" ITREALMS: June 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mobile phone coverage hits 90% mark

Global telecommunications regulator, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has disclosed that 90 per cent of the world’s population is now covered by mobile cellular networks.

According to ITU Statshot Issue number 3, made available to ITRealms Online, the global regulator described this evolution as ‘Ubiquitous mobile’.

ITU has gone ahead to reveal that the number of fixed telephone lines worldwide has continued to drop, but this drop has been massively made up with compensation from the growth in mobile.

ITU Statshot pointed out that between year 2006 and end of 2009 that the mobile growth has recorded about 1,916 billion mobile cellular subscriptions, stressing that in 2006 for instance, the subscription was 2,732 billion and by end of 2009 it has grown to 4,648 billion.

Additionally, ITU highlighted that within the period under review developed countries grew mobile telephony by 284 million, while developing countries went up by 1,632 million, just as the fixed lines instead of increasing, depleted by about 57 million, inferring that in 2006 fixed lines were 1,266 million and by 2009 this figure has gone down to 1,209 million.

“There were around 57 million fewer fixed telephone lines at the end of 2009 than there were at the end of 2006,” part of the report read.

There were 1.9 billion net additional mobile cellular subscriptions globally between the end of 2006 and 2009. Over 1.6 billion of these were in the developing world, compared to fewer than 300 million in the developed world.

“In many developing countries more than half of rural households now have a mobile phone,” ITU said, citing for instance, that in China and India, the two most populous nations in the world, over 90 per cent of villages are now connected, thanks to mobile.

In a related development the ITU Statshot also focused on Internet and broadband, depicting 75 per cent of households worldwide now have Television (TV) sets with only 25 per cent have Internet access.

As said by the report, close to two thirds of people in the developed world now have access to the Internet, while Four fifths of people in the developing world do not.

“Most Internet growth, however, is coming from the developing world, which accounted for 600 million of the 777 million new Internet users worldwide between the end of 2005 and the end of 2009,” they said.

By the end of 2008, ITU said, there were more Internet users in the developing world than in the developed world, just as in the four years to the end of 2009, fixed broadband penetration rates in the developing world almost tripled, and mobile broadband penetration rates grew more than tenfold.

Affirming that data and analysis in the ITU Statshot were drawn from the ITU World Telecommunication cum Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Development Report 2010 and the ITU World Telecommunication-ICT Indicators database.

Meanwhile the 9th edition of the ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Development Report (WTDR 2010) focuses on Monitoring the WSIS Targets, recalling that the year 2010 marks the midpoint between the 2005 Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and 2015, the deadline for achieving the 10 targets that governments agreed upon at the WSIS-2.

The Report acts as a mid-term review and provides policy makers with a comprehensive assessment of what has been achieved so far and what remains to be done, even as it was specifically prepared for the WSIS Forum 2010 and the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10); both of which held last May.

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NCC denies frozen of accounts, leadership crisis

Telecommunications regulator in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has denied media reports that its account has been frozen.

This report attributed its position on the directive of the acting Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Commission, Dr. Bashir Gwandu.

But reacting, the NCC said its attention has been drawn to reports in the media insinuating that the bank accounts of the Commission have been frozen, following a leadership crisis, or that there is a leadership crisis in the Commission.

Head, Media & Public Relations at NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, told ITRealms Online that it’s all lies as there was no such thing or any leadership crisis in NCC.

According to him, while it is not the intention of the Commission to join issues with the press, “we have the responsibility to inform the Nigerian public, and all industry stakeholders that no account of the Commission has been frozen for whatever reason.”

He described the report as “embarrassing and a figment of the imagination of the author,” stressing that the public should discountenance it.

“We wish to also inform the public that there is no crisis of succession in the Commission,” he said.

Muoka pointed out that Dr. Gwandu has since June 21, assumed office as the acting EVC of NCC.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, Dr. Bashir Gwandu, the Executive Commissioner in charge of Engineering and Standards, have since June 21, 2010, been appointed the

Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission,” he declared.

Emphasising that this was in line with the directive of the government to the former Acting Executive Vice Chairman, Mr. Stephen Bello, whose five-year tenure as an Executive Commissioner with the Commission expires on July 5, 2010, to proceed on his formal retirement.

He maintained that since the appointment of Dr. Gwandu, with the full knowledge of the entire staff, “he has continued to perform his duties as the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Commission at our Headquarters in Abuja without let or hindrance.”

Muoka also said that Gwandu was at the meeting convened by the House of Representatives Committee on Communications on Wednesday, June 23, 2010, and there was no time during the meeting that another person appeared in the same capacity as Acting EVC.

“As a matter of fact, the proceedings of the meeting were recorded for transmission by the various television stations and the public can watch the full proceedings of the meeting,” he said.

Additionally, Dr. Gwandu led NCC directors to the telecom stakeholders meeting convened by the Honorable Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili on Thursday, June 24, this year, where he was formerly presented to the industry by the Honourable Minister.

“It is, therefore, disturbing to read this type of news report which is a distortion of facts and a deliberate attempt to paint a picture of crisis where none exists,” he said.

Hence, he said, the Commission wishes to reiterate its commitment to programmes and actions aimed at expanding quality and affordable services to the citizens of this country.

Such programmes, he noted, include improvement on the quality of services offered by the operators, SIM card registration, reduction in call tariffs and general improvement of consumer experience in the Nigerian telecom industry.

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Nigeria is a priority market - Motorola

MOTOROLA Incorporate, has described Nigeria’s telecommunications market as ‘priority’ among other African markets.

Regional Sales Manager, Enterprise Mobility Solutions (EMS), Motorola, Africa, Mr. Nicolas Coussinoux, made this assertion at a media briefing to announce the end of a two-day EMS roadshow in Lagos.

He also said that the roadshow paved the way for the launch of some EMS solutions to key Motorola’s partners in the country.

Some of the solutions introduced at the roadshow included the Dimetra Internet Protocol (IP) Small System range, Motorbo R1.6 and Motorbo applications in the country.

The solutions, Mr. Coussinoux said, were designed to offer businesses a complete end-to-end portfolio of digital radio technology.

He also said that the introduction of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) digital radios in the country entails that industries could benefit from seamless digital radio communications and faster response times.

“Motorola is a world leading supplier of TETRA digital radio technologies offering secure, reliable and efficient communications which are customized to meet the needs of mission critical users and a wide range of vertical markets including industries such as oil & gas, transport, utilities and logistics,” he said, declaring “Nigeria is a priority for Motorola in the African market.”

He also said Motorola’s world-leading expertise in TETRA digital radio technologies, along with other extensive portfolio of products, applications and services means that they could offer customers a complete communication solution for their business requirements.

He explained that the Dimetra IP Small System range offers end-to-end TETRA digital radio solutions including infrastructure, terminals, applications and services based on the TETRA standard.

Further, he said, that the Motorbo solution offers a complete digital portfolio based on the Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) standard and with the latest Motorbo release R1.6 includes the unique ‘transmitter interrupt’ suite of features to help ensure that critical communications are received and acted upon immediately.

He said that Motorola’s local partners are working closely with the Africa regional office to ensure customer satisfaction, while noting that Motorbo supports a wide ecosystem of applications that is greatly increasing the efficiency, responsiveness and safety of customers across the world.

The introduction of these new products, he said, confirms Motorola’s position as market leader for digital radio technology and delivers end-to-end, high-quality communications solutions to customers in the country.

Locally, he said, Motorola has two distributors namely, Briscoe in Lagos and Danimex in Abuja, underscoring the fact that both partners have got an extensive network of local resellers throughout the country.

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‘Rubikon application is making impact’

ONe of the universal banking software solution providers, Neptune Software, has said that its brand, Rubikon is making impact globally.

Neptune had in a statement noted that this was evident following the most recent sign-ups for the banking platform by Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) and Infrastructure Development Bank, Nepal.

The new generation banking platform which was officially launched in 2008 in United Kingdom head office of Neptune with office in Nigeria, has already been deployed by over 18 banks in different countries around the world.

Other banks, officials listed included Berhan International Bank, Ethiopia; Adehyeman Savings & Loans, Ghana; Savings House Mozhnosti, Macedonia; National Savings & Credit Bank, Zambia; Industrial & Commercial Development Corporation, Kenya; Beselidhja Zavet Microfinance, Kosovo; Efatha Bank, Tanzania; Bank Monarch, UK; TN Bank, Zimbabwe, Victoria Commercial Bank, Kenya; ILFCO, Nepal; Marvhan Japan Bank, Cambodia, First Investment Specialised Bank Ltd, Cambodia; Malawi Savings Bank, Malawi to name a few.

Equally, the banks, according to them have over 30 branches and more than 500,000 customers, have selected the Rubikon banking solution, amongst a pack of other world class solutions on account of the rich and comprehensive features, functionalities and benefits it offers.

The decisions to select Rubikon, ITRealms Online gathered were also in-line with the banks’ strategic plans to revamp and strengthen existing systems in order to meet their growing ICT needs and to stay ahead in the market.

Rubikon is a next generation banking solution that offers a comprehensive range of functionality, with features including integrated workflow/event management, case management, document management, rules engine, multiple delivery channels, regulatory compliance, business intelligence and data warehousing.

ITRealms Online recalls that Rubikon is notable as a 100 per cent Java solution, based on J2EE technology and built on a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).

Hence, it supports both grid and cloud computing on the Oracle 10g platform, offering a basketful of cost and operational benefits to users. It is also the first system that truly eliminates the need for an ‘end of day’ processing.

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Etisalat introduces 3D Internet Protocol TV

As efforts to reposition in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) and North Africa, Etisalat Group has introduced the Third Dimension-based Internet Protocol Television (IPTV).

Affirming this, the Group Chief Operating Officer (GCOO) of Etisalat Group, Mr. Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, said that UAE is amongst the first five countries in the world to have 3 Dimension (3D) TV, following the demonstration and launching of the service at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi.

In the presence of media and Etisalat representatives, the company launched the service officially for its customers across the UAE, making it the first operator in the region to do so.

He noted that a recent report from Informa Telecoms and Media confirmed UAE’s position in the first five countries in the world to launch the 3D TV service for its customers.

Pointing out that the service was launched in France, Belgium and Portugal in May 2010 and in Switzerland earlier this month, thus positioning the UAE as one of the world’s most technologically advanced nations.

He emphasized that it is also a strong indication of the country’s network readiness attained through Etisalat’s advanced fiber-optic network which is one of the most advanced projects in the UAE and the world, as well as one of Etisalat’s biggest investments in infrastructure.

“We are proud to position UAE as one of the first five countries in the world to bring home the 3D technology for its residents and to be the first operator in the region to launch this service to our customers,” he said, highlighting that eventually, countries globally would have the technology and operators would be able to provide the service to their customers as they gradually upgrade to the fiber-optic technology.

“However, being amongst the first few today is what distinguishes Etisalat as world leaders in technological advancement,” he said.

Julfar, further said that years ago, at a time when the world was considering the cost and returns of the huge investments that go into building a traditional network, Etisalat took the leap forward and invested in this futuristic fiber-optic network that delivers service from the operator all the way to the end-user.

“Becoming the first to launch the 3D TV service in the region is a natural and eminent advantage of this network”, he submitted.

Equally, speaking on the matter, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans said they were delighted with this feat achieved especially at this time.

“Etisalat continues to prove itself as an innovative market leader in all the countries in which we operate as we have again demonstrated with this latest positioning of the UAE as amongst the first five countries in the world and the first in the Middle East and North Africa to have 3D TV” he said.

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ZOOMmobile slashes Internet price by 50%

Leading Unified Access licensee, the ZOOMmobile has announced the slash on its Internet prices by 50 per cent.

The Chief Strategy Officer, Reliance Telecomms Ltd trading under ZOOMmobile, Mr. Usman Amodu-Shuaibu, made this disclosure to ITRealms Online in Lagos at the weekend.

In a press statement made available to ITRealms Online, he said that the slash was to compliment the on-going sales drive by ZOOMmobile on its internet Value added services.

These special prices, he also said would last for about a month to stimulate new activation of Internet lines.

He explained that ZOOMmobile’s intended to delight prospective subscribers, by slashing the cost of activating its Universal Serial Bus (USB) modems; 727 and 595U respectively.

According to him, these modems previously cost N16,000.00 for a validity period of one month and has now been slashed to N8,000.00 and bundled with free 100 hours.

This slash, he said, takes immediate effect and offer is valid while stock last.

ITRealms Online recalls that in the last quarter of 2009, ZOOMmobile launched ‘BOLT’ which it tagged as an ultra-fast high speed broadband Internet package powered by EV-DO technology throughout the city of Lagos.

ZOOMmobile, had noted that this continued to lead in the up-scale Internet market with turbo-charged wireless technology that enables high speed broadband connectivity.

The teleco explained that EV-DO surpasses most wireless technology as it comes with valuable benefits for a variety of applications.

“BOLT is targeted at enhancing the digital lifestyles of Nigerians because life will just get more productive for those who want high-speed broadband Internet at any place or time,” he said.

As a result, streaming video, faster file downloads and uploads and superfast web browsing are no longer just home, office or cyber café benefits,” company sources said.

ZOOMmobile Bolt customers, he said, could now enjoy blazing fast mobile broadband experience across Lagos metropolis whether they are working at a remote location, waiting to catch their flight at the airport, between classes on campus, relaxing in the park, sitting at a favorite eatery or as passengers in BRT - Lagos Public Transport - all for just N15,000 per month-a premium over current ZOOMmobile “Breeze” mobile data plans.

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Linux achieves 250,000 certification worldwide

California-based world’s premier Linux certification organization, Linux Professional Institute (LPI) has announced that they delivered over 258,000 exams and 85,000 certifications worldwide.

Director of Communications, Linux Professional Institute, Mr. Scott Lamberton made this disclosure at the weekend in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online.

He quoted the president, Linux Professional Institute, Mr. Jim Lacey, as saying that this development is an important milestone.

“It signifies the long-standing commitment to the LPI programme from both individual Linux professionals and the industry at large,” he said, stressing that they have seen impressive growth in the last year due to the enthusiastic response from Information Technology (IT) professionals to the revised LPIC-1 and LPIC-2 exams.

Mr. Lacey credited the impressive results to a number of factors including the desire of IT professionals to keep their skills current in a highly competitive economic climate.

“IT professionals know that life-long learning and demonstrated skills play an important role in their career pursuits and we also understand that engaging with the global Linux community is at the heart of LPI’s success. The efforts of all who assist the organization on a daily basis made this milestone a reality,” he said.

Lacey pointed out that this demonstrated the value of vendor-neutral certification overall, and showcases the incredible efforts made by the network of global affiliates to promote Linux professionalism.

Reacting to the development, stakeholders recognized LPI’s contribution to the advancement of Linux education and professionalism.

Some of those who responded include the senior vice president, skills certification, CompTIA, Mr. Terry Erdle, Director of Linux Strategy at IBM, Jean Staten Healy, vice president of marketing and developer services at the Linux Foundation, Amanda McPherson among others.

In his comment, Erdle from CompTIA, said technology adoption curve has continued to accelerate by placing increasing importance on the need to continually update the skills of the high-tech workforce.

“On-going education, training and certification of technology workers isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity,” he declared, adding that LPI fills a vital role in the professional development of current and future IT workers and this milestone is testament to the value that employers and individual workers place on their certification.

“CompTIA is pleased to partner with LPI as we work together to develop a strong Linux workforce,” he said.

For Healy, Director of Linux Strategy at IBM, “IBM recognizes LPI as a key resource to help IT professionals gain Linux skills.

“Linux continues to grow as a core technology for many of our clients, and they require a skilled technical community to help them meet their business goals,” Healy said.

And for McPherson, LPI has achieved another impressive milestone and this achievement is a testament to two things.

“One, LPI’s growth and durability as a Linux certification leader and two, the growing number of Linux professionals; We see tremendous job growth for Linux professionals even in this down market and LPI certification is a great piece of that story,” she said.

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Visafone ends 10-Cars in 10 Weeks promo

Visafone Communications Limited has ended its extended 10 Cars in 10 Weeks promo, last weekend.

The Deputy General Manager (DGM), Marketing and Strategy, Mr. Clifford Onyeike said that the promo ended with excitement and commendation from subscribers on the network, noting that the promo was launched as part of Easter celebration package.

He also said that before now, the 10 Cars in 10 Weeks produced four winners of brand new Kia Rio cars, while several others won over 200 fantastic prizes, including generating sets, Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) TV’s, Home Theatres, Washing Machines, CK Music phones, Motorola V9m phones and N1, 000 free airtime.

Welcoming guest at the finale held in Lagos, Mr. Onyeike expressed appreciation to customers for participating in the initiative since it started few weeks ago and also for identifying with the brand.

He said though the 10 Cars in 10 Weeks initiative has ended, Visafone would not rest in its efforts to reward customers.

“Visafone has been consistently and enthusiastically recognising and rewarding customers since its launch. It is the loyalty and consistent support of our customers which has made us Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile operator in just two years from launch, and we always seek to reciprocate that loyalty at every given opportunity,” he said.

So far, he said, a total of six cars and over 500 prizes have been won by several customers from across the country and today’s event, which marks the final draw, brings to end several weeks of excitement in the 10 Cars in 10 Weeks initiative.

Visafone is known for its programmes that reward its subscribers, apart from giving them value for money through attractive tariffs and excellent voice and data quality.

Visafone, which started commercial operation in February, 2008, is Nigeria’s 4th largest mobile operator by active subscriber base. Visafone today covers 24 states and over 171 cities across the country.

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Monarch endorses Glo in Benin Republic

The traditional ruler of Dahomey Abomey Kingdom in the Republic of Benin, His Royal Majesty Vidjinnangni Agboli-Agbo, has endorsed Globacom’s operations in the country.

Welcoming a team from the telecom brand to his kingdom recently, during the hosting of the Glo Laffta Fest show, the royal father stated that with the positive reports about the company before its arrival in Benin Republic, he had no doubt that Glo is a telecom brand for the people of Africa.

These reports, he said, have been further confirmed by Glo’s phenomenal achievements since it started operations in the country.

“Glo is a telecom brand for the people of Africa by Africa. Glo is the pride of Africa and we are very proud of your phenomenal achievements since you started operation in this country”, he said.

Also, he prayed for the continued success of Glo in the country and gave his blessing.

The Acting Chief Operating Officer (COO) expressed thank to the monarch for the reception and massive patronage Glo has enjoyed in his kingdom.

The Glo Laffta Fest show in Abomey was well attended by residents as well as Special Guests such as society big wigs including the representatives of the Mayor of Abomey, the representative of the King and Glo Master Partners.

Comedians who performed at the event held at the Maison de Jeunes include Pipi Wobaho, Elephant Mouille and Gerard Hounou from Benin Republic and Koro Abou from Cote d’Ivoire. Musicians who thrilled the audience with their popular tunes are Riss Cool and El Nazito from Abomey, Pasteur Guy from Côte d’Ivoire, All Baxx and Pélagie la Vibreuse from Benin Republic and Edou, a musician popular in both Benin and Côte d’Ivoire.

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SIM registration: ATCON commends legislature, says exercise is in progress

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has commended the federal legislature for backing the efforts to have the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards of telecom users in the country registered by putting same into law.

This is coming as ATCON canvassed for a 24 month implementation period, so as to make the SIM registration a success.

Speaking in Lagos, Monday at a press briefing, ATCON’s president, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu said that the recent order by the telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for operators to make certain registration of all subscribers within three months is not realistic though desirable.

He said that the intervention of the federal legislator’s by way of proposing a parliamentary Bill on SIM registration is a welcome development, stressing that ATCON, as an interested party has made some input too.

“We have already made contribution to the draft,” he said, but insisted that the campaign for SIM registration was started by ATCON and its members are already making efforts to ensure its success.

ATCON also wants NCC to engage Nigerians on the public enlightenment campaign, saying that it’s only NCC that could persuade subscribers in the country to adhere to SIM registration which is ongoing.

They noted that the campaign should not be left alone to the telecom operators, because Nigerians would perceive it as another means of ‘milking’ them.

On number portability, ATCON said that it is an acceptable industry management tool by which the industry could improve its service delivery.

“The benefits of number portability is however not as dramatic as to let it be handled in a hurry,” he warned, maintaining that while accepting its desirability a longer implementation period is equally desirable.

The group further called for lawful interception, especially for public security related issues, saying that this would ensure check and balances to avoid abuse, even as the rollout cost should be borne by the government, while an administrative review panel should be put in place to oversee the interception regulation and processes.

He maintained that at this era of convergence, there is need also to converge the regulatory organs of the government as far as the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is concerned, asserting that it is not only NCC and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as there are other agencies within the sector that would be brought to bear on convergence of regulation.

Meanwhile, determined to reform the industry, the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) recently migrated its website address to .ng, the nation’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).

With this development, ATCON website hitherto hosted at www.atcononline.org has been transferred to .ng, thus it could be accessed via www. atcon.org.ng.

National president, ATCON, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, made this disclosure at the second edition of the West African Information and Communications Technology (WAFICT) congress at the three-day event, which held in Lagos.

He also invited members of ATCON in the country, both individual and corporate to toe the line of ATCON by domesticating their domain identity in the cyberspace.

“In this regard, we invite all members of ATCON, indeed all telecommunication firms in Nigeria to commence the domestication of their domain identity in cyberspace,” he said.

According to him, ATCON has taken the lead in migrating own identity to atcon.org.ng and all other things related to that have been domesticated in the new Nigerian domain.

In addition, he disclosed that ATCON is working towards hosting the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) in the next eight years, which is 2018.

Expressing optimism on the sectoral growth, so far, the ATCON president, stressed that the next level of corporation in the West Africa’s ICT industry is cross-border synergies.

“So, as far as positivity goes, there is hardly a better time to be here as we ride on the crest of a wave geared towards moving our industry to the next level,” he said.

The Nigerian market by all indication, he said, is not a blank canvass, hence it is necessary, and to address certain structural and infrastructural problems that might give the illusion or may be presented as if there is a saturated market on hand already.

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Confab on ICT environment unveils website

The organizers of the conference on Multiple Taxation at the Conference on ICT and the Nigerian environment, have announced the creation of a website, www.ictenvironmentconference.com for the purpose of enhancing the benefits of the talkshop.

A press statement signed by Aaron Ukodie, chief executive officer, eWorld Magazine, showed that the website would provide information and aid interaction as well as discussions on the issues slated for discussion during and after the conference.

Also, he said that some of the speakers for the event with the theme: ICT and the Nigerian Environment 2010: Appropriate Taxation and Promotion of Healthy Environmentally Friendly Technologies, have confirmed their readiness for.

He further said that the one-day event scheduled for July 30 at Sheraton Hotels, Lagos, would play host to the Lagos state Commissioner of Science and Technology, Dr Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat, MTN Corporate Services Executive, Wale Goodluck, President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu and Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo.

Others listed as speakers include Prof. Cleopas Angaye of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Chairperson of the Joint Tax Board, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru.

The event is being jointly organized by the African Independent Television (AIT), eWorld Magazine, Tribe Media and IT Edgenews.com are collaborating to host the first all-encompassing conference on ICT and the Nigerian environment.

Ukodie explained that the conference is designed to bring stakeholders together from the public and private sector to address the common challenges of safety and profit-taxing that has been areas of conflict between government authorities and service providers.

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Remita e-Pension roundtable attracts high participation

Over 70 senior pension industry executives at the weekend, participated at a roundtable conference organised by Remita e-Pension solution.

These participants were drawn from 25 Pension Fund Administrators and Custodians who met to discuss and share experiences on e-Pension and e-Payment at a Remita workshop in Lagos.

According the Head, Brand & Marketing, Mr. Moses Braimah the strategic workshop tagged ‘Remita e-Payment and e-Pension’ was organized by SystemSpecs for pension industry stakeholders to discuss among other things, the implications of the Central Bank of Nigeria Payment System Vision 202020 mandate on e-Payment as it relates to pension contribution remittances and retirees pension processing and payment.

In his speech, the Managing Director, SystemSpecs, Mr. John Obaro, was quoted in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online as reiterating the need for all stakeholders to continue to work together to achieve operational efficiency, optimize internal operations and empower employer organizations to meet e-Payment regulatory requirements while remitting her employees’ pension contributions.

Obaro noted that a true e-Payment solution should enable a user to view consolidated bank balances across multiple banks on a single screen, end-to-end processing of all payments electronically, conduct multi-bank activity from just one place, and replicate an existing payment workflow.

He also said that Remita e-Pension provides additional capability for an employer to remit its employee pension contribution with appropriate schedules delivered to applicable Pension Administrators and Custodians electronically.

Group Head, Corporate Strategy at SystemSpecs, Dr. Hakeem Bakare, said Remita e-Pension solution has the capability to deliver funds to the account of Pensions Administrators and matching schedule to relevant parties electronically.

“This will eliminate a major challenge confronting the pension industry in Nigeria,” he said.

Equally, some of the participants who spoke at the event applauded Systemspecs for the roundtable.

Head, Contributions at UBA Pension Fund Custodians, Mr. Dotun Adebayo, described it as “very good initiative, successful implementation will address core problems in the pension industry.”

For the Senior Manager, First Guarantee Pensions Limited, Mrs. Joan Mbachu, “The workshop was a good medium for introducing Remita e-Pension and it afforded me the opportunity to understand the process from A-Z.”

Remita e-Pension is an electronic courier service that rides on secured e-payment platforms to deliver funds to bank accounts and associated schedules to PFAs/ PFCs and other relevant parties at the click of a button.

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Ericsson demonstrates ‘fastest internet’ in Johannesburg

Ericsson has commenced the demonstration of the fastest internet technology in the world at its Johannesburg office in South Africa.

Disclosing this, Manager, Marketing & Communications, LM Ericsson Nigeria, Ms Omasan Ogisi, said that the demonstration was part of showcase of the latest in multimedia and broadband technologies, including Long Term Evolution (LTE).

She also confirmed that this demonstration would last between June 21 and July 16, this year.

Ogisi pointed out that the showcasing of LTE cum Fourth Generation (4G) with a speed of 150 Mega bits per second (Mbps) and High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) evolution with up to 84 Mbps in the downlink, thrilled visitors at the opening of the session.

In addition, she said that Ericsson would be exhibiting end-to-end what the company is doing with Mobile TV, multimedia, networks and business communication suites to name a few.

Ogisi in a supporting press statement made available to ITRealms Online, quoted the Head, Ericsson Region sub-Saharan Africa, Lars Lindén, as saying that LTE/4G is the continued evolution of the 2G and 3G networks and is an integral part of the full service broadband concept.

“As the next generation of mobile communication technology, it enables the fast transfer of the increasing amounts of data in an efficient and cost-effective way, optimizing the use of the scarce frequency spectrum,” Linden said, stressing that high-speed data over mobile networks enables a rich suite of services and applications such as multimedia-based, business-centric, or just for enjoyment.

“The increased speed and significantly decreased response times, especially latency, which means that consumers can enjoy a wide range of applications such as real-time multiplayer online action gaming, social media collaboration and video conferencing effortlessly and while on the move,” Linden noted.

The statement explained that just like the Internet, the larger and faster your “pipe”, the faster you could access data.

Citing for instance that downloading a song like Waka Waka (the popular football anthem) or a three minute music video for example, on a slower network could take several minutes; however, using a 100Mbps connection, these could be downloaded in under a second.

“This ultra fast speed, coupled with new handsets from Sony Ericsson and S Ericsson, opens the way to a new exciting multi-media world. Imagine the possibilities and the access that such speeds will provide to you in a multi-application rich future. How many such clips keep you ‘hanging’ when browsing the Web of today?” part of the statement read.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

USPF to deploy Wazobia Linux operating system

The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) has recommended the deployment of Leapsoft’s Wazobia Linux Operating System (OS) and local language keyboard accessible in Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo, at the Community Communication Centres nationwide.

Wazobia Linux OS is a complete Linux-based operating system designed and developed by Leapsoft Nigeria Limited to deliver quality desktop computing solutions that combine the best of open source technologies with a corporate attention to completeness, usability, and support.

Also, it represents the next step in the evolution of the desktop computing on the continent of Africa and the rest of the developing world.

USPF was established in 2003 by the Federal Government of Nigeria to facilitate the rapid achievement of national policy goals for universal access to telecommunications, information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Disclosing this, at the weekend, the leading advocate of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) at the Kaduna-based Cybernauts.com, Mr. Cyril Terseer Nyulaku, noted that USPF recommended a nationwide proponent of its Community Communication Centres (CCC) taking advantage of Leapsoft’s Wazobia Linux OS and local language keyboard.

“These CCC exist in all the 36 states of Nigeria and Abuja. It is the first time such an endorsement is made for FOSS in Nigeria by a Federal Government agency,” he declared.

Nyulaku, who also is Internet Governance policy expert, said the project proposal was a submission of Cybernauts.com, Solidways Ventures and Dialogue Global Links for the Community Communication Centres (CCC).

“It’s a win-win for us and we are happy for Leapsoft,” he asserted.

Stressing that so far, they have been able to deploy over 3,000 personal computers (PCs) running Linux operating systems and other applications in all the Community Communication Centres and school access spread in the northern part of the country for USPF related projects.

“We have on-going for the above proponent, over 10,000 computers deployments to be made for USPF’s Community Communication Centres (CCC) and school access in various selected communities and schools in Northern Nigeria,” he said.

Nyulaku pointed out that the aforementioned are not devoid of the problem of the popularity of Windows Operating System (OS), hence, in view of this, some of the deployments are with Windows for now.

“… With the plan to migrate later to Linux OS when we can train users,” he said.

ITRealms Online gathered that Wazobia Linux provides everything today’s computer user needs for home and office desktop computing, including a stabilized, secure, stable and reliable, user-friendly Linux based operating system plus a complete set of desktop applications office suite, web browser, instant messaging client, multimedia viewers, and graphical software. It also offers the latest open source applications for developing applications, setting up a home network, running a web server to name a few.

Additionally, Wazobia Linux comprises over 16,000 pieces of software, but the core desktop installation fits on a single compact disc (CD), even as the OS is accessible in Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo, to make users feel more at home in their computing environment while Leapsoft provides professional support for Wazobia Linux.

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SystemSpecs introduces Remita Pension e-payment

Nigeria leading software house, SystemSpecs Limited, has introduced is Remita electronic payment (e-payment) solution to Pension Fund Administrators (PFA) and Pension fund Custodians (PFC).

Addressing the over 100 pension-related professionals on Tuesday in Lagos, during a Remita workshop, the chief executive officer, SystemSpecs, Mr. John Obaro said that the core objective is to introduce the Remita Pension e-payment to the participants in that sub-sector.

He also said that it afforded participant the opportunity to go through the process of downloading pension schedules and making retirees’ pension payments.

Remita Pension, he said, is a world class electronic courier service that rides on ePayment platforms to deliver funds to bank accounts and associated schedules to relevant bodies in pre-specified formats.

“It is a one-stop solution that enables organisations, PFAs and PFCs to manage pension contribution remittances, pension benefits processing and payment to retirees,” he said.

According to him, the key functionality of Remita Pension contribution allows organisations to make their pension contributions to PFAs/PFCs with matching schedules delivered to these bodies.

On the retiree pensions' payment module, Mr. Obaro said that Remita facilitates PFA and PFC payment to retiree pensioners their pension benefits.

He explained that participants in the transaction processing on Remita Pension include employer and the pension managers.

Employers, he said, are the transaction initiators who lead processes and authorize the collation of information of all beneficiaries and also payment transactions.

“As part of the workflow process, the transaction initiator starts the e-payment process,” he declared.

Obaro pointed out that the first level of approval is crucial and is where the initiated transaction is confirmed through defined approval groups.

As said by him, the final approval stage is the point where all confirmation has been done and the transaction is set for payment.

“Our solution does not allow one user to play more than one role with respect to the processing of any single transaction. The system requires the Personal Identification Number (PIN) and biometric approval before payment is executed,” he said.

The SystemSpecs boss equally said that payment execution is done by the final approver who sends instruction to funding or paying banks to pay into PFC’s account.

Based on the advice received by pension managers, Remita Pension prompts PFC officers that their account has been funded.

“The PFA and PFC can log in to Remita Pension to download the associated schedule,” he asserted.

Stressing that the some of the features of Remita Pension include the offer of multi-platform, multi-bank debit, multi-party schedule delivery, seamless integration, status of transactions at all times, comprehensive reports, security and control.

Additionally, he said that Remita Pension provides detail description of activities of all logged users, just as the report is available to responsible officers in any organisation, even as approvals could be categorized by amount limits.

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Gill, Adebayo join Starcomms board

The management of Starcomms Plc has announced the appointment of two new top officers.
These include Messrs Richard Gill and Olutunde Adebayo, who would work as Directors of Marketing and Business Enterprise respectively.

The new Marketing Director, Mr. Gill, is an engineer with an MBA and comes on board Starcomms with a wealth of experience from several telecommunications markets across the world.

Also, the new Director, Business Enterprise, Mr. Olutunde Adebayo has held a range of senior management positions spanning over 20 years in world class organizations, including Vodafone Global Enterprise, BT Retail & Global Services, LogicaCMG, T-Mobile , British Gas and London Electricity plc.

Commenting on these appointments, the chief executive officer, Starcomms, Mr. Maher Qubain, said that Gill and Adebayo were appointed to strengthen the operations of Starcomms, in order to add more value and help sustain the innovation drive of the telecom operator.

He pointed out that Gill has held several senior positions in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and South America in companies such as Verizon Communications, T-Mobile International and Digicel, in addition to over 20-year marketing experience in telecommunications and utilities.

Mr. Maher noted that Adebayo was a Principal Consultant for BT Telconsult setting up the enterprise business unit for MTN Nigeria.

Adebayo, a graduate of Political Economy with an MSc in Information Systems & Technology has the new role of managing and growing the enterprise business unit for Starcomms Plc.

Starcomms leads Nigeria’s telecomm industry in providing triple-play services. It pioneered the 1xEV-DO-based mobile broadband deployment in the country and launched i-Zap which provides high speed mobile internet for Customers and businesses in Nigeria.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Glo unveils 0815

The Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom Limited, has unveiled 08125 as the latest in its Mobile Subscriber Identification Digital Numbers (MSIDN) for new on the network.

Disclosing this, the Group Chief Operating Officer (GCOO) at Globacom, Mr. Mohamed Jameel, said that the new number series followed the expansion of the network’s capacity and a rapid increase in its subscriber base, “hence the need to create room for new customers.”

Also, Jameel said, this means that 10 million more subscribers could sign on to the network and enjoy “sharp voice quality calls and the most competitive prices”.

According to him, new subscribers would enjoy a vast array of value added services and products including the newly introduced Glosoccer that updates users on football scores, the Frenszo Chat service that enables registered subscribers to find and make friends on the network; Prepaid and Postpaid Blackberry, Mobile Internet, massive coverage across Nigeria and roaming in several countries across the world.

He explained that the 0815 series is the fourth number prefix to be deployed by Globacom an indication of a reputation of the fastest growing networks on the continent and the Middle East.

“Glo Mobile rolled out in August 2003 with the 0805 number series. This was then followed by the 0807 and 0705 MSIDN series,” he said.

Jameel further said that the 0815 series is already available in dealers’ shops and in Gloworld outlets around the country.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Experts canvass for IPv6 task force

Group of concerned Information Technology (IT) experts across the continent of Africa have canvassed for the setting up of Internet Protocol version Six (IPv6) Task Force, to enhance the adoption of this latest version of IP.

IPv6 is an Internet Protocol version designed to succeed IPv4, the first implementation which is still in dominant use at present, but is expected to go into complete depletion by mid 2011. IP is an Internet layer protocol for packet-switched internet works, while IPv6 was defined in December 1998 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) with the publication of an Internet standard specification through its Request for Comment (RFC) 2460 and supports 2128 (about 3.4×1038) addresses.

This expansion provides flexibility in allocating addresses and routing traffic and eliminating the primary need for Network Address Translation (NAT), which gained widespread deployment as an effort to alleviate IPv4 address exhaustion.

Leading the proposal for the African Task Force on IPv6 in a submission made available to ITRealms Online from the African Network Information Center (AfriNIC), Technical head of the Egyptian IPv6 test beds and labs, Smart Village, Giza-Cairo, Mr. Hisham Ahmed Ibrahim, lamented that only Africa is the continent yet to get this kind of task force.

AfriNIC is a non-government, not-for-profit, membership organization, based in Mauritius that serves the African Internet Community.

The call, Ibrahim noted has become crucial to ignite general acceptance and consensus from African countries and organizations active in the field of Internet and access, towards the official launch of an African regional IPv6 Task Force.

“Africa is the only region in the world without a regional task force concerned mainly with IPv6 and its regional development, which led to some allegations from foreign organizations that the African community needs chaperoning when it comes to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development, especially in regard to the Internet and IPv6,” he said.

According to him, starting such a regional organization with the help of the already established Internet concerned African organizations, well educated and trained African technical community, would help to bring together Local Internet Registries (LIR), regional efforts and even governments to focus on one of the most anticipated Internet issues these days, which is IPv6.

Ibrahim pointed out that with less than 7 per cent of the IPv4 blocks left in the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) pool, predictions are that total depletion would come to the fore within the middle of next year.

“These predictions do not take into consideration the impact of distributing the final 5-8 blocks among the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs),” he said, stressing that Africa should take a stand now to face such a challenge and to turn that imminent date into an opportunity.

He urged for contributions that would make this regional initiative up and running as soon as humanly possible.

He also explained that the establishment of the task force is to assemble a group of African experts, all over the continent that work mainly with nations, LIRs and Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) on fully supporting and implementing IPv6 capabilities and down streaming these capabilities to their consumers using African experiences and knowhow.

As at the time of going to the press, the proposal has begun to receive commendations and supports across the continent from various experts and expert groups.

One of such supports came from the president of the global body for IPv6 Forum, Mr. Latif Ladid, who described it as a “highly welcome initiative,” and promised to have a roundtable on that subject when he visits Egypt in early next month.

Ladid also disclosed that he has extended the request to the chairpersons of the currentIPv6 Forum chapters on the continent of Africa, namely Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Kenya and Ghana.

Endorsing the initiative, Uganda-based IT expert, who gave his name as Mr. Amos, said that they are in the process of establishing country-based task force to lead the adoption of IPv6.

“I strongly welcome the idea of having this championed at the Regional level,” he declared.

Another Ugandan expert, Mr. Paul Ikanza, noted that implementing the adoption in African countries has witnessed some frustration in spite of lots of training camps and IPv6 is covered every time there is a technical workshop or conference.

“But I have realized there isn’t a structure beyond the awareness campaign cum training, so there is a definite gap. My government, for example, has not actively planned for this issue to my knowledge. I have even gone as far as contacting the press to give it mass coverage but it seemed like I was being alarmist,” he said.

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A decade of telephony liberalization in Nigeria

As Nigerians continue to celebrate enhanced access to communication made possible by opening up of the industry. REMMY NWEKE x-rays a decade of realistic liberalization of telephony in the country.

Historically, the liberalization of telecommunications in the Nigeria may have started in 1992 with about 300,000 telephones, mainly fixed lines, with a few expensive cellular mobiles available and practically displayed as part of affluence by very little number of wealthy citizens in the country.

Defined as an electronic device, a mobile phone or ‘mobile’ which is also called cellphone and handphone; is used for mobile telecommunications via mobile phone calls, text messaging or data transmission over a cellular network of specialized base stations known as cell sites.

Experts at a free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, highlighted that mobile phones differ from cordless telephones, which only offer telephone service within limited range through a single base station attached to a fixed land line. They cited an instance that ‘low-end’ mobile phones are often referred to as feature phones, while ‘high-end’ otherwise called ‘smartphones’ are mobile phones that come with more advanced computing ability, including support for Internet access, electronic mail (email), gaming, Bluetooth, infrared, camera, multimedia messaging service (MMS), Media Players (MPs), radio and Global Positioning System (GPS).

Notably, the first hand held phone was traced to a demonstration by Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973, which weighed two kilos and 17 years later, in 1990, an estimated 12.4 million people worldwide had cellular subscriptions and also 19 years afterward, precisely in 2009, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions have reached approximated 4.6 billion globally, which is, about 300 times the 1990 figure, thus it became a phenomenal economic revolution, mostly in a developing country like Nigeria.

On the hand, fixed telephony or landline and in some instances referred to as ‘main line’ or fixed line,’ is a telephone line that is inflexible, therefore, attached permanently to a phone box through a cable from a major source routing into homes and offices.

Though reputed to have a solid medium, either through metal wire or optical fibre, as against a mobile cellular line, where transmission is via radio waves; landlines usually have a lower price for calling time, and the user hardware costs less than mobile phones, but they are less convenient in terms of accessibility.

A land line is also used to increase the security of communications, as it cannot be intercepted by a receiver without physical access to the line. So, a fixed phone line is the opposite of a mobile phone line, which could be hard-wired or wireless in modern age.

Although fixed wireless devices get their electrical power supply from the main utility stations, like Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), in contrast, mobile wireless or portable wireless tend to be battery-powered. Main difference could be located in the ability of the fixed locations; because the efficiency and bandwidth are compromised if comparing fixed systems against the mobile aspect. In more advanced nation’s mobiles act as emergency backups for fixed lines in case of a power blackout or natural disaster.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report in 2003 approximated that 1.263 billion main telephone lines exist globally, with China having 350 million, and the United States coming second with 268 million. Equally, in 2008 it was discovered that there were 1,270,000,000 fixed line subscribers worldwide, against estimated 4.6 billion mobiles as at December 2009, that is, 67.0 per cent growth.

However, in Nigeria it took the then Federal Minister of Communications, Chief Olawale Ige, an engineer, to sell the idea of harmonizing the existence and operations of telecommunications companies via a presentation to the Supreme Military Council (SMC) leaders at that time, headed by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangada (IBB); on the essence of establishing a Commission to take charge of telecommunications, whose approval paved the way for what is known today as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

This consent by the Babangada-led SMC encouraged the Minister of Communications to engage the consultancy of another reputed engineer, Mr. Vincent Maduka, resulting in the enactment of Decree 75 of November 1992. Maduka was to explore the modalities within which the proposed Commission was to be established and the processes. This also gave birth to the founding of NCC as part of the Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Communications (MoC) with Engineer Cletus Ogbonna Iromantu as the pioneer Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), who worked assiduously during the tutelage without a board, practically.

And at the expiration of Iromantu’s administration, Dr. Emmanuel Nnama was appointed into the office of EVC with the mandate of seeing to practical liberalization of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria. Although his leadership reportedly embarked on the process in what some experts described as ‘part-liberalisation,’ which gave rise to the persistent clamour by industry associations, for instance, the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) presided over at that time by Mr. Ernest Chukwuka-Anene Ndukwe.

Dr. Nnama’s leadership was short-lived, when Ndukwe, himself, was asked in the first quarter of 2000 to come and essentially implement the ‘holistic liberalization’ as being canvassed by his group hitherto, following the disbanding of the Ministerial Committee that organized the first Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) licensing regime under his predecessor.

By this time, the subscription of telephone lines, mainly fixed were a little in excess of 400,000, while mobile was 20,000 lines. These were nothing to write home about for a nation of over 100 million population and by 2001, despite debates on the kind of technology to be deployed by the operators under the GSM platform eventually, the repeat of the Digital Mobile licensing rounds took yet another centre stage, in collaboration with the Federal Government’s agency in-charge of privatization, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE).

So, following the conclusion of the bidding process under Ndukwe’s watchful administration beside the World Bank’s interest in developing this sector, the exercise, was this time tagged ‘most successful auction’ due to the transparency involved. This saw to the emergence of the likes of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, Econet Nigeria Limited and the third operator being the mobile arm of the state-owned Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) – Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTel), thereby, charging the telecom landscape in the country.

By August 2003, another round of license was awarded to Globacom Limited as the Second National Operator (SNO), coming after NITEL which is the first national carrier. These licenses made the sector more competitive and most Nigerians who were staved of communication through modern technologies during NITEL’s monopoly era, welcomed this development with both arms, with people acquiring mobile phones and even for relatives and friends, so as to stay in touch.

March 2006 saw the regulator, NCC, advancing arrangements to grant the Unified Access Service Licenses, of which eight companies emerged successful in the exercise after paying the prescribed fee among other conditions.

Outlining the criteria for the unified license regime at the peak of the exercise, Ndukwe told ITRealms Online that existing licensees must meet the criteria, with an active and operating network infrastructure, have a customer base of at least 10,000 connected subscribers or justifiable evidence of financial capability for substantial network rollout in response to the call for expression of interest.

Applicants, he said, must be up to date with payment of all fees and charges due to the Commission such as Annual Operating Levy (AOL), spectrum and numbering fees, and must have submitted the annual audited accounts, up to date on payment of company tax and equipment type approval, while current in settlement of interconnection obligations.

For new applicants, the immediate past NCC chief executive officer, had said, would be subjected to the usual licensing application requirement. Explaining that the service area would be as in the original licenses issued by the Commission to the applicant, stressing that a nationwide mobile or Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) license would be converted in a nationwide Unified License and a regional FWA or PNL license would be converted into a Unified License that covers the same region.

He noted that the scope of license covered fixed telephony whether wired or wireless, digital mobile, international gateway, national long distance, regional long distance services respectively, even as the Commission proposed that National Mobility would cost N260m, while Regional Mobility was based on the tier structure, running between N9m and N33m for the licensing fees.

Then, in January 2007, Mubadala Development Company acquired a renewable 15-year Unified Access License (UAL) via the Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services (EMTS) as the fifth GSM operator trading under Etisalat Nigeria for the sum of $400million, about N516 million with 40 per cent stake sold to Etisalat.

According to the current president, ATCON, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, a telecom engineer, the 10-year tenure of Ndukwe at NCC as the EVC, has been severally described as the ‘Telecommunication Revolution era’ in Nigeria, because, apart from setting up a well accepted standard internationally, he was able to build an institution, which is unusual in this part of the world.

Still, investigations by ITRealms Online revealed that one thing that was missing in the most part of Ndukwe’s 10-year in office, was the database of development within the sector, which actually came to the fore at the end of 2005, when teledensity was calculated based on population estimate of 126 million as at December of that year.

While from December 2006, the teledensity evaluation was based on a population of 140 million, whereas from December 2007, teledensity was calculated on active subscribers due to avalanche growth in mobile phone access. This practically rendered NITEL’s over 400,000 fixed lines invalid, mainly due to the poor quality of service and customer relations previously, which existed prior to the advent of GSM in the country.

Nevertheless, as at April 2010, Nigeria has grown teledensity by 56.32 per cent with a total of 146,600,937 subscribers spread across all networks. The Fixed wired cum wireless platform amounted to 9,327,586; mobile based on Code Division Multiple Access (CMDA) accounted for 13,148,043, while mobile growth on GSM recorded 124,125,308, according to NCC’s datasheet, maintaining that mobile subscription has clocked over 78 million active subscribers.

In granting licenses since the liberalization of the industry began over a decade ago, NCC has classified this into Class and Individual licenses respectively.

As indicated by NCC’s sources, under the Class licenses exist sales and installation of terminal equipment including Mobile Cellular Phones and High Frequency (HF), Very high frequency (VHF) and Ultra high frequency (UHF) radio, to name a few. This is in addition to licensing of those who operate in the repairs and maintenance of telecom facilities, cabling, Tele-centre/Cyber Café, and public payphone.

On the other hand, Individual licenses comprised of what NCC tagged as ‘Basic Licenses’ namely Community Telephony, Internet Services, Prepaid Card Calling Services, Public Payphone Services, Sales and Installation, Voice Mail, even as the ‘Major licenses’ include Unified Access Service License, Digital Mobile License (DML) otherwise called the GSM, Electronic Directory Information Services, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite (GMPCS), Internet Exchange, International Gateway, Interconnect Exchange, Metropolitan (Fibre) Cable Network, National Carrier, National Long Distance Communications (NLDO), Public Mobile Communications Trunk Radio Services, and Public Mobile Communications Vehicle Tracking Services.

Under the Private Network Links (PNL) equally referred to as fixed, there are Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) for hubs and international as well as domestic services, International Data Access, Fixed Telephony, Local Exchange Operators, International Submarine Cable Infrastructure and Landing Station Services, Value Added Network (Special Numbering) Services, Collocation Services, Central Equipment Identity Registry Services, Non-Commercial Closed User Radio Networks for non-telecoms companies, and Commercial Basic Radio Communications Network Services.

Above all, the Nigerian Communications Commission has approximated 35 licenses on offer and this figure is not static as the telecommunications market expands into a complete converged Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector, with Nigerians watching in anticipation the unification of about three various regulatory agencies of the government; involving communications, broadcasting and software management, which has been overdue since 2008 when the Ministries of Information and Communications were merged as one.

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Adeleke tasks Nigerian youths on Internet usage

President, Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), Chief Samuel Adeleke, has tasked Nigerian youths on the use of the internet.

Speaking recently at the 2010 edition of the Nigeria Internet Governance forum organized by the Digital Sense Africa (DSA) in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Lagos, Chief Adeleke said that youths should take the bull by the horn and explore the internet positively.

He recalled that there was a time in Nigeria when some creative individuals came up with the concept of filling bread nylon and then called it ‘ice water’, which was being sold at the traffic due to the tropical weather of the country and people were patronizing it.

“Those of you who remember the initial pure water that is, a polythene or nylon bag used for bread, filled with water and wrapped on top,” he noted, stressing that it was then called ‘ice water.

According to him, the person that has the best of innovative ideas would carry the day.

Pointing out that the idea came because it was usually sold on the road during traffic and somewhere decided to package it into pure water, which is today being sealed by machines for mass production and in fact being produced at almost every cranny of the country.

Adeleke, therefore charged Nigerian youths to be an idea creator as far as the internet is concerned, because by the time others would discover it, he or she must have made sufficient money.

“Be an idea creator so that when others join, you must have made your money. And that is my appeal to you,” he urged.

Also speaking, the president, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Mr. Lanre Ajay, said that in discussing Internet Governance, there are key issues that come to the fore, namely security, openness and privacy as well as access, diversity and critical Internet resources.

For Ajayi, he did not see reason why some computers could not be made to use local languages to enable locals to read their own information on the internet in their own languages or local dialect.

“This means, we must have computers that could be used in those local languages that have key board that support local languages,” Ajayi said.

Pointing out that Google and Yahoo are companies that are solely based on the Internet and they are making more money than the oil companies in Nigeria and there are some other smaller Internet based.

The Nigeria Internet Governance Forum is the second that DSA is organizing with NCC, while this year’s global edition would hold in September, 2010 in Lithuania.

ITRealms Online recalls that Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is run by the IGF secretariat, with the purpose of supporting the United Nations Secretary-General in carrying out the mandate from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) with regard to convening a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue - the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

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Alternatives to cybercrime by Akinyemi

A Lagos-based internet enthusiasts and motivational speaker, Mr. Adeolu Akinyemi, has said there are alternatives to cybercrime.

He made this observation while speaking on ‘The Alternatives,’ at the recent launch of the Maga No Need Pay tunes and video, as part of the campaign against cyber crimes in the country, organized by the Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) with the support from software giant, Microsoft Corporation and in partnership with the Osun State University and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

Mr. Akinyemi, said that it takes the same effort and time to commit crime and to think positively and make honest living.

Equally, he suggested that those who are involving themselves in cyber crimes could take to singing, acting and even online marketing to name a few alternative options.

According to him, the ability to follow positive instructions and perseverance were the keys for success in all endeavours.

He cautioned that those who make their so-called wealth through cybercrime otherwise called 419 after a section of Nigerian constitution on crime could be making their money very easily when the opportunity calls, but the bottom line is that it goes as quickly as it is gotten.

This is coupled with lack of freedom associated with such a trade, emphasizing that Internet is still a goldmine, advising that before one could find the gold wherever it exists, there are lots of ‘rubbish’.

He encouraged Nigerian youths to preserve in their efforts to grow and become notable individuals of tomorrow.

Akinyemi also decried that efforts of the few bad eggs who indulge in 419 trade mess up the efforts of the greater number of Nigerians, but expressed optimism that with more youths doing positive things, especially online, the bad eggs efforts would be overcome.

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AfriNIC names four new directors

With the conclusion of the African Network Information Center (AfriNIC) board of directors’ election, four new directors have joined the executive chamber of the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa.

Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Adiel A. Akplogan, who confirmed this at the weekend, said that as a result of the board elections which took place during the AfriNIC-12 public member and policy meeting on Thursday, June 3, 2010, in Kigali.

AfriNIC’s general assembly meets once a year while its Public Policy Meetings are held twice a year, one back-to-back with the General Assembly.

“We‘re pleased to announce the election of the candidates to the AfriNIC’s board,” he said.

Akplogan, listed the names of the newly elected board members to include Messrs Mr. Nezar N. Sami (Egypt) and Mr. Khaled Koubaa (Tunisia) respectively as primary and alternate directors from the Northern Africa region. While Senegalese Mrs. Ndeye Maimouna Diop Diagne and Malian, Mr. Alioune B. Traore respectively were made board member as primary and alternate directors from the Western Africa region.

He also said that the terms of the newly elected board members would commence on July 1, this year, and would elapse after a three-year period.

In his congratulatory message to the new board members, the chief executive officer wished them success in their new positions.

“On behalf of the 2010 election committee, we would like to thank all the other candidates that stood for this election for their interest in serving the community,” he said, expressing appreciation to the elections committee and its chair for their good job in coordinating the whole process.

ITRealms Online recalled that a Nigerian expert in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, Mr. Obinna Nweje and seven others from various African countries were nominated into the league of candidates to battle for the board of directors in the African Network Information Center (AfriNIC) is the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa for this year.

At the close of nominations on May 14, this year, board election to be held in Kigali on June 5th, 2010.

According to the list made available to ITRealms Online, North Africa region has two candidates namely Nezar Sami, and Khaled Koubaa; while the West Africa region has the highest candidates of six, viz, Mouhamet Diop, Katim S. Touray, Yen Choi, Alioune Badara Traore, Obinna Nweje and Ndeye Maimouna Diop Diagne.

AfriNIC is a non-governmental and not-for-profit membership based organisation, with main role being to serve African region as Regional Internet Registry, by spearheading Internet technology and policy development on the continent.

AfriNIC’s core values are to operate with transparency, professionalism and efficiency; committed to integrity in all that we do, always and everywhere; recognize and value individual contribution and teamwork; cultural and language diversity in our region; technology driven organization that encourages continuous learning and innovation; value collaboration and cooperation with related organizations.

The AfriNIC organizational structure is set to encourage a bottom-up self governance management model where policies and other organisational functions are determined by the community in general and members who elect representatives that seat on the Board of Directors.

The discussions are conducted via both public meetings and e-mail discussion lists, whereas there are no requirements or pre-requisites for any person or entity to participate.

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Data revenue to surpass voice by 2015 – Titilayo

Managing Director, SWAP Telecoms and Technologies, Mr. Babatunde Titilayo has identified some future potentials of telecommunications industry in the country, predicting that data revenue would surpass voice revenue in the next five years.

Speaking at the West Africa Information and Communications Technology (WAFICT) congress’ session on CEO’s perspective future potential and challenges, said that future development would see to the full convergence of fixed and mobile internet market, which would open new market.

Also, he said, that the emergence of wireless broadband through home network and mobile device would continue to rise, while mobile network operators (MNOs) revenue from data services would grow stronger than voice revenue over the years leading to 2015.

He stressed that the emerging would be driven by data demand, new Third Generation (3G) licenses and would see to the reduction in bandwidth cost in the country.

“There would be a shift from Second Generation (2G) to 3G services, which would also open up the market space,” he said.

Mr. Titilayo pointed out that operators are currently looking at taking transformative measures and sometimes disruptive model to current business models to differentiate themselves from peers with the intense competition in the industry and provide needed quality services to ever demanding mobile users at a reduced operating cost.

“Therefore, outsourcing and forging strategic alliances with specialist companies looks the only best way out,” he said.

The SWAP boss, further predicted that with less than 60 percent teledensity, the telecom industry has not reached the maturity stage.

“We will get to 80 per cent teledensity on a per capita basis to talk of maturity so there are potentials even though at very much reduced Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) ,” he said.

He noted though the fact that there are challenges for operators for the aforementioned to be achieved, in addition to lesser revenue cum subscriber-base at the same cost.

Titilayo emphasized that in making choice to survive and continue to grow ARPU in the Nigerian telecom market, operators are faced with three choices.

“… To thrive, to survive or to die; What they can control is cost and high cost can kill any company,” he asserted.

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Zinox launches e-learning revision suite

Internationally certified personal computers brand in the country, Zinox Computers, has launched electronic learning revision suite in effort to bring relief to all stake holders in the nation’s education sector.

Announcing this last weekend, Head, Zinox e-Learning, Mrs. Loretta Agbakoba, said that this service is available through the Zinox Card, stressing that the new e-learning tool provides students with over 80, 000 questions and answers suitable as revision materials in Senior School Certificates Examinations, NECO, GCE, JAMB, and other qualification examinations into tertiary institutions.

“These practice modules are most likely to end the era of poor performance in examinations,” she said. Mrs. Agbakoba also said that the Zinox revision modules were designed to complement sound teaching and learning processes, restore the credibility of the schools and schools’ examinations, and substantially reduce the alarming proportions of examinations malpractices in Nigeria.

She explained that these modules were perfect examination revision tools because they help students to master the content of their syllabus and at the same time make them proficient in the practical details of exams.

“Students can choose from eight academic subjects, moderates his/her answers with timing, check answers, and personally monitor performance. The experience produces more confident students who would definitely score high grades in their examinations,” she said.

Recalling that about 60 per cent of Nigerian students failed to meet the bare minimum standards for admission into tertiary institutions, noting that from the remaining 40 per cent who met the minimum cut-off marks most scored close to it, not really showing commendable academic brilliance.

She expressed the hope that the new e-learning tool from Zinox eLearning Technologies would aid millions of high school students to achieve the mastery needed to succeed in their future qualification examinations for tertiary institutions.

The revision modules, she said are being upgraded on a daily basis in keeping with the international standards of the World e-Books Library, disclosing that the inclusion of the revision modules would enhance the indispensability of the Zinox Card as Nigeria’s foremost source for e-books and education resources.

She, therefore, called on parents, teachers, school administrators and governments to obtain the Zinox Card for their wards.

ITRealms Online recalled that in 2009, Zinox Computers launched its exclusive partnership with the World e-Books Library (WEL), a leading public on-line library with over a million titles and documents in stock.

The partnership is a strategic alliance to introduce a new technically cutting edge e-knowledge product in Nigeria. The product is a very powerful web based e-knowledge tool that differentiated the Zinox brand and accelerated customer satisfaction by innovatively empowering users of Zinox Computers with the world’s largest e-library service, with over 1,000,000 e-books.

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South-East: Obi of Onitsha applauds Glo

The traditional ruler of Onitsha Ado Kingdom, His Royal Majesty (HRM), Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe has applauded the second national telecom operator, Globacom, for providing a remarkable quality of service in the south eastern part of the country.

This acclamation came during a courtesy visit on the monarch by officials of Globacom from the South East regional led by the Business Director for the region, Mr. Ralph Ehimhen.

Igwe Achebe said that rapid roll out in Onitsha and its environs cannot be overlooked, expressing the hope that Glo has been exhibit a truly Nigerian company commitment towards bringing the best of telecom services to the people.

He recalled that Globacom’s contract package was chosen as the official line for staff during his days at the Shell Petroleum Development Company, adding that Glo’s services have made a significant impact on the cost and manner of doing business in the commercial city of Onitsha.

“We are also pleased that your company has been able to provide employment for a lot of indigenes not only in Onitsha but across the South East”, he said.

Speaking earlier, the Glo Business Director, South East, Mr. Ralph Ehimhen, said the visit was to seek the blessing of the royal father and thank him for the support given to Globacom by the Onitsha traditional council and the entire people of the zone.

He said Glo is committed to qualitative services as it is on record that it has the best coverage in Onitsha and the whole of Anambra State with over 100 Base Transmission Station (BTS) deployed in urban and rural locations.

“We have already commissioned optic fibre links across the South East, linking cities such as Owerri, Onitsha and Enugu with other parts of the country. This has drastically reduced the cost and frequency of movement for business transactions by our people, especially in a commercial city like Onitsha”, he said.

Ehimhen added that with a major transmission switch in the South East region and a second switch nearing completion, there will be more network expansion and improved service quality enjoyed by Glo subscribers in Onitsha and the entire South East zone.

The upcoming launch of the Glo 1 submarine cable linking Africa with the rest of the world, he said, will also ensure that Glo exceeds the requirements and expectations of Nigerians in voice and data communication as it will offer faster and greater bandwidth at incredibly affordable rates.

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ICANN completes Key-signing-key exercise

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has completed the key-signing-key (KSK), which is the generation of the cryptographic key to be deployed in securing the root zone of the Domain Name System using (DNSSEC) for the first time.

The exercise saw to the completion of the verification of every aspect of the equipment; software and procedures associated with the generation of the KSK to ensure correctness and trustworthy.

A press statement from ICANN informed that the ceremony was conducted with the goal of ensuring that there is widespread confidence throughout the technical Internet community that the root zone, once signed, could be relied upon to protect users from false information.

The ceremony unveiled detailed checklist with ICANN arranging for the whole system to be subject to a SysTrust audit, a process supported by the archived, unedited video footage and the legal attestations of key participants.

ICANN recalls that the KSK required considerable effort and investment, just as the body benefited from an extremely productive collaboration between staff at ICANN, VeriSign and the US Department of Commerce.

ICANN, with the help of some talented consultants, has designed processes that are thought to surpass those of many commercial Certificate Authorities not only in the degree of openness and transparency in their design and execution, but also in terms of the security engineering involved.

The design of the overall system requires ICANN to execute a ceremony like this one four times per year. The next ceremony is scheduled to take place on July 12 in El Segundo, California, where ICANN has built a second facility intended to ensure continuity for the DNS (and hence Internet users world-wide) in the event of a serious disaster in one location.

All design documentation for the ceremony will be published by ICANN, not only to promote transparency in the process for the root zone, but also to act as a valuable reference to any other organization that needs to build similar systems to support DNSSEC in top-level domains, enterprises, or anywhere else.

The deployment of DNSSEC in the root zone of the DNS will hence not only act as a catalyst for global DNSSEC deployment because of the special nature of the root zone, but also because of the design and engineering investment ICANN is giving back to the wider community.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

15 new Gloworld to open soon – Olusope

Managing Director of Gloworld, Mrs. Shade Olusope, has said that an estimated 15 new Gloworld outlets would soon be opened nationwide.

She said that this is in line with Glo’s commitment to bring the best telecommunications services backed by excellent customer service support to Nigerians in all parts of the country, saying that the 15 new Gloworld outlets would be opened in quick succession in several cities.

According to her, the outlets would be commissioned between June 24 and October this year, noting that they are located in Oke Ado in Ibadan, Oyo State, Seme Border and Fadeyi in Lagos, Bauchi, Sapele, Nsukka, Owerri and Lokoja in Kogi State.

Others, she said, are located in Ago-Iwoye, Ogoja, Gboko, the University of Port Harcourt, Ondo, Ijebu-Igbo and Akure, the Ondo state capital.

Mrs. Olusope also said that the opening of the new outlets became necessary due to the rapid roll-out and expansion of coverage to more communities all over the country by Glo.

“With this rapid expansion, it became imperative to have more Gloworld outlets to deliver Glo’s traditional, excellent customer care support to the people in these environments,” she said, stressing that since the operator is determined to bring outstanding service delivery to all nooks and crannies of the nation where it has coverage, resources have been invested into building and commissioning new Gloworld outlets to bring excellent services closer to the people.

“We urge our subscribers in these locations to take advantage of the improved Glo presence through these new Gloworld outlets to get access to information about the various products and services we offer that can lead to positive changes in their lifestyles and how they communicate”, she said.

Gloworlds are specialized outlets manned by trained and dedicated staff committed to giving total satisfaction to Glo subscribers. They offer convenient and easy access to telecommunication products and offer exceptional customer care service in a world class and friendly environment. There are currently 45 Gloworld outlets across the country.

Gloworlds offer Customer Care services ranging from SIM replacements, manual configuration of handsets, Blackberry support services, 3G services, post-paid payments, high net-worth individual (HNI) dedicated services, issues resolution and enquiries about promotions, products and services, e-payment and value added services. The outlets also offer sales of mobile handsets, SIM cards, recharge cards, telecoms accessories, and modems.

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6 winners emerge in predict & win promo

Six subscribers, last weekend emerged winners in the Starcomms predict and win promo, bringing to 10 the number of winners since the commencement of World Cup tournament in South Africa.

Chief Commercial Officer of Starcomms Plc, Mr. Tushar Maheshwari, who affirmed this, said that the offer avails subscribers have fun whilst the world cup lasted.

Since the commencement of the tournament on June 11, 10 winners have emerged in the matches that have been played so far, with all of them getting generous airtime prizes for predicting the match outcome rightly.

Some of these subscribers, he listed to include Mbifreke Asanda, Nneji Nnowi Thomas, Henry Abbey, Joseph Chukwudi Chibeze, Abubakar Lawal and Innocent Eke.

He explained that to win in the Predict and Win competition, a subscriber must through his prediction determine the final score line latest by the end of the first half of every match by sending an a Short Messaging Service (SMS) to the short code, 31321, from a Starcomms line.

For instance, he said that to predict a match between Nigeria and Argentina text: star# Nigeria 1 Argentina 0 at a cost of N25 per text message.

“By predicting the exact score of the match, the subscriber stands the chance to win goodies from Starcomms” he said, noting that a subscriber could send as many entries as possible in order to increase his or her chances of winning fabulous prizes like Moto Q9c Smart Phone, data card, handset and free airtime.

He enlightened that all entries before the half time of the match would be considered as a correct entry, noting that as soon as the subscriber sends his entry, he would receive a message saying “thank you for playing Predict & win”.

Explaining the reasons behind the promo, he pointed out that the game expected to end on July 11, Maheshwari said that it is the tradition of Starcomms to associate with the passion of its subscribers.

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Africa Digital awards, lectures get new date

The organizers of the ICT Watch Africa Digital Awards & Lecture Series 2010, have announced a new date for the event.

According to the chief organizer, Mr. Tayo Adewusi, it would now be held on Sunday, July 25, 2010.

The awards ceremonies would be preceded by a lecture series with the theme: Nigeria’s Golden Jubilee: Sustaining the Telecoms Growth Beyond 2010, just as “The date has been shifted to Sunday July 25, 2010.”

He pointed out that as the countdown draws nearer, companies have started jostling for the event, especially the award categories.

Already, he listed some of the nominees to include Globacom, Omatek Computers, Zinox Computers, Accion Micro-Finance Bank Limited, Zenith Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Teledom, Valucard, Interswitch, Contact Solutions Limited, NITDA, NCC, NBC, Systemspecs, Expertedge Software, Chams Plc, Nokia, Samsung, Zain, MTN, ZOOMMOBILE, DCC Networks, HIIT Plc, Visafone and 21st Century.

Mr. Adewusi equally disclosed that interest has been shown in the event beyond the shores of the country and that there is high probability that a number of companies in the sub-region would compete fiercely with Nigerian companies for prizes at the event.

Adewusi, who is the chief executive officer, FiveStar Focus and anchorman of ICT Watch Network on MITV, TVC and Focus Cable Television, said that the firm commitments had been made by the leadership of the National Assembly to be present at the occasion.

He explained that the change in date was to accommodate the views of soccer–loving Nigerians, who asked that such an important event should not take place when the World Cup is taking place on the African soil for the first time.

Further, he disclosed that some of the awards to be carted away include the most outstanding financial software solution of the decade, the most outstanding cum innovative computer factory, the most outstanding e-processing company of the decade, the most outstanding telecommunications gateway provider of the decade, as well as the most outstanding ICT Conglomerate of the decade.

Speakers lined up for the event, he said, include Prof. Clement Dzidonu from Ghana who would dwell on ‘Engr. Ernest Ndukwe’s Impact in Africa Development’, while Dr. Tunde Adegbola of Africa Language Technology is expected to discuss “Content and Internet-based Products and Services,” and Prof. Emenwo Biakolo of Pan Africa University on “Legislation, Policy and How Far Nigeria has Come.”

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Panabiz, Canon enter deal on office automation

Panabiz International Limited and Canon have entered a deal to give office automation a boost in the country.

Disclosing this, the General Manager, Panabiz International Ltd, Mr. Kunal Malhotra, said the partnership with Canon would add further value to the company’s vision of being the preferred office automation solutions provider in the country with the addition of a wider range of products to its existing product portfolio.

He also described the partnership as a convergence of two leaders teaming up for a strong and revolutionary business relationship, Malhotra noted it would give Panabiz, for instance, the opportunity to grow and expand business by catering to the consumer imaging segment as well as offering more products to the office automation segment.

Malhotra said that by the middle of July 2010 a complete range of Canon Business Solutions and Canon Consumer Imaging products would be available for sale by Panabiz.

He listed some of the products to include low, medium and high volume Multi Function Products (MFP), which could copy, print, scan and fax as well, in addition to Large Format Printers (LFP), High Speed Scanners, cheque scanners, printing press to name a few, for the office automation sub-sector. Also available are Flat Bed Scanners, Laser Printers and Inkjet Printers for the Consumer Imaging segment.

“It is a strategic partnership that would provide great business opportunities for both companies as Panabiz would introduce Canon, the leading global player in imaging segment, in Nigeria,” Malhotra said.

Panabiz, he revealed, would proudly be its sole representative in the country, with further backing from Canon upon the brand equity that Panabiz has established for being the No.1 office automation solutions provider.

He stressed that Panabiz and Canon are focused on enhancing product portfolio for Office Automation and Consumer Imaging solutions to provide customers with a wider range of products to pick from. He added that quality products from the stable of Canon will be backed by excellent after sales services support by Panabiz.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stop lotteries, NCC tells telecom operators

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Thursday in Abuja, directed telecom operators in the country to stop forthwith, all the lottery-related activities and desist from charging premium rates for non premium services.

Head, Media & Public Relations, Mr. Reuben Muoka, who confirmed this to ITRealms Online, said that this directive was based on its statutory responsibility to protect the interests of consumers against unfair practices and consequent upon incessant complaints received from various stakeholders about telecom operators engaging in lottery activities and unsolicited Short Messaging Service (SMS).

A press statement endorsed by Mr. Muoka also declared that “Sending of SMS prompting telecom subscribers to participate in lotteries is suspended until further notice.”

Also, he said, the Commission noted that while promotions are allowed under the guidelines already published by NCC, with set minimum requirements and standards of advertisements and promotions, lotteries are excluded from such activities.

“Promotions as defined in the guidelines do not include lotteries where the consumer does not receive commensurate service or value for money spent,” he said.

The Commission, therefore warned Nigerians, saying that operators should henceforth be guided accordingly, stressing that all promotions carried on by telecom operators must be in accordance with the Guidelines on Advertisements and Promotions published by the Commission.

“No telecom operator is allowed to carry-out any lottery activity as defined above under the license issued by the Commission; Operators are also advised to take due care in the timing, frequency and content of their multi-cast messages to subscribers to reduce nuisance associated with these messages,” Muoka noted in the press statement made available to ITRealms Online.

Additionally, NCC pointed out that sending of SMS prompting telecom subscribers to participate in lotteries is suspended until further notice.

“Operators should desist from charging premium rates for non-premium services,” part of the statement read.

NCC further cautioned that “all network operators are to ensure strict compliance with this Notice, as appropriate sanctions in accordance with the Act and the Enforcement Regulations, 2005 shall be applied to erring operators”.

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