairman, Board Compensation Committee and who also presides over ICANN’s Board of Trustees, Mr. Peter Dengate-Thrush.

The BSC reviewed the resumes of candidates recommended by Egon Zehnder and conducted interviews of a short list of eight (8) candidates via video conference, based on five broad areas, namely leadership, political, technical board and management skills respectively.

It was gathered that on the leadership, the committee looked at the demonstrated leadership skills, strategic thinking capability, demonstrated capacity to build trust and on political aspect, they examined diplomacy skills at an international level with heads of state among international expertise and experience - sensitivity to multiple cultures, work experience in several countries, Internet community credibility - sense of history of Internet – and an ability to listen to and appreciate different points of view, as well as working with the diverse stakeholder groups within ICANN, that is the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), The Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO), Address Supporting Organisation (ASO), At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to name a few.

Equally, the search committee examined the technical understanding of candidates based on their abilities to listen and interact with the Internet technical community, presentation skills, making it possible to give interviews, speeches and so on as well as on highly complex topics such as International Domain Names (IDN) like the Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), policy development skills - ability to motivate and support ICANN volunteer organisations and build consensus around a plan despite obstacles, whereas applicants’ skills were engaged on dealing with a large and diverse board.

Additional areas were management skills, which encompassed their ability to manage staff, planning and budgeting, team building, and experience of managing a global not-for-profit, for-profit, or governmental organisation of approximately the present size of ICANN.

Particularly, the search board was contented to hear from Egon Zehnder that several candidates from within the ICANN community had applied for the role, and that these candidates had great strengths in several of the criteria considered above thereof.

Therefore, it was not absolutely surprising for the greater number of ICANN community when the global entrepreneur, analyst and author, Mr. Beckstrom, was declared as potential replacement for Twomey, when his tenure expires later in the year. Thereby attracting applauds from the Internet community worldwide.

Proclaiming the decision of the board in Sydney, at the conclusion of ICANN’s 35th international, the BOT chairman for the internet coordinating bureau, Mr. Thrush, said the appointment was apt. “Rod Beckstrom has exactly the sort of strong personal and technical background that ICANN needs, as we enter a period of unprecedented growth and change for the Internet. In addition to his cyber security expertise, he has been a successful CEO of a global enterprise, done NGO work and volunteer work and a bestselling author. It’s an extreme understatement to say we are enthused.”

Beckstrom was the immediate past Director, United States’ National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC), where he formed an effective working group of leaders from the nation’s top six cybersecurity centers spanning the civilian, military and intelligence communities. He has been an active participant in the non-profit arena, as board members of the Environmental Defense Fund and the Jamii Bora Trust, a micro-lending group based in Nairobi, Kenya with more than 210,000 members. Whereas his recent out of the four books in the market, The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, details how diverse and untraditional organizations, can become virtually self-perpetuating, regardless of the status of their respective leadership.

Reacting to his appointment, Beckstrom asserted: “The importance of the Internet as a free flowing source of information is being underscored right now by the events in Iran. It shows the power of human expression through a free and open Net.”

Expressing optimism that the Internet has changed the way the world communicates and conducts commerce, and in no small way, this multi-stakeholder, bottom-up organization has been and will continue to be at the core of the Internet’s on-going evolution. “Quite simply, the proof that ICANN works, is that the Internet works.”

Responding to the latest appointment, Google chairman and chief executive officer, Mr. Eric Schmidt, noted that Mr. Beckstrom has extensive technical and commercial expertise, describing it as world class; “And I can think of no one better positioned to lead ICANN’s critical mission as the Internet’s role in society continues to increase in scope and importance.”

In his views, the man considered the ‘Father’ of the Internet, Mr. Vint Cerf, said, Rod Beckstrom is strikingly well-prepared to undertake a new role as CEO of ICANN, as his experience in industry and government equipped him for this global and very challenging job. While the Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the U.S. House of
Representatives Homeland Security Committee, saw the appointment as equally pleasing. “As ICANN elected Rod Beckstrom to serve as its next CEO, I look forward to working with him in the years to come. He is an intelligent and thoughtful individual who will provide the right kind of leadership for the organization.”

In her response, the Director, nnenna.org, an Information and Communications Technology and Events for Development consultancy firm, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, told ITRealms Online that the choice of someone with Beckstrom’s background is the result of a long, large, deep and hard work done by the ICANN board.

“On listening to Beckstrom’s press conference, I must say that his recalling the fundamental of ICANN as a multi-stakeholder organisation is important to his success,” she said. Stressing that it is important to wait and see if Beckstrom could manage that fragile balance “between people and principles, pressure and consensus, security and privacy, openness and caucusing, diversity and upward mobility.”

For the Executive Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Mr. Marc Rotenberg, the appointment of Rod Beckstrom is an outstanding choice to head ICANN.

“He understands people, institutions, and technology. He can bring constituencies together and has inspired important collaborations around the world. He recognizes both the potential and the challenges for ICANN and has stood up for the civil liberties of Internet users with courage and foresight.”

Also commenting, the United States’ Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) said “I’d liked to extend my congratulations to Mr. Beckstrom for his appointment as President and CEO of ICANN. His background as an Internet entrepreneur and in cyber security will be an asset for ICANN as it continues to promote competition and enhance the stability and security of the global Internet. I look forward to working with him, as we continue our efforts to make ICANN a more stable, accountable, transparent, and most importantly, fully independent global organization.”

What is now being waited for is the smooth transition from Twomey to Beckstrom, yet, what would be the role of Africans under the new dispensation is still very vague; but developing countries of the world like in Africa are waiting for Beckstrom agenda, which is expected to be rolled out at resumption in the last quarter of this year.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

ZOOMmobile offers free Internet modem

ZOOMmobile Nigeria, one of the leading telecommunications solutions providers in the country is offering customers free internet modems, just as the telco slashed the price of some of its products by 75 per cent.

Some of the products ZOOMmobile is offering at reduced prices include its premium products BlackBerry 8830, BlackBerry 8310 Pearl, BlackBerry 8330 Curve, Treo 755P, Palm Centro, Motorola Q and Samsung IP-830W.

Chief Commercial Officer, ZOOMmobile, Mr. Fabian Uzor disclosed this at the weekend in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online by the Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Mr. Usman Amodu-Shuaibu.

He said that the promotion of these products was based on the company’s quest to excite and equip prospective subscribers with innovative products and services that would improve customers’ general business operations as well as individual data and voice access efficiency.

The star attraction in the bundle offer, Mr. Uzor said, is the free Internet modem and price slashes on all products by over 70 per cent.

“From our BlackBerry 8830, BlackBerry 8310 Pearl, BlackBerry 8330 Curve, Treo 755P, Palm Centro, Motorola Q and Samsung IP-830W premium handsets to other highly dependable products, we are set to reduce price,” he declared.

Uzor pointed out that these phones are guaranteed to excite the user as they have unique features and versatility of functions that enable full browsing, as well as coming with data cable to synchronise with Laptops/Desktop computers, mega pixel camera/video recorder, among others.

ITRealms Online recalls that ZOOMmobile was adjudged the ‘Telecom Brand of the Year 2009’ at the National ICT Merit Awards held recently in Lagos.

ZOOMmobile prides itself as one of the foremost telecommunications companies in the country, offering fixed wireless, mobile telephony as well as high speed internet and data services.

Founded in 1998, ZOOMmobile is a privately held Nigerian company, with its headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, and coverage pan Nigeria.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Nokia’s N97 phone hits market

Nokia Nigeria has launched its top on the NSeries, N97 taunted as a mobile computer.
Speaking at the event, Product Manager, Mr. Jude Omozegie, said that highly anticipated N97, comes along with a tilting 3.5” touch display screen, QWERTY keyboard and a fully customizable home screen.

Nokia N97, he said, offers integrated access to the newly opened Ovi Store, even as it allows for third party application electronic mails (emails) like Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail to name a few.

In his message to the occasion, General Manager Nokia Nigeria, Mr. Philip De La Vega, said the latest in shelf handset is an important step towards fulfilling the mobile manufacturer’s vision of delivering a highly personalized Internet experience.

“Fuelled by a multitude of media and applications through the Ovi Store, the Nokia N97 transforms the Internet into an experience that’s completely tailored to the tastes and interests of its user,” he said.

Also, Mr. De La Vega said, Nokia N97 is the first device to be shipped with Ovi Store, a one-stop shop for a full catalog of applications, games, videos, podcasts, productivity tools, web and location-based services, and much more.

“Ovi Store has paid and free content from a range of global and local content providers and developers, including Facebook, Hi5, Paramount Pictures and Qik, as well as Twitter applications,” he said.

According to the country manager, the beauty of this Nokia device is that removing it from the box is just the beginning of exciting times to come.

“As with a desktop PC, people can constantly improve and refresh their Nokia N97 with new features, functions and fixes so they can do even more with the device. An exciting roadmap of new features and functions is planned to roll out in the second half of 2009, including software updates for Voice over IP (VoIP) functionality, an integrated Skype application and extended kinetic scrolling,” he outlined.

He explained that Nokia N97 has direct access to the huge catalogue of music in the Nokia Music Store, in addition to multiple high-speed connectivity options and 32GB of storage (up to 48GB using a microSD card), thus, it’s possible to directly download and store tens of thousands of songs on the handset.

With high-quality images and video clips at 30 frames per second (fps), he said, Nokia 97 could be captured using the 5 megapixel camera integrated with Carl Zeiss optics.

“Images can also be geo-tagged to specific locations and shared instantly with friends or uploaded online via Ovi Share, Twitter, Flickr or Facebook,” he said.
Further, he noted that free application downloads; N-gage games, Nokia maps and navigation are some of the services available on the N97, just as it is accompanied with 12 months warranty and is available in leading Nokia retail outlets in Nigeria.

Nokia is a pioneer in mobile telecommunications and the world’s leading maker of mobile devices and over the years, is known for connecting people in new and different ways – fusing advanced mobile technology with personalized services to enable people to stay close to what matters to them as well as providing comprehensive digital map information through NAVTEQ; and equipment, solutions and services for communications networks through Nokia Siemens Networks.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Samsung launches TV, 3 mobile phones

Leader in technology innovation within consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications segment, Samsung Electronics, has introduced three new mobile phones into the nation’s market.

These include the Samsung Jet S8003, Samsung Star S5233 and the Fizz C5212.
This came as the company hosted over 100 dealers to a gala nite in Lagos.

In his address to the two-day event, the Managing Director, Samsungs Electronic, Mr. James You, commended the dealers for making out time to be at the event, more especially to witness the launch of the three of the Samsung’s latest mobile phones in the market.

He noted that the event was an opportunity to showcase product excellence and review the various product categories of Samsung; Apart from increasing the product knowledge of the participants, Samsung also reviewed its marketing activities.

According to him, the event afforded the enhancement of the relationship with the sales representatives as well as foster networking opportunities amongst those present.

"Samsung Electronics has remained a leader in the electronics business all over the world. In Nigeria, we are proud of the strong relationships we have developed with our trade partners and appreciate their support, which has helped us deliver an excellent level of performance to Nigerians. Today’s event is our way of expressing appreciation for their hard work and commitment," he told participants.

In addition, Samsung unveiled its latest in LED TV at the event to further push up its selling brand as a top performance.

The introduction of the LED TV, as said by Mr. You, is to change the way the world looks at television, hence, combining the award winning design with the most advanced technology available today.

"Samsung has taken its long standing passion toward the environment and made it a priority with this newest line of LED TVs," he said.

Samsung LED Tv series, he said, do not require bulky components like cold cathode fluorescent lamps, thus unique in a beautifully –designed frame that comes fully equipped with everything, including a built –in- tuner and power supply.

"And because it uses fewer materials, the TV is extremely slim and light. So light that Samsung has developed an innovatively new wall mounting system that lets one hang the TV as one would do with a picture frame," he said.

Stressing that with the mega contrast technology, Samsung TV’s could achieve contrast levels like never before.

"Since the new LED Tv’s do not require cold cathode fluorescent lamps for backlighting, they are completely mercury free. The beautiful and innovative crystal design bezel does not use harmful spray paint, which reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

"Transform the way you watch television with Samsung’s Medi@2.0. From Internet@TV to a build –in content library to USB 2.0, your TV will quickly become the center of your home entertainment and information needs", You further disclosed.

Further, he said that the convenience of using this brand of Samsung TV to access online content such as Yahoo! Flickr and even You Tube- all with the push of a button is a unique attempt.

"Utilize the convenient USB 2.0 Movie port and share photos as well as HD videos from your vacation with family and friends. And the widget –based interface and scroll bar make browsing for content even easier," he said.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Technology can redress global meltdown – Yusuf

Head, Systems Integration and High Technology, Accenture Nigeria, Mr. Niyi Yusuf, has said that a combination of technology trends would significantly shape the future and assist immensely in redressing the current global challenges.

He made this disclosure in a presentation at the just concluded 9th MacGlobe International Conference and Exhibition held in Abuja by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS).

Mr. Yusuf said that in a bid to aid recovery of the global economy, a number of nations have invested in massive stimulus packages.

This, he said, include significant Information Technology (IT) spending citing for example, the 13 per cent of stimulus in the United States of America (USA), as dedicated incentive for IT.

“Thus, it is logical to conclude that Information technology is a foundation from which much of the globe’s current challenges can be successfully addressed,” he said, stressing that the world is currently undergoing challenging times characterized by multifaceted issues and concerns.

“As encapsulated by the United Nations funded Millennium Project there are 15 global challenges facing humanity vis-à-vis: sustainable development, clean water, population and resources, democratization, long term perspectives, global convergence of IT, rich-poor gap, health issues, capacity to decide, peace and conflict, status of women, transnational organised crime, energy, science & technology and global ethics,” he outlined.

According to him, these global challenges have exacerbated by the current global financial crises which have led to massive erosion of wealth as a result of write downs, bank recapitalization, stock market collapses, job losses, bankruptcies, extreme volatility in oil and other commodities.

He identified the three key information technology trends that have the potentials of helping humanity to combat these challenge to be Internet computing, mobile phone and convergence of 4Cs namely collaboration, communication, community and content.

On Internet computing, he said, that it offers businesses greater flexibility in achieving cheaper computing with added flexibility, while Mobile Phone has fast become the interface for everything and may soon surpass the television (TV) as the dominant mode of entertainment and media consumption.

Equally on the Convergence of 4Cs – Collaboration, Communication, Community and Content, Yusuf noted that this has resulted in the fusion of traditional collaboration tools with media and user contents to produce a healthy mix of possibilities and given rise to phenomena like facebook, youtube, twitter, wikis.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Multi-Links Telkom lifts Osun govt with N6m

Pioneer Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator in the country, Multi-Links Telkom has lifted the Osun State government with the sum of N6 million for the building of class room blocks in two communities.

Receiving the cheque at the state capital, Osogbo, the Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, commended Multi-Links Telkom for supporting his government’s desire to take development to the rural areas of the state.

He promised that the donation would be used to construct blocks of classrooms in two schools in two rural communities of the state as proposed by the telco.

Governor Oyinlola recalled that the stakeholder conference which took place in Ada near Osogbo in April 2009 at which the State intimated participants of its desire to focus attention on development of the rural areas, where majority of the citizens earn their living, but continued to lack social amenities, noting that Multi-Links
Telkom’s response was an outcome of that initiative.

He also said, that his administration was delighted to note that the company has kept to its promise made at the event to support the initiative while urging other stakeholders to emulate Multi-Links Telkom’s high sense of corporate responsibility and citizenship.

The Governor promised that Osun State and Multi-Links would collaborate on the commissioning of the schools on completion.

Speaking earlier during the presentation, team leader at the occasion from the telecom operator and the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Mrs. Ijeoma Abazie, said that Multi-Links Telkom’s support of the Osun State government in this regard is in furtherance of its corporate social responsibility programmes undertaken in line with the company’s pay off line “Touching Lives” especially in host communities where it operates.

According to her, supporting the State by constructing the classroom blocks in the said schools, is in tune with the corporate philosophy of Multi-Links Telkom to touch lives in Nigeria.

Pointing out that the company has actually supported various programmes in other parts of the country which was why the invitation to partner the State to develop the rural areas was welcome as Multi-Links Telkom has extensive network coverage of the State in Osogbo, Ilesha, Ile-Ife, Ikire among others.

The event was witnessed by the Head of Service, Commissioners and several senior civil servants.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Masambu opens CTO’s headquarters

Chairman, Council of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), Mr. Patrick Masambu, has opened a new permanent headquarters of the Commonwealth telecommunications regulatory agency, located on Glenthorne Road in Hammersmith, London.

Manager, International Events & Corporate Communications at CTO, Mr. Samuel Fletcher, disclosed in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online and said that the official ribbon-cutting was performed by Mr. Masambu.

The chairman was accompanied by other members of the Executive Committee of Council who were also attending their annual meeting.

In his opening remark, the chief executive officer, CTO, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, expressed joy over the transition to its own building after having operated in many different rented offices for more than a century.

This office building, he said, will give the institution a sense of stability as well as enable its membership to take a long-term view of the organisation’s importance and endurance.

“In an Information Age when most countries are attempting to develop knowledge economies based on the facilitation of information and communication technologies, the CTO stands ready to support its member countries in a variety of ways.

“I take this opportunity to pay homage to countless individuals, sprinkled all over the globe, and many gone to eternal rest, who have made it possible for the CTO to attain its present position of ICT eminence within the Commonwealth,” he said.

Also, Fletcher noted that CTO is an inter-governmental organization dedicated to promoting affordable access to Information and Communications Technology (ICTs) in its member countries through the provision of research and studies, advisory and consultancy services, training and capacity building programmes, and knowledge-sharing conferences and workshops.

The ceremony was witnessed by guests made up of Commonwealth High Commissioners, heads of other Commonwealth agencies, the Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham, and senior officials of various United Kingdom (UK) government departments to name a few.

Other guests were representatives of other international organizations, executives of financial institutions and law firms, and representatives from the Hammersmith local and municipal council.

Also in attendance were some past staff members of the CTO and pensioners of the organization, and executives of media houses based in London that represent or broadcast to Commonwealth countries.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Huawei commends Etisalat on network rating

Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Nigeria, Mr. Walter Ji Rengui has congratulated Etisalat Nigeria on their rating as the best GSM service provider by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in its recent Quality of Service Audit.

This audit, he said, was conducted to determine the performance of the various mobile operators in the country.

In a communication with the management of Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Ji Rengui said that strategic partnerships such as the existing one between Huawei and Etisalat will go a long way in reinforcing the GSM industry in Nigeria.

“As one of the most important strategic partners of Etisalat, we have seen the strong leadership qualities of Etisalat Nigeria and its desire to take telephony to the next level. This award is a confirmation that we have chosen the right partners to provide the best GSM service in Nigeria”, Ji Rengui said.

ITRealms Online recalls that Etisalat Nigeria was adjudged the best service provider for the month of March 2009 by recording the number 1 position in 4 out of the 5 key Quality of Service performance indicators. This Quality of Service rating, which was released recently in Abuja by the NCC, reported Etisalat as recording the highest call set up rate of 98.09 percent. Call set up rate measures the ease with which calls are established or set up. A higher value implies that over 98% of attempted calls on the Etisalat network were successful.

He noted that the NCC QoS performance report also showed that Etisalat had the lowest congestion issues in all three measures assessed by the NCC, which indicated that customers on the Etisalat network are getting the best service from the network with fewer dropped calls and calls connecting easier.

In his response to the message, the CEO of Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steven Evans lauded Huawei for their support in ensuring the delivery of world class services and implored them to continue in their efforts at helping Etisalat roll out the best network in Nigeria.

“We acknowledge that we would not have been able to be the best but for the support of our partnership with yours and other top class organizations. We urge you to keep up the hard work as we continue to roll out our services in Nigeria,” Evans said.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

CAPDAN may commence new site in 2010

THE secretary general of the Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN) Mr. John Oboro has said that the first phase of the new Computer Village may commence in the next six months.

Disclosing this in a chat with ITRealms Online, Mr. Oboro said that all things being equal the first phase of the development of the new computer village will commence in January 2010.

He told ITRealms Online at the union secretariat in Ikeja, that the site approved by the Lagos State Government is at Agbado-Oke Odo Local Council Development Area, in the former Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos.

“The land approved by the Lagos State government for the relocation of Computer Village is the land at Agbado-Oke Odo Local Council Development Area in the former Alimosho local government area, on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway. I do not know of any other land,” he said.

Also, he said, the development of the new village will be gradual because of the desire to build a befitting complex comparable with the United States’ Silicon Valley or any other in the world and acceptable to all.

“Considering the enormity of the fund involved and the desire to build a complex that people will come to adore and given the fact the state government had earlier rejected the plan submitted because they feel that it is of low standard, we want to put a masterpiece that people will come to adore, we would have started the first phase,” Oboro said.

The CAPDAN scribe further disclosed that the project is solely that of the association and that the government had only allocated land to them while the responsibility of securing financiers of the project is the group’s responsibility.

“We are waiting for reports and as soon as they come we will set up committees into various departments of the project to ensure that everybody is carried along. When the processes are completed we will roll out details of the project to all members and how they will hook up into it so that as it progresses they will be making their contributions gradually because it is going to be a mortgage arrangement,” he explained.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Youths employment: ICT needs N150bn – Ekeh

Chairman, Zinox Group, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh, has urged the federal government to manage corporate crisis and fund innovations if the nation is to come out of the current recession stronger, saying that with N150 billion, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector can employ about 4 million youths in three years.

Speaking to Nigerian consultants and IT professionals in the diaspora while reviewing the economy at the weekend, he said that the economic meltdown has made it mandatory for government to develop sharper reflexes to nip corporate conflicts in the bud.

Mr. Ekeh urged the government of President Musa Yar’Adua to deliberately encourage the consumption of world-class products produced in the country, noting that it has not made a clear statement on the need to patronize Nigerian products.

“It is demand that creates supply in a restive economy like ours,” he said, maintaining that ICT sector will absorb 4 million unemployed youths with just N150b spent over a period of three (3) years.

Ekeh also cautioned on the growing personality ‘wars’ in the corporate Nigeria, where envy and greed are set to destroy indigenous conglomerates, stressing that it has become a standard that a loser in a competitive deal does everything humanly possible to destroy a viable indigenous enterprise but no one complains if such deals are won by foreign companies.

This, he said, has been the trend in the financial sector and is gradually creeping into other sectors of the economy.

The Zinox boss expressed dismay at such unchecked bickering, which he said, have been widely reported in the media, because they could turn foreign investors away.

“We must guard against the gradual self destruction of corporate Nigeria mostly now that the local banks cannot support local entrepreneurs, who are the major employers of workers in a recession, but now have to depend on foreign banks for funding,” he said.

Ekeh reminded the government of the need to have a clear industrial policy by encouraging the setting up of industrial clusters with reasonable provisional infrastructure like power, good roads, and water until such a time the nation perfects her infrastructure development programme.

He argued that the manufacturing sector cannot wait for December when the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) promised to deliver 6,000 megawatts, pointing out that the government should put short term measures in place to encourage job creation.

Government, he equally said, should identify and strategically invest on globally acclaimed fast growing sectors like the movie, IT and Telecom sectors where Nigerians could lead in Africa and globally.

The need, he said, has arisen to re-define privatization within the context of Nigeria’s development needs, emphasizing that the global economic crisis has seen nations and regions jostling for survival by adopting policies and strategies that would diversify and grow their economies.

Today governments, he said, are not satisfied to be spectators; they are active participants in the industrial development of modern economies, stressing that government could invest in the establishment of a factory that produces semiconductors, and chips foundry.

Such an investment, he said, would greatly catalyze the manufacturing of PCs, memory chips, LCD panels and other electronics.

Replying on behalf of his group, Mr. Thomas Lannenna praised IT professionals in Nigeria for being creative and productive under such difficult circumstances, adding that his team is greatly encouraged by the resilience of people like the Zinox chairman.

Mr. Lannenna also said that he would be prepared to work with other professionals to place Nigeria in front of other African states.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Nigeria is big market for MTN – Farroukh

The managing director, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, Mr. Ahmed Farroukh has said that Nigeria is a big market for MTN, hence the company has reaffirmed its commitment to the economic growth of the country.

According to him, this commitment has been evident through continuous lending of its weight to activities aimed at putting the country on the path of economic renaissance.

He made this declaration at the company’s sponsored high profile seminar led by Harvard University scholar and Comparative Strategy expert, Professor Michael Porter.

“We are committed to playing our part in the national effort to reposition the economy. This was why MTN Nigeria decided to support the initiative to bring the world renowned business strategist, Professor Porter to Nigeria to lead discussions on Nigeria’s competitiveness,” he said.

The seminar, with the theme Enhancing Nigeria’s Competitiveness Through Public-Private Collaboration, attracted the governors of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, and Anambra State, Peter Obi, as well as top executives of MTN, captains of industry and top executives of blue chip companies, among numerous others.

MTN Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer, Derek Appiah, in his remarks emphasised Professor Porter’s postulation that for Nigeria to be competitive, productivity needs to be enthroned and the public and private sectors need to collaborate.

“Events like this Michael Porter Seminar enable us to understand each other, speak with one voice and, more importantly, collaborate. MTN Business is a division focused on assisting businesses realize their full potential by enabling them to become more productive through an array of innovative products and services. That is why we spearheaded the sponsorship of this initiative which has allowed critical stakeholders to come together and understand what needs to be done to put the country’s economy on the path of recovery” Appiah said.

In his remarks, chairman, MTN Nigeria, Dr Pascal Dozie, described Competitive Strategy as “a crucial catalyst for our national revival,” stressing that MTN’s business strategy underscores the need to sponsor activities that stimulate economic growth, such as the Michael Porter seminar,  which is likely to be the ‘tipping point’ towards Nigeria’s economic ascendancy.

He called for the creation of an enabling environment to ensure that the key drivers for Nigeria’s competitiveness are in place.

“I speak of the solid foundation created by an enabling operating environment which will attract foreign direct investment and stimulate    local manufacturing and industry.

“These elements include: the presence of the rule of law to enforce the sanctity of contract; improved security of lives and property; consistent government policies and forward planning; provision of a world class infrastructure – electricity, roads, transport; port reform and a comprehensive review of land tenure; stable government and a marked decrease in corruption,” he said.

Also commenting, the Corporate Services Executive, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Wale Goodluck, said the sponsorship of such seminars by MTN would continue.

“We need sessions like this to enable Nigeria to realize the goal of being among the top 20 economies by year 2020. MTN will continue to lend its support to such initiatives,” he said.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Peugeot SA picks APC InfraStruXure for server room

French carmaker, Peugeot South Africa is experiencing the benefits of APC by Schneider Electric’s “data centre on demand” InfraStruXure architecture.
This, the company said has enabled it to enjoy improved cooling in its new server room.

Information Technology (IT) Manager, Alexandre Vellieux, said the company’s recent head office move precipitated its decision to investigate a new solution to improve its cooling setup. “Having relocated our head office, we needed to update the technology within our server room with a cooling component. We had already had some experience with APC products and had listed it as one of the top three companies to approach,” Vellieux said.

Pointing out that besides meeting the cooling requirements, the company has found out that InfraStruXure is also flexible enough to grow with the organisation as Peugeot SA strengthens its position in the local marketplace.

“This was an important consideration for us when looking for the right solution and why we felt that InfraStruXure was the best fit for us,” Vellieux declared.

Explaining that InfraStruXure which uses an open, building-block approach, with standardised, modular components, integrating power, and cooling has environmental management within a rack-optimised design.

Furthermore, the IT manager said, InfraStruXure’s hot-swappable modules assist in lowering mean-time-to-recovery, even as Peugeot’s InfraStruXure implementation has been completed on time.

“We have already seen a major improvement in our previously experienced cooling issues. Peugeot is also very happy with the layout of our server room – InfraStruXure’s management side has enabled us to create a very clean, orderly environment,” he said.

Also speaking, the Managing Director, Southern Africa at APC by Schneider Electric, Mr. Rodney Callaghan, noted that InfraStruXure allows users like Peugeot to install only what is required today, yet easily scales to meet future demands.

“It also increases system availability while decreasing design and install time from months to days. The solution takes a rack-based modular approach which allows it to be easily moved and facilitate quick installation and is designed to accommodate changing power densities,” he said, emphasizing that InfraStruXure architecture is suitable for environments of all sizes, from wiring closets to large data centres.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mizbeach unveils new logo, plans South-East expansion

Major wholesale distributor of mobile phone handsets in the country, MizBeach Nigeria Limited has unveiled a new logo, and plans a nationwide expansion, targeting the south eastern part of the country.

Managing Director, MizBeach, Mr. Patrick Olisemeka, said in an interview with ITRealms Online in Lagos that already, plans are up for the opening of its Port Harcourt branch this week.

This is coming as Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Ibadan branches are open for business.

As a technology driven and customer-centric company, Olisemeka said Mizbeach was conceived to be among the best wholesale and retail resellers of Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) mobile handsets in the country.

The ultra modern flagship retail outlet, he said, has been retooled as part of the repositioning.

Also, he said, “We sell a wide range of mobile handset devices and provide outstanding after sales services to both our retail and wholesale customers,” assuring that the new branches would be adorned with the latest logo of Mizbeach and colours to make the outlets attractive to behold.

Olisemeka noted that at MizBeach, they deal on quality and original mobile phone products from the manufacturers, especially those who have country representatives and are ready to expand their market horizon.

MizBeach, he said, promises any customer that gets in contact with the company to be excited either directly or indirectly including Facebook and YouTube.

Although, he noted, that Nigeria is an imperfect market, but maintained that MizBeach was set up to correct this imperfection by ensuring that its mobile phones on offer come from the right source, that is, the manufacturers themselves and MizBeach customer care centres have the necessary tools to fix mobile phones under its warranty.

Olisemeka pointed out that the purpose of unveiling a new Mizbeach logo was to formally tell Nigerians that Mizbeach Limited has gotten some new focus, underscoring the fact that his firm would continue to maintain and build on its leadership position in the wholesale market.

“We are poised to become a major player in the retail and end-user market as well,” he declared, stressing that Mizbeach will be actively focused on providing for and meeting the needs of end-user clients.

The key factors to be associated with new Mizbeach Limited would include high quality mobile phones, best prices, varied choice of phones for the lifestyles of those that patronize the company.

Olisemeka further promised that any person that enters a Mizbeach location must leave with a pleasant and satisfactory experience.

When they make purchases, he said, they are assured of buying high quality phones at the best prices, while going the extra mile to ensure that clients are provided excellent after sales services and warrantees.

“We will assist our customers in making the most reasonable purchase decisions that will fit their life styles and available finance,” he said.

The unveiling was performed by a director, School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, Prof. Augustine Esogbue, accompanied by the chairman of Mizbeach, Ambassador Ignatius Olisemeka, President, Institute of Directors (IOD), Chief Chike Nwanze, among other dignitaries.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Emperion, Direct-On PC route for Cyber Cafe expo

Broadband service provider, Emperion has confirmed its participation in this year’s Cyber café Survival expo scheduled for next month in Lagos, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Affirming this, the managing partner of the organizing company, Private Media Mart Limited, Mr. Ejiofor Agada, told ITRealms Online that Emperion represented in the country by its West African office, will use the event scheduled at ultra modern K&G Events Centre Oregun Lagos, to introduce current franchising scheme in Nigeria as well as special Cyber Café solutions.

He also said that multiple award winning Internet broadband solution providers, Direct-On-PC, will also be using the expo to promote the adoption of its latest range of Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) solutions.

According to him, the product has also been described as the best solution for the latest trend in mini-cyber cafés for rural areas, with ease of deployment and flexible payment plans.

Agada said that the need to increase the survival rate of cyber cafés as well as tackle the challenges of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in areas of Internet broadband access, necessitated the debut of the initiative, which is now in its second edition.

“The desire to host this event is to help in our own little way, to correct the impression that investment in cyber café business is a waste,” he said.

Other confirmed participants in the expo, Agada said, include IpNX, McQuintus and Swift Networks with the Nigerian Internet Group (NIG) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as institutional partners.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Glo doles out N9m to 9 subscribers on Super promo

Globacom has doled out N9 million to nine subscribers who emerged winners in the ongoing Text4Million super promo, last weekend.

Speaking at the ceremony in Lagos, Head, Value Added Service (VAS), Globacom, Mr. Samson Isah, said that the participation so far has shown that Nigerians accepted the conception of the promo.

“Today, nine winners would be given their cheques,” he said, and urged winners to ensure they invest wisely so as to make their lives better.
Out of the 10 winners who emerged at the weekend, Nine were at hand to receive their prizes from notable Nigerian music artistes including Sunny Nneji, Ego Obaro and Sam Okposo.

Those who picked their cheques include Mr. Collins Uwadia, Andrew Amagada, Rev. Aloysius Okonji, Rev. Ade Ajayi, Ismaila Taye Babalola, Mike Ihoahivio, Sunny Okereke, Taide Agbaji and Mrs. Omobola Eshien, who is the first women to join the latest millionaires.

Some of the winners who spoke with correspondent, commended Globacom and promise to continue being active on the network, whereas their families and friends were encouraged to join Globacom network.

The Glo “text 4 millions” promo is expected to create 103 millionaires out of existing and new subscribers on the Glo network.

In addition to daily winners of N1m, draws would also be made each week to pick bonus winners of N1m for ten weeks.

Even as N10m will be given out in two (2) monthly draws and N30m will be given out to one lucky subscriber at the grand finale in the last month of the promo.

Equally, there will be prizes of N100 free airtime for 10,000 winners everyday and other exciting prizes such as laptops, 3G modems, I-pods and generator sets.

All these will throw up a total of 10,266 prizes to be won by subscribers each day.

ITRealms Online recalls that in fulfillment of the promise to subscribers when the Glo Text 4 million promotion was launched, Globacom a fortnight ago, presented N1 million cheque each to the first round of four winners in the scheme.

The beneficiaries included a resident of Port Harcourt, Chigozie Ekeoma, Mr. Ashiru Adigun from Warri, Delta State, Mr. Friday Obiebi also from Warri and Mr. Kwabena Yeboah, a Ghanaian resident in Lagos.

However, the winners used the chance to eulogize the SNO while expressing surprise for being among the lucky millionaires to emerge in the first week of the promo.

They noted that the initial calls were received with disbelief until they got to the Globacom office where their winnings were confirmed. One of the first week winners and Warri-based, Mr. Obiebi said, he received the phone call notifying him that he had won with a lot of doubt.

“When the call came, I said ‘Whosai’, these people don come again. But when I was called again to go to the Glo office in Warri and met the people there, I start to dey believe. Now wey I don get the cheque, I now believe,” he said in his colloquial Warri slang.

He advised other Glo subscribers to continue participating in the promo as anyone could be lucky enough to win, noting that the notification process is very clear as the winner will be asked to go to only Glo offices for verification.

For the Ghanaian Yeboah, the call came when he was in Ghana. After initial doubts and disbelief, he explained to the callers that he was in Ghana and would not return till the end of the month.

But on hearing that the date for the presentation had been fixed, he decided to return and claim his cheque. Yeboah commended Globacom for being truthful and credible about the Text4Million promo.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Balachandran replaces Thomas @ Visafone

Visafone Communications Limited has announced the appointment of two new key officers including the chief executive officer.

The two new appointees are the chief financial officer (CFO), Mr. Ross Clewley and CEO, Mr. Ramachandran Balachandran.

The fourth largest mobile operator, made this disclosure through its new Corporate Communications officer, Mr. Kingsley Mordi, Friday in Lagos, at a media parley.

This development, he said, was necessitated by the expiration of contract of the outgoing chief executive officer, Mr. Ninan Thomas, which is expected to elapse on August 15, when he is billed to handover officially.

Equally, the appointment was facilitated because Thomas had expressed no intension in renewing the deal, just as Mr. Balachandran has since arrived in the country and was hosted to a reception last weekend in Lagos.

As said by him, the repositioning in its management and operations was in effort to meet the challenges of a vibrant and constantly evolving telecoms industry, while Mr. Thomas, is returning to his Chicago USA base to continue his career.

Mordi explained in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online that the new CEO brings to Visafone a combined wealth of experience of over 27 years in top-notch telecom firms like Reliance, which is one of the most successful mobile phone companies in India and the world and Suntel in Sri Lanka.

Before his latest appointment, Balachandran was the President, Reliance Retail in India with 27 years post-MBA experience. His impressive career has seen him holding very important top management positions including CEO/President/COO/CMO/Director.

Mr. Balachandran is expected to lead Visafone into a new era of growth and profitability anchored on excellent management pedigree and eloquent testimony.

On the other hand, the new Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Ross Clewley is no stranger to Nigeria having acted in the same capacity at Econet where he held sway from 2002 to 2004. A chartered accountant, Clewley holds an MBA from Herriot Watt University of Edinburgh, Scotland and has had extensive management experience as Chief Finance Officer/Finance Director and Board levels with international experiences in 14 countries spanning the UK, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Australia and Africa.

Ross Clewley has multidisciplinary experience in telecoms (Mobile/GSM). Media/Advertising, Financial information services, IT consulting/Engineering amongst others.

The two key appointments are expected to help Visafone actualize its dreams of becoming one of the top 3 telecom companies in Nigeria and spreading the joy of communications across Nigeria.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Unbundling NITEL:Decay infrastructure may stall process

In spite of the plans by the Federal Government to unbundle the first national carrier, the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and its subsidiary, the Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTel), the proposal faces another obstacle with the discovery that infrastructural decay may hamper the plans.

This is coming as NITEL workforce under the aegis of Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC), supposedly on strike, insisted that for the so-called unbundling to even take off there is a need to settle all the arrears owed the workers before now.

Investigations by ITRealms Online at the weekend, showed that although NITEL reportedly has telecom infrastructure scattered across the nation, but due to inability of the government to sell the company on time since its privatization exercise begun about seven years ago.

It was also gathered that though NITEL has about 400,000 lines as at the commencement of its privatization, this figure has drastically depreciated due to lack of maintenance, especially between its exchanges in Lagos and Enugu.

Additionally, the inability for the organization to have a constant management team with its progress at heart over the years, was not helpful, especially with the intervention of Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) intermittently, therefore leaving no room for a progression of decisions taken, thereby allowing the company to deteriorate on daily basis.

Another proof to this fact is that although some companies and organizations claim to have NITEL still working for them, mostly at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the land-line boxes have degenerated to merely ‘intercom’ boxes, while those on MTel have since migrated to other mobile networks in the country, especially the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operators.

Yet, another show of the decay in NITEL infrastructure is that calling its mobile subsidiary, for instance, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) would simply inform you that the number you are calling is out of service or worst still not reachable, even when the person has its Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card well inserted on a mobile phone and right beside you.

So, for many other users or subscribers of NITEL and MTel, the company is no longer in existence, because according to some of them, the government has buried these companies with the deal consummated with the Transnational Corporation (Transcorp), which was eventually revoked on June 1, 2009.

For a professor of telecommunications at the American University Yola, Prof. Augustine Odinma, the decay in infrastructure would definitely negatively affect the unbundling of new NITEL, but to what extent is yet un-estimated.

Odinma also said that it is not all NITEL infrastructure that is obsolete, but some need to be replaced in line with the dictates of new technologies, while some could be revamped or rehabilitated.

“Of course, some of the exchange equipment and carrier systems are still usable,” he declared.

Equally for some telecom gurus in the land, NITEL has become a by-product of bad leadership of the current political party in control of government, basically due to their politicization of NITEL as an institution without regards to the bigger picture, which is the country.

Although it is highly believed and advocated in some quarters that the only company capable of reengineering NITEL family is the second national operator, the Globacom, which is a wholly Nigerian telecommunications company.

For those proponents, Globacom as the SNO has all it takes for the take-over of the first national operator; the experience which it has extended to the sub-region within a short time and the financial muscle to push those decayed infrastructure into viability.

The only unanswered question here by the SNO, which has since reiterated its resolve to acquire NITEL with a promise to run it efficiently if given the opportunity is how to manage the debt NITEL has incurred over the years, especially from the salary arrears of the workforce.

Efforts to get the Head, Public Relations at Globacom, Mr. Bode Opesietan’s response was not successful as at press time.

ITRealms Online may recall that currently BPE re-strategising to split NITEL into five subsidiaries in order to appeal to investors in the current dispensation. These would include South Atlantic 3 (SAT-3) undersea cable, the analogue cellular phone STAC and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) to be separated from the fixed line operation, according to BPE spokesman, Mr. Joe Anichebe, who explained that eventually the five units would have operating licenses made available to them in terms of renewal in readiness for take-off.

The Federal Government incorporated NITEL as a limited liability company in December 1984, as a product of the merger between the telecommunications arm of the defunct Posts and Telecommunications Department (P&T) of the then Ministry of Communications, and Nigerian External Communications Limited (NET), but it commenced operations on January 1, 1985.

However, the workforce warned that without clearance of salary arrears owed them, the unbundling of NITEL would be futile, as said by the SSACTAC President, Comrade ‘Tunji Adesunkanmi, who insisted that for the so-called unbundling to become a realty the over 11-month arrears must be settled.

While urging the government to expedite actions on the revitalization of NITEL, he stressed that the return of the telco would fasten the desire to crash tariff by other telecom operators.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

TD, Multi-Links partner on internet ready PCs

Personal computing distribution house, Technology Distributions (TD) Limited is partnering leading telecommunications company, Multi-Links Telkom, in provision of affordable internet- ready PCs, offering computer users 50 hours of free internet access.

Managing Director, TD Limited, Mrs. Chioma Ekeh made this disclosure at the weekend and said that customers patronizing her firm this time would get immediate internet access, with 50 hours free, in the first month of purchasing a laptop or desktop.

Mrs. Ekeh also said the incentive was to herald her company’s mid-year review of the marketing activities of the company, stressing that the benefits of a Multi-Links’ Evolution Data Optimized (EVDO) including limitless access with the ability to download files without much ado.

She explained that TD has taken up the distribution of D-Link products through her expansive and trusted channel of resellers across the West Africa sub-region.

Noting that TD has stocked switches, routers, access points, Internet Protocol (IP) surveillance cameras, network storage, firewalls, media converters, print servers, adapters, access points and outdoor antennas in good quantities.

Additionally, she said that the networking materials from D-Link are of world-class standards and stand a good chance of gaining sizable market shares in the sub-region and urged all TD resellers to add D-Link products to their offerings because today’s Information Technology (IT) market is robust, thus requires versatility and total commitment.

“As professionals we must be prepared to keep pace with the growing needs of the market and ensure that the national objectives of ICT penetration are on course,” she declared.

Reassuring resellers of outstanding support from TD, Mrs. Ekeh said that her firm has set up the Partner Advantage Scheme (PAS), designed specifically to reward partners for their loyalty, resourcefulness and profitability, with effect from April 1, 2009.

Further, she said that the trade rewards would come in cash benefits, credit facilities, shared promo platforms, priority in allocation of goods and other logistics support.

She, therefore, enjoined the resellers to improve their capacities in order to benefit from PAS, citing for instance, that they could invest in infrastructure, human capital and hire a number of strategic staff in a bid to consolidate market share.

Mrs. Ekeh further informed that as part of the objective to use technology to drive growth, TD has invested in the Microsoft Enterprise Resource Planner (ERP); a completely integrated customizable, tenable and global enterprise resource planner solution.

“It is designed to optimize strategic business processes across financial management, supply chain management, customer relationship management, employee management and analytics,” she said.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Galaxy facilitates online surgery

Galaxy Backbone (GBB) Plc, last week, facilitated the participation of Nigerian surgeons in a Gall Bladder surgery in the United States through video conference at the National Hospital Abuja.

ITRealms Online recalls that recent report of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000, which scored the Nigerian healthcare system 187th out of 191 countries, a group of physicians, surgeons and Information and Communications Technologists came together between July 13 through 15, 2009, at the National Hospital, Abuja for the first round of the tele-surgery demonstration using Galaxy Backbone platform.

The three-day workshop was organized to address the knowledge and skills deficit in the healthcare sector in the country.

Leading the team of United States-based surgeons, Dr. Fiemu Nwariaku, who said the training involved a live surgical procedure was performed in Dallas, Texas to train a group of over 70 Nigerian surgeons.

During the surgical procedure, he said the patient underwent cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder) and Nigerian surgeons in Abuja were able to directly interact as well as question the surgeon in Dallas and get tips on how to best perform the procedure, which lasted for about one and half hours.

While the workshop was hosted by the National Hospital, Abuja, the ICT infrastructure was provided by Galaxy Backbone Plc and Compufix Intercom Nigeria Ltd, hence demonstrating GBB’s commitment to the development of e-health in the country. 

The course participants rated the content of the course highly and noted that this method could greatly assist in building capacity in healthcare in Nigeria.

Commenting on the workshop, President, West African College of Surgeons, Professor O. O. Mbonu, said the demonstration showed the possibilities achievable with modern ICT in the healthcare sector and provides a framework for building a robust telemedicine and e-health component to improve healthcare in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

The USA based faculty was made up of members of the Association for Academic Surgery, while the course was presided over by two U.S-based pediatric surgeons, namely Dr. Ben Nwomeh and Dr. Evan Nadler.

While the course was also supported by Ethicon Endosurgery, EES (a Johnson & Johnson Company) and Trigen Healthcare Ltd. 
Speaking at the session a representative of the Ministry of Defence, Ahmed Safeed noted that the ministry shared in the excitement of the participants on the demonstration of Galaxy’s video conference capacity and described it as a surprising realization and appreciation of the fact that GBB could facilitate real-time interaction between a team of American surgeons conducting a 2-hour surgery procedure in a theatre in Dallas, Texas, USA and their Nigerian counterparts in Abuja.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

PMM to host Cyber Cafe expo ’09

The stage is now set for the second edition of the annual Cyber Café expo slated for Lagos, next month, according to the organizers, the Private Media Mart Limited (PMML).

Making this known in Lagos, the Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, PMML, Mr. Ejiofor Agada, said the event has been scheduled to hold on Monday, August 10, 2009, with the theme: Scarcity Versus Cost – Tackling the Broadband Challenges, at K & G Events Centre, Oregun – Ikeja in Lagos.

He noted that the concept of the expo was in a bid to identify the problems faced by cyber café operators and the reasons behind the high mortality rate of that sub-sector of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in the country.

“So as to help in identifying their challenges, we strive to inform them on what they are doing wrong, how to do it right and the best way to run a cyber café business,” he said.

The event, he also said, creates an avenue for cyber café operators and potential investors to follow the progress of the workshop with a perfect plan on how to start and sustain cyber café business in Nigeria.

Mr. Agada explained that the Internet is still one of the fastest and cost-effective means of interpersonal and corporate communications in the world and the ability to successfully sustain a cyber café business today has its own tribulations.

He identified the issues of hardware, software, networking, security, bandwidth, power supply and the law as the major challenges facing cyber operators today in the country, pointing out that the issue of fraudulent practices by some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the provision of bandwidth capacities to cyber operators is another phase of the challenge.

“It is to this end that this edition of the event will be showcasing select Internet Broadband service providers in the country with repute and verifiable, honest business practices,” Agada said.

He explained that broadband is expensive for Nigerians due to the undeveloped infrastructures when compared with other countries of the world, urging the government to improve on broadband availability through the provision of enabling policies that would make the services affordable for Nigerians.

“The government should make the market better. The business of providing broadband services in Nigeria is not well indicated at all. Government gives so much attention to telecommunications, the end users of bandwidth utilization more than the providers of bandwidth,” he urged.

The first edition of the workshop focused on hardware and software challenges of cyber café business in Nigeria with participation from Omatek, Beta Computers, Wazobia Linux, Amsco, Jidaw, and Microsoft. 

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Joda flags off anti-mobile phone theft scheme

Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Alhaji Ahmed Joda, weekend in Abuja, flagged off the national anti-mobile phone theft scheme.

The scheme, which has been structured to curtail the menace of mobile phone handsets theft in the country, would see that any reported stolen phone would be barred from any of the mobile networks, thereby making that handset useless within Nigeria telecom space.

With this launch, all the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) mobile operators have already signed to move their subscribers into the system with Zain Mobile already connected to the Netvisa anti-phone theft system.

At the launch which took place at the Netvisa Nigeria Limited office in Abuja, Alhaji Joda, who led four other commissioners of NCC to the event, noted that the menace of mobile phone theft had become a serious problem in the country that had not only inconvenienced many people but also endangered lives and businesses.

He solicited the co-operation of all the mobile operators to connect to the system to safeguard the handsets of their subscribers.

As said by him, with increasing complaints from people nationwide, about the problem of mobile phone theft, the Commission sought for a way to stop the problem, which resulted in the collaborative effort between the NCC and the mobile phone operators to engage Netvisa to manage the system for the benefit of over 70 million handsets being used in the Nigerian networks today.

Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe in his input said the commissioning signals a success story of the scheme which had taken a lot of hard work in planning and coordinating for the benefit of the nations teeming mobile phone subscribers.
“A lot of work had gone into getting the scheme to this phase of flagging off. We took our time to do a lot of study before initiating this scheme and we believe that based on the support of everyone, it would be a success,” Ndukwe said.

The Chief Executive Officer, Netvisa, Mr. Prince Uchendu, said the scheme included the establishment of a national database of stolen phones, which would be used to curtail the perpetration of the theft in the future.

“This registry is in direct support of the NCC mobile phones anti-theft initiative conceived under the thoughtful leadership of the EVC of NCC. The menace and scourge of stolen phones has touched many lives in Nigeria and some, tragically,” he said.

Also, Mr. Uchendu said the service would be at no cost to the subscribers but the subscribers are expected to register their 15 digit International Mobile Equipment identity (IMEI) numbers with the Central Equipment Identity Registry (CEIR) to be managed by the company through which any mobile phone reported stolen will be blocked from all the networks.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

IFC boosts Zain Ghana expansion with N13.3bn

Still basking in the euphoria of the recent two-day visit of the United States president, Mr. Barack Obama to Ghana, a member of the World Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has given a life-line worth $90 million (about N13.3 billion) to Zain Ghana, for expansion projects in the country.

This is coming as IFC also mobilized additional $70 million (about N10.3 billion) in syndications to help Zain Ghana expand its mobile telecommunications network and address the country’s growing demand for affordable communications services.

Zain Ghana is majorly-owned by Zain Group, a leading Middle Eastern telecommunications company and a long-time IFC partner.

IFC in a press statement from its Washington DC office signed by Ms. Alexandra Klopfer, said that the syndicated loan, in the form of an IFC B-loan and a parallel loan, has a seven-year tenor and was over-subscribed by 30 per cent.

The IFC B-loan was provided by Cordiant Capital, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund Limited, FirstRand Bank Limited, and the Netherlands Development Finance Company, while IFC is acting as a lender of record for the B-loan participants and as an agency vis-à-vis the parallel lender, the OPEC Fund for International Development, simplifying communications between Zain Ghana and the lenders.

“Our subscriber base in Ghana already exceeded one million and this investment will enable us to scale up our operations and provide affordable and reliable communications services to a much larger part of the population,” said Zain Ghana Country Manager, Mr. Philip Sowah.

He also said that with this development, IFC has brought in a significant number of regional, long-term commercial investors – a great vote of confidence for this frontier market, particularly in the current economic crisis.

Noting that after liberalizing the telecommunications sector and promoting competition, Ghana has experienced significant growth in the availability of telecommunications services, at lower costs to consumers.

“At 45 per cent the mobile penetration rate is higher than in other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with similar per capita incomes. Still, Ghana’s teledensity is concentrated in urban areas, leaving the penetration rates in rural and semi-urban areas well below 10 percent due chiefly to capital, infrastructure, and affordability constraints,” he declared.

The press statement quoted the IFC Senior Manager for Global Information and Communication Technologies, Ms. Stephanie von Friedeburg as saying the corporation was pleased to support Zain Ghana in offering access to affordable, quality service beyond large cities to remote and rural areas across Ghana.

“This fits well with IFC’s objective to support the government in making available affordable telecommunications services to underserved populations,” he said.

ITRealms Online recalls that IFC, is reputed for creating opportunities for people to escape poverty and improve lives, while fostering sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

First winners @ Glo text 4 million promo receive prizes

•As PATIN commends

In fulfillment of the promise to subscribers when the Glo Text 4 million promotion was launched, the Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom Limited, last week, presented N1 million cheque each to the first round of four winners in the scheme.

The beneficiaries included a resident of Port Harcourt, Chigozie Ekeoma, Mr. Ashiru Adigun from Warri, Delta State, Mr. Friday Obiebi also from Warri and Mr. Kwabena Yeboah, a Ghanaian resident in Lagos. 

This is coming as the second batch of winners emerged on Monday, from the weekly promo.

Excited winners used the chance to eulogize the SNO while expressing surprise for being among the lucky millionaires to emerge in the first week of the promo.

They noted that the initial calls were received with disbelief until they got to the Globacom office where their winnings were confirmed. One of the first week winners and Warri-based, Mr. Obiebi said, he received the phone call notifying him that he had won with a lot of doubt. 

“When the call came, I said ‘Whosai’, these people don come again. But when I was called again to go to the Glo office in Warri and met the people there, I start to dey believe. Now wey I don get the cheque, I now believe,” he said in his colloquial Warri slang.

He advised other Glo subscribers to continue participating in the promo as anyone could be lucky enough to win, noting that the notification process is very clear as the winner will be asked to go to only Glo offices for verification. 

For the Ghanaian Yeboah, the call came when he was in Ghana. After initial doubts and disbelief, he explained to the callers that he was in Ghana and would not return till the end of the month.

But on hearing that the date for the presentation had been fixed, he decided to return and claim his cheque. Yeboah commended Globacom for being truthful and credible about the Text4Million promo. 

Equally, Port Harcourt-based Ekeoma, said the experience demonstrated the length that Globacom has gone in order to identify the real winners in its promos.

Pointing out that the encouragement to participate in the promo came from his wife after both watched the campaign commercial on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) News-line. 

“In fact, my wife encouraged me to play. Five days later, I was called but my phone was off. But the Glo people traced my line to find out the last person I called.
Fortunately I was with that person when they called him to enquire about me. I want to let everybody know that Glo is straight forward, Glo is faithful and Glo is generous,” he narrated.

According to Ekeoma, he played only 40 times, spending a total of N4,000 in the promo to emerge a winner of the N1m cash prize. 

And for another winner, Mr. Ashiru Adigun, winning N1m in the promo is both a surprise and a blessing. He praised Glo for the promo to reward its loyal subscribers, even as he encouraged fellow subscribers on the network to join by playing as anyone could win in the promo. 

“Keep on trying, Glo subscribers, keep playing”, he said. 

The winners were presented with their prizes by Glo ambassadors who also celebrated with them at the occasion. The Glo ambassadors include Ramsey Nouah, Nonso Diobi, Mike Ezuruonye, Kate Henshaw Nuttal, Rita Dominic, Chioma Chukwuka, Monalisa Chinda, Ini Edo, Uche Jombo and Funke Akindele. 

Meanwhile, Globacom has been commended for being environmentally friendly telecom operator at the launch of Plant A Tree Today Initiative (PATIN), an initiative of the wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Helen Onma Mark, which held in Abuja, weekend.
According to Mrs. Mark, “Globacom is graciously leading the way in partnership with the sponsorship of this project, which has enabled us to take off.”

Explaining the goal of PATIN, she said the initiative “is setting a modest target of platting one million trees per local government in the first phase of four years.”

Also, she said that the PATIN would be interested in securing the nation`s diverse ecosystem through a variety of other activities and invited Nigerians to emulate the telecommunications operator and join hands with her organization in “this drive to save and rule our world.” 

Member of the Senate Committee on the Environment, Senator (Lady) Eme Ufot Ekaette equally praised Globacom’s support for the project, saying it was not just a coincidence that Globacom chose a green colour for its brand as the colour is nature friendly.

“Glo has been nature friendly, their colour is earth friendly,” she declared.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Mobile phones health forum holds in August

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) stakeholders would next month be hosted to a one-day forum on ‘Mobile phone, Base Stations and Health Concerns’ by ITWorld Int’l Magazine in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other stakeholders in the industry.

Chief executive officer of ITWorld Int’l, Mr. Enyi Moses said the public forum has been scheduled to hold on August 11, 2009 in Lagos to deliberate on the health concerns arising from mobile phones and base stations.  

The forum with the theme “Mobile phone, Base Stations and Health Concerns” he said, is taking place as part of his organisation’s contribution to engender public discourse on issues of public interest to Nigerians on the use of mobile phones and base stations.

It is therefore expected that the forum will adequately provide information to participants on growing fears that base stations and mobile phones pose risk to health.

“The increased use of mobile phones in Nigeria and around the world has raised public interest in possible health issues (if any) associated with exposure to electromagnetic energy. People are concerned about the health and safety effects arising from possible harmful emissions from mobile phone handsets and base stations,” he said.

Mr. Moses also said that the fears have been elevated to such a level that those who live close to base stations express unnecessary concerns and are beginning to converge to pressure government to order that base stations be cited away from city centres and residential areas.

“It is the need to provide adequate answers to these growing fears that concerned stakeholders are converging to give the true and scientific reports on the effect of base stations and mobile handsets to humans,” said.

Essentially, the purpose of the forum is to ensure that Nigerian public is correctly educated to allay their fears or otherwise on these allegations about base stations and mobile phones.

The forum, he further said, will thrive to make the issues of radiation from mobile phone systems and base stations more understandable and provide definite answers to questions and issues such as “What is radiation? Are there any health risks if you live or work near a base station? Can I get brain cancer or any other related illness from using mobile phones?”

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

DSTv raises Face of Africa episodes to 14

Digital Satellite Television (DSTv), service provider M-Net, has raised its Face of Africa television episodes to 14 on its DStv platform with the 2009 edition.

The company also announced in a release made available to ITRealms Online that the finale of this year’s edition will be held in Nigeria, in February 2010, making it the first of the modeling reality show finale to be held in the country since the M-Net Face of Africa started.

Director, M-Net Africa, Mrs. Biola Adekanbi, said the top prize for the new season of Face of Africa has been set at USD50,000 (about N7.4 million) from M-Net, plus a modeling contract with O Model Africa, owned by the first winner of Face of Africa, Ms Oluchi Onweagba.

This year’s search, she said, promises to be an excitement, drama and glamour that Face of Africa is well known for.

She enjoined aspiring entrants to enter online at the Face of Africa website, http://www.mnetafrica.com/foa; where they will be required to complete the entry form and provide photographs of themselves.

According to her, entry is open to any woman who is a citizen of a sub-Saharan Africa and between the ages of 17 and 24, with a minimum height requirement of 1.72m, maximum hip measurement of 96cm and entrants should not have an existing modeling contract, while the deadline is August 28, 2009.

She explained that after a special evaluation session to be held in 14 countries, namely Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, that winners would emerge.

She reiterated that late entries would not be considered, except if they have been unable to access the online entry process. Pointing out that any contestant considered as a finalist and who is from a country which does not have a dedicated evaluation session, will be evaluated by specially selected representatives in their own country.

Later the cross continental search will head to Model Boot Camp during which time the top10 finalists will be chosen and will then head into the M-Net Face of Africa 2009 Finale in Nigeria. 

DStv subscribers, she said, should follow the search by tuning in to M-Net and/or AfricaMagic from the end of October this year, when the series are expected to premiere on screen.

The last edition was won by Ghanaian Kate Tachie-Menson who strode into the spotlight on her second attempt in the series, and walked away as the newest African catwalk sensation.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Survey rates Oracle financial solution high

Oracle Financial Services Software has been ranked high as the leader for compliance software, according to the highly rated publication’s 2009 Annual Compliance Software Survey.

Readers selected Oracle as a top-three vendor across six of the survey’s eight compliance software categories, according to officials of the company. “No other vendor achieved this distinction in the 2009 survey,” a press statement from Oracle stated.

Equally, ITRealms Online gathered that Oracle ranked first for anti-money laundering (AML) and governance, risk and compliance (GRC) software products.

The survey results also recognized Oracle in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, compliance monitoring and control, anti-fraud, and regulatory reporting product categories.

OpRisk & Compliance compiles its compliance software rankings based on the results of a survey sent to more than 6,000 of its readers from financial institutions around the globe.

Respondents selected their top five companies in eight compliance product categories:  AML; GRC; Sarbanes-Oxley; compliance monitoring and control; anti-fraud; regulatory reporting; spreadsheet products; and e-mail archiving, data storage and reporting.

OpRisk & Compliance wrote, “Oracle is the stand-out vendor across numerous categories this year. It has benefited from the rebranding of its several units – namely Oracle, Mantas and Reveleus – into a single entity, as well as building on its outstanding reputation as a premier player in the risk and compliance sector.
Such a solid performance in so many areas demonstrates Oracle’s truly enterprise reach.”

“Financial institutions are no longer looking for piecemeal compliance solutions; they want a strategic partner that offers comprehensive solutions and has the capability to meet their needs across numerous compliance requirements,” said S. Ramakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer of Reveleus and Mantas Products, Oracle Financial Services Software. 

“The results of OpRisk & Compliance’s 2009 compliance software rankings reflect the value that Oracle Financial Services Software and its solutions deliver – helping financial institutions to break down silos and achieve a full view of risk.” 

Oracle Analytics for Financial Services is a complete and fully integrated portfolio of analytical solutions covering enterprise risk, performance management, regulatory compliance and customer insight. It is built upon a shared analytical infrastructure consisting of a unified financial services data model, shared analytical computations and the industry-leading Oracle Business Intelligence platform.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why ipNX slashed call rates – Amah

The Executive Director, ipNX Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ifeanyi Amah, has given reasons why his firm slashed international call tariffs to Six Naira, Ninty-Nine Kobo (N6.99k).

According to him, as part of ipNX’s mission to enable optimal technology driven communication to her numerous customers, the company has to reiterate its commitment by way of slashing rates of both local and international calls on its network.

“Nigerians now have access to a reliable and affordable telephone service with an unbeatable price offer as low as N6.99,” he declared.

Telephone solution from ipNX, he said, offers subscribers the opportunity to make and receive calls at affordable rates, whether locally or internationally to countries such as United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Canada among others.

“ipNX telephone service subscribers can make calls or fax to other ipNX subscribers within the network for free,” he said.

Amah noted that the service is delivered through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and offers users affordable call rates.

“The solution provides users with a fixed Nigerian local number, reviving the era of landline,” he said. The company is clearly focused on creating possibilities whether it’s to help users achieve their business objectives or simply making connection with loved ones.

The company which has been in operation for over a decade, he said, prides itself as the first Information Technology (IT) service provider to introduce the iwireless three-in-one (3-in-1) broadband internet solution, which allows both residential, small and medium business subscribers to browse, talk and fax documents.

“… All at the same time using a reliable high speed broadband connectivity,” he asserted.

The iwireless broadband, Mr. Amah explained has unique features which include its reliability and high-speed designed to offer residential and small business subscribers the ability to browse, talk and fax documents all in one, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria.

“The service is deployed using a modem called i-station. A unique product to the industry,” he said.

Pointing out that unlike conventional internet access modems, the i-station goes the extra mile by addressing challenges and unmet need as a trustworthy solution in the industry.

“The device delivers reliable high speed broadband up to one (1) mega bytes per second (mbps) internet access for users, using industry leading technology. The portable solution also, is WiMAX compatible and is a truly plug and play device, requiring no mast, poles or installation process. A multi-functional device that can be applied wirelessly, to create a WiFi zone,” he said.

ITRealms Online recalls that ipNX is a leading provider of infrastructure based telecommunications services in the country and was formed by the divestment of the telecommunications services division of Telnet Nigeria Limited.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

‘Multi-Links Telkom partnership timely‘

The Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of Multi-Links-Telkom Limited, Mrs. Ijeoma Abazie has said that the intervention of Telkom International in Multi-Links Nigeria was timely and had enabled the operator to extend coverage, improve rollout and management expertise, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Mrs. Abazie who disclosed these recently during a visit to Champion House, the corporate headquarters of Champion Newspapers Limited in Lagos, said the telco is working to reduce the percentage of foreign management expertise in the affairs of the company in order to beef-up local content.

“They provide management services as well as the technical support. It adds a lot of value because you know that Multi-Links was a pioneer in this industry in terms of telecom services and we have not gotten to where we should be because this business is capital intensive,” she said.

Pointing out that if Multi-links did not have the capital to rollout as much as it should to increase company footprints and coverage, the telco would be where it found itself before the takeover by Telkom.

“So, the key aspect that Telkom International has brought on board is something that will enable us extend coverage, rollout beyond before now, Lagos and Abuja and Port Harcourt and then in terms of management expertise as well,” she said.

She also said her appointment as the first Nigerian who would be taken on board as a chief of a department, is an indication that the management is working towards increasing local content.

“Going forward we do realize that we have to look seriously at the transfer of skill and begin to identify a pool of skills, local skills and talents, and begin to progress them up the ladder to take over from the non-nationals, who are in Multi-LinksTelkom Nigeria and all of that is being worked out and my appointment is one of the changes you will see in this direction,” Abazie said.

Speaking on the percentage of local staff on Multi-Links network, she disclosed that the telco has a staff strength of about 1136 of which 1041 of them are Nigerians (about 91.63 per cent) stating that it is in its best interest to reduce the percentage of foreign expertise as a way of saving cost.

“But we want to see a situation where at management level we have a lot more Nigerians and that is already on the pipeline for people to actually transfer the skills and head back to their previous duties as quickly as possible because it does cost a lot of money if you are top-heavy on expatriate” she said.

Accompanied by the corporate affairs manager, Mr. Abiodun Bayo, Mrs. Abazie, disclosed that Enugu and some parts of Anambra States are already enjoying the network.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Etisalat connects Maiduguri

Innovative telecommunications company, Etisalat Nigeria, has expanded its network coverage with the recent launch of services in Maiduguri, Borno State, unbundling such products as Easy Starter and Easy Cliq available for the people of the state.

At a ceremony to mark the launch Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Baba Hammed Jidda who represented the Executive Governor, Senator Ali Modu Sherriff, expressed optimism that Etisalat replicate the world class service the operator is known for, in the state.

Speaking at the occasion, Etisalat chairman, Mr. Keem Belo-Osagie, represented by a member of the board, Alhaji Bello Garba, said Etisalat is starting off in Borno metropolis with a great deal of enthusiasm.

“… As we stay true to our vision of becoming one of the top ten telecommunication companies in the world by 2010. I am confident that the superior services we are noted for in five continents of the world, where we operate, and the reason for NCC’s recent pronouncement of Etisalat as the best telecommunications company will now be enjoyed by the good people of Borno State,” he said.

The chairman noted that at inception, Etisalat had set a target of covering 50 per cent of Nigeria by end of 2009 and 80 per cent by December 2010, stressing that it would be a third of the time it took the other operators in the market to roll out their services nationwide.

Right now, he said, Etisalat had rolled out services in Lagos, Oyo, Abuja, Rivers, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe, Plateau, Borno and Adamawa States.

Equally speaking, the chief executive officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steven Evans,
said that the network had a current ability to accommodate 4 million subscribers at the moment but that work is nearing completion in upgrading the capacity to take 12 million subscribers.

This, he explained, would ensure the network is ever ready to cope with the anticipated number of new subscribers on the network in the new areas where it has rolled out its services in recent times.

“We are keen to ensure that we have more capacity available on our network than the subscribers joining our network. In that way, we would not be sacrificing the quality of our service no matter the number of subscribers who join our network. Our ultimate aim of being Nigeria’s best GSM service provider has already being realized with the NCC naming us as number one in terms of quality of service. We intend to remain Nigeria’s best network forever so we take issues of quality of our network very seriously,” he asserted.

ITRealms Online recalls that recently introduce 9jillions promotion, which is a unique 3-in-1 consumer promotion designed to reward both old and new subscribers on the Etisalat network with bountiful gifts ranging from phones to cash worth millions of naira and an ultimate grand prize of one million US dollars ($1million).

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Featured post @ITREALMS

Night travel: Over 80 passengers robbed, vehicle set ablaze+video – ITREALMS

ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news! Over 80 passengers on night travel to the Eastern part of Nigeria with Ifesinachi Mo...