" ITREALMS: CTO tasks Nigerians on local mobile content

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

CTO tasks Nigerians on local mobile content

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) has tasked Nigerian software developers on provision of local mobile content for the nation’s burgeoning mobile market.

CTO made this call through its Director of Programmes and Business Development, Mr. Bashir Patel, who represented the chief executive officer, CTO, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, at the just concluded second edition of the West African Information and Communications Technology (WAFICT) 2010 congress in Lagos.

He said that with the level of growth recorded in the nation’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector through mobile penetration that what Nigeria needs is consolidation on the content, just as he described content as the ‘king’.

He advised Nigerian students and graduates alike to look inward by tapping into this area, saying he would love to see operators in the country offering mobile services on local languages such as Igbo and other major languages with good population followership.

“I would like to see local language in Igbo on mobiles,” he declared.

According to him, whether the technology in vogue is Third Generation (3G) or Fourth Generation (4G), all that matters is that they require local content to drive them, which must be driven by creativity.

He pointed out that the challenges are no longer ‘news’ because every country has its own peculiarity, but there is need to stress the potentials.

“We know of the challenges, but we must think of the potentials within and it’s only those who took the steps towards the potentials, would be the king of tomorrow,” he advised.

Mr. Patel also disclosed that CTO is planning a forum on digital readiness, even as he looks forward to about 2015, when he would be in Nigeria and freely use the Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) on his devices, without much ado.

Also speaking, the former Minister of Communications and currently an Executive Commissioner with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Chief Olawale Ige, reiterated the resolve of the Federal Government via the regulator to implement number portability in the country.

“We’re in the process of introducing number portability, which is government policy,” he said.

This, he said, would ensure that consumers are not tied down to inefficiency by any of the telecom operators.

“We hope to achieve this in the next six months,” he asserted.

Speaking at the session on ‘Broadband Technology, the chairman, Zinox Group, Chief Leo-Stan Ekeh, who was represented by the Managing Director, Mr. Mukoro Emomine, said that for the West Africa sub-region to become a 21st Century digital colony, it is a strategic imperative to have a seven-point agenda based on leapfrogging adaptation and development.

Among the seven points, he outlined include that information technology education and access should be enshrined as a fundamental human rights in the constitutions of all nations in the region.

He also said that the local content laws should focus on empowering the West African IT industry to ensure her future survivability; all profitable sectors of the economy should be included as significant contributions to the National Information Technology Development Fund (NITDF); there should be special and legalized preference for local IT professionals, locally assembled hardware and software applications.

In addition, Zinox chairman said in order to ensure that an ‘Anti-Trust’ Act is embedded as a vital part of the local content laws, West African IT professionals in the diaspora should become an essential part of the outsourcing services commissioned by the governments and corporate persons.

Just as he said, governments across the sub-region should invest heavily in ICT penetration following the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) model in Nigeria.

In his remarks, the chief host of the three-day event, which was held simultaneously with the West African International Telecommunications and ICT Exhibition (W.Afri.Tel), Mr. Mkpe Abang, the chief executive, IT & Telecom Digest, said they were spurred to host the second edition given the kind of response received from the 2009 session and thereafter.

“Since that first edition of WAFICT Congress, the response and expectations of players in the sub-region and the enthusiastic world have changed and more is expected and this has raised many important issues pertaining to this industry in the sub-region,” he said.

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