" ITREALMS: September 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Killing of telecom personnel: ALTON warns South-East zone

The state of insecurity in the South-Eastern part of the country is worrying the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), just as the group identified lack of security as the greatest threat to telecom infrastructure in the country, warning that this may impact negatively on the Quality of Services (QoS).

Chairman, ALTON and chief executive officer of Communication Network Support Services Limited (CNSSL), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, disclosed this at a one-day Infrastructure Roundtable hosted by BusinessDay Newspapers at Victoria Island, Lagos.

Delivering a paper on “Managed Services & Infrastructure Sharing: Implications for a safe Environment” ALTON decried the recent killing of seven personnel on duty at a Base
Transceiver Station (BTS) located at Gabby Oil, Aba Road, Abia State.

According to Adebayo, despite the advantages of both co-shared and non-co shared infrastructure, lack of security remained the most menace to equipment, infrastructure and personnel in telecoms development.

He warned that this lack of security, especially with the recent killing of personnel at BTS, while carrying out routine maintenance on a Radio Base Station site located at Gabby Oil, Aba Road, would impact immensely and negatively to the kind of quality of service to the state and South Eastern region of the country as a whole.

This, he explained, is because telecommunications operation is a round the clock and workers and contractors of ALTON member companies work 24 hours and seven days of the week.
As said by him, this unfortunate attack would impact on ability of members to provide needed 24/7 maintenance support on network infrastructure in some parts of the country.

“ALTON foresees that this development will impact severely on quality of services across the networks,” he said, lamenting that those personnel were gunned down in the BTS as well as one was shot down from the mast while attending to maintenance, describing it as sad.

Pointing out that the motive behind the killing remains unknown as the assault on the workers and security personnel were unprovoked.

“This incident has brought to the fore the state of insecurity in some parts of country, and in particular some state of the South Eastern part of Nigeria,” he decried.

He noted that on managed services-outsourcing, network sharing and hosting, the Nigerian telecoms sector has fared very well over recent years and a number of operators who commenced services much later and now competing well with the early starters have been able to do so in the market place due to the ‘time to market advantage’ offered by collocation.

Nigeria, he said, is one of the biggest and fastest growing telecom markets in Africa, and has been attracting huge foreign direct investment and yet standing at relatively low market penetration.

He emphasised that far reaching liberalization led to several companies providing virtually all kinds of telecom and Value Added Services (VAS) in the market, thus, creating jobs and business opportunities for many Nigerians.

Most of the remaining addressable market is in the rural areas where network operations are expensive due to a combination of many reasons and it is expected that collocation and sharing of infrastructure will close the gap, but warned that if the incident that resulted in the death of aforementioned personnel, then, it could take longer time to extend telecom services to these areas.

Commiserating with the families and operator for the loss of its personnel, ALTON said it’s ready to provide relevant supports to ensure that the security agencies in the country fish out those behind the killing of telecom maintenance staff in Aba.

Managed services, he said, is the practice of transferring day-to-day related management activities such as planning, organization, staffing and controlling responsibilities to any third party with the right expertise, as a method to ensure effective and efficient operations in a service organization.

On infrastructure sharing, the ALTON boss noted that among telecom service providers is becoming the requirement and process of business in the telecom industry where competitors are becoming partners in order to lower their incremental investments.

“The degree and method of infrastructure sharing varies and depending on the policy, and regulatory environment as well as forces of competition,” he said, pointing out that there are multiple options of sharing among telecom service providers, but insisted that it all depends largely on regulation and legislation.

Telecom subscribers, ALTON chief said, are the major beneficiaries of collocation as it has increased competition in the market and forced prices downwards.

“… Naturally, some service providers tend to resist collocation but the industry has come to accept that the cost advantages offered by co-sharing and collocation far outweigh the disadvantages, as such everyone now embraces it as a way forward and our Association is championing that course amongst others, to the best interest of the industry,” he said.

Collocation, he said, comes with significant reduction in Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and recurring Operating Expenditure (OPEX).

“Today, almost 65-70 per cent of an operator’s OPEX goes towards telecom infrastructure provisioning cost,” he said, maintaining that various independent studies have shown that a telecom operator offering wireless services could save up to 30 per cent of CAPEX and 15 per cent of OPEX by sharing infrastructure.

He enumerated some of the services being co-shared by service providers to include and not limited to underground telecom cable duct on the verges of streets and highways, fibre optic cable cores, mast and towers, radio frequency spectrum and a number of passive and active elements.

Adebayo further pointed out that infrastructure at a cell site typically consists of active (electronic) components such as BTS, microwave radio equipment, switches, antennas, and transmission as well as passive (non-electronic) components including the tower, shelter, air-conditioning equipment, diesel electric generators, batteries, electrical supply systems and technical premises.

ITRealms Online recalls that penultimate Thursday; seven persons were killed by unknown gunmen during an attack at a Base Transmission Station (BTS) located at the Gabby Oil Aba Road, Aba, Abia State.

A report made to MTN Nigeria Communications by the Project Manager for Aba, who was identified as Mr. Valentine, and sighted by ITRealms Online, indicated that those killed during the incident included two petrol seal engineers, one driver, two mobile policemen, a rigger on top of the tower and the site security guard.

He noted that six persons where instantly shot dead by the gunmen at the BTS, while the second petrol seal engineer was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital.

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ITU predicts broadband access for half global population by 2015

APEX telecommunications governing body in the world, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has predicted that, at least, half of the global population will have access to broadband by 2015, reports CHARLES OKOH.

The body maintained that building on broadband tremendous achievements made over the past five years in bringing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) access to millions of people around the world, yet more still needs to be done.

The fourth edition of ITU Statshot, a statistics newsletter designed to highlight the evolving information and communication landscape made available to ITRealms Online, weekend, showed a projection of mobile broadband subscriptions to exceed 900 million globally by the end of 2010.

Noting that by the beginning of 2010, there were 479 million fixed broadband subscriptions globally, a penetration rate of 22.6 per cent, which is up from 216 million four years earlier.

Also, ITU Statshot indicated that in January 2010, there were 667 million mobile broadband on Third Generation (3G) subscriptions worldwide, up from 73 million four years ago.

While these were not all necessarily active subscriptions, ITU said the growing number highlighted the vast potential wireless technologies hold.

“The developing world’s share of broadband subscriptions is growing steadily: the developing world accounted for 42 per cent of global fixed broadband subscriptions at the beginning of 2010, up from 33 per cent four years earlier, and 26 per cent of mobile broadband subscriptions, an increase from 22 per cent four years earlier,” part of the newsletter read.

Despite the promising growth rates, ITU said, penetration levels in developing countries are still low at 3.6 per cent for fixed and 3.1 per cent for mobile broadband subscriptions.

Further, ITU defined mobile broadband subscriptions as the number of consumers to mobile cellular networks with access to data communications, such as the Internet at broadband downstream speeds; which is greater than or equal to 256 kilo bits per second according to experts.

At least, 30 countries have now included broadband as part of their universal access service definition, which ITU described as good omen for considering broadband as a public service to which every citizen should have access.

These countries include: Albania, Andorra, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Finland, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, India, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, and United States.

Meanwhile, an ITU-T handbook “Optical fibres, cables and systems” was unveiled based on Study Group 15 recommendations on optical technology, namely optical fibres and cables, physical optical interfaces, optical fibre terrestrial and submarine cable systems.

The unveiling which took place in Kigali, Rwanda, showcased the objectives and programme of the “ITU-T Tutorial on Optical Fibre Cables and Systems”.

This, official said, was based on the handbook and provided an in-depth insight into the ITU-T Recommendations that have shaped the optical transport networks of the world.

Some aspects on wireless communication in the handbook include the cooperation with the Development Sector of the ITU (ITU-D).

Participants, ITRealms Online got better understanding of the ITU-T Recommendations, how to design and implement projects choosing the most appropriate equipment according to the state-of-the art.

Equally, participants learnt how to evaluate a power budget and the fundamental parameters to take into account for the preparation of technical and administrative specifications for a supply contract.

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APC opens swap centre in Lagos

The APC by Schneider Electric has opened a swap centre in Ikeja, Lagos, to provide warranty support on single phase uninterruptible power supplies (UPSes) as well as assist Nigerian customers with onsite support related to three phase solutions.

Declaring open the centre, Country President, Schneider Electric Nigeria, Mr Marcel Hochet, last week, while also hosting APC distributors, major resellers and end-users, said the goal is to offer quicker response to customers request and needs.

“The main goal of the swap centre is to offer quicker response times and a higher level of service for warranty exchanges of single phase UPS units for local customers, as well as ensuring that three phase equipment receives the proper maintenance for optimal performance,” he said.

Mr. Hochet said the centre represents an effort to achieve greater customer intimacy and improved service delivery.

In his comments, the recently appointed director, English speaking for West Africa at APC by Schneider Electric, Mr. Ayo Labade said they believe the centre would impact on customer satisfaction in the coming months.

“In line with our goal to provide the same level of service everywhere, this swap centre is part of a global services programme that includes the establishment of six swap centres across the African continent as the first phase,” he disclosed.

Also, he advised that Nigerian businesses in need of field support service on three phase uninterruptible power supplies (UPSes), contact this centre for assistance.

Explaining that the Nigerian swap centre was within the Schneider Electric warehouse in Lagos and is managed by APC by Schneider Electric’s newly appointed field service engineers.

ITRealms Online recalls that APC by Schneider Electric is a global leader in critical power and cooling services, provides industry leading product, software and systems for home, office, data centre and factory floor applications.

Backed by the strength, experience, and wide network of Schneider Electric’s Critical Power & Cooling Services, APC delivers well planned, flawlessly installed and maintained solutions throughout their lifecycle.

Additionally, through its unparalleled commitment to innovation, APC delivers pioneering, energy efficient solutions for critical technology and industrial applications.

In 2007, Schneider Electric acquired APC and combined it with MGE UPS Systems to form Schneider Electric’s Critical Power & Cooling Services Business Unit, which recorded 2008 revenue of €2,6 billion and employed 12,000 people worldwide.

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Signal Alliance completes acquisiation of SOFTribe

Information Technology (IT) company, the Signal Alliance, has completed acquisition of an equity stake in the SOFTribe Nigeria Limited, thereby unveiling a new company to be known as Dynamic Tribe Limited.

Affirming this development, the newly appointed chief executive officer (CEO), Dynamic Tribe Limited, Mr. Joe Jackson said that Signal Alliance and SOFTribe had a long standing professional and social relationship and it is expected that the integration of the two firms would be smooth.

With the latest acquisition, he pointed that Signal Alliance Group is expected to extend its dominance in the IT industry by adding the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) expertise of Dynamic Tribe Limited in delivering the world-class Microsoft Dynamics ERP.

This, he said, would greatly enhance its capacity to provide enterprise resource planning solutions for customers in all industry sectors cutting across the financial services, telecommunications, manufacturing, government and education.

Reacting to the development exclusively in a chat, the group chief executive officer, Signal Allaince, Mr. Collins Onuegbu told ITRealms Online on Sunday that the investment in SOFTribe strengthens the already existing partnership with Microsoft, as his firm can now play in the increasingly important Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market.

He stated that the Dynamics ERP range from Microsoft which is suitable for their market because of its ease of implementation and familairity as well as easy integration to already familair Microsoft solutions.

“We‘re working really hard to make the investment work,” he declared.

Commenting on this development, Microsoft Nigeria through its spokesperson Mrs. Ngozi Ife-Anene, said they were delighted in this new happening between the companies.

She also said that it would herald a new era in IT in the country, stressing that Microsoft Nigeria has been encouraging cooperation between its partners over the years and that the new company will obtain full cooperation and support from Microsoft.

Signal Alliance, founded over 14 years prides itself as one of the leading IT firms in Nigeria in systems integration and solutions provision.

Meanwhile, Signal Alliance (SA) recently announced it has attained the gold partner status with Computer Associate (CA). This makes Signal Alliance the only Nigerian IT company to achieve the Gold status.According to a congratulatory message from the president of CA South Africa, Mr. Gary Lawrence, noted that Signal Alliance has become a mini CA in Nigeria.

“I certainly believe that the Nigerian market represents a good opportunity for CA technology. I also believe that with the right levels of focus and commitment from Signal Alliance based on creating Signal Alliance as a “mini CA” in the market that we can do great things,” he said.

For the chief executive officer, Signal Alliance, Mr. Collins Onuegbu, the gold partner status came due to the company’s successful deployment of solutions, efficient after sales support and efficient human resources.

Even as he said, SA has the largest customer base for Computer Associate (CA) products in Nigeria ranging from banking to the manufacturing industries.Proven competency, focus and extensive offshore training enabled Signal Alliance clinched the ca gold partnership status.

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Kyari unveils Etisalat’s Experience Centre

The Borno State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Alhaji Abubakar Kyari, has unveiled the 22nd Experience Centre of Etisalat Nigeria in Maiduguri.

Speaking at the unveiling, Alhaji Kyari commended Etisalat for trying to bring its services closer to consumers in the state.

The Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Wael Ammar said at the event that the centre is a one-stop shop intended to cater for all the needs of its customers in the city, stressing that the Maiduguri Experience Centre is the latest shop set up to satisfy the communication needs of the company’s growing subscriber base in a bid to bring its innovative product and service offerings closer to her consumers.

“Every Experience Centre brings us one step closer to the hearts of our esteemed subscribers. As we celebrate our 5 million consumer base, we are more keen than ever to reach out to our people. Our new Maiduguri service center is a one stop solution center that promises to satisfy all our consumers’ communication needs and we urge our subscribers to take full advantage of this,” he said.

Customers in and around the city of Maiduguri, he said, could win an amazing array of mouthwatering prizes if they make purchases of N750 and above at the newly opened shop.

Gifts up for grabs, he listed to include standing fans, handsets, pressing irons, branded T-Shirts, wristbands, umbrellas and more, while a lucky dip promotion would end tomorrow, September 30, this year.

He pointed out that subscribers wishing to register their SIM could also do so at the new centre, noting that Etisalat’s products include Easy Starter, Easy Cliq, Easy Net, Elite World and Easylife in the Nigerian market all offer a wide array of creative and exciting features designed to satisfy all communications needs of its subscribers.

ITRealms Online recollects that Etisalat is the largest provider of telecommunication services in Africa and the Middle East and serves an ever increasing subscriber base of 100 million people across Africa, Middle East and Asia.

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NTA honours Ekuwem with excellence award

Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Teledom International Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, has bagged the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channel 10, Lagos award for Excellence in Human Capacity and Empowerment.

NTA management made this recognition as part of its “Empowerment Expo Beyond Border” (EEBB 2010), held in the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, saying that it is for Ekuwem’s excellent contributions towards the development of Nigeria’s socio-economic sector that the institution selected him for the prestigious award.

Speakers at the occasion also emphasized the fact that Ekuwem always displays high sense of patriotism whenever national issues are discussed, just as he was described as an ideas-driven and issues-oriented nationalist, who places Nigeria’s interest above pecuniary considerations at all times.

They also noted that when it comes to matters of national importance, Ekuwem often views such issues with a prism colour in green-white-green.

Dr. Ekuwem who co-incidentally was the chairman of the EEBB 2010 which had in attendance many dignitaries including the chief host, Mallam Yusuf Jibo, Zonal Director, NTA Network Centre; His Royal Highness, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, Oba of Lagos; Mrs. Aina Badejo, General Manager, Radio Lagos and Eko FM amongst many others. Ekuwem performed the official opening of the expo.

An alumnus of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile Ife, Ekuwem holds the BSc in Physics and Electronics & Electrical Engineering respectively as well as the PhD in Electronic & Electrical Engineering. In the social circle, he holds the traditional title of “Obong Ifiok” (Chief Custodian of Knowledge) conferred on him by the Ibaka Traditional Rulers Council, Akwa Ibom State in 2002. This is in addition to various ICT industry awards and recognitions.

Beyond Nigeria, international institutions and embassies of foreign nations appear unanimous in their perception and appreciation of Ekuwem as a patriot and outstanding digital luminary.

In the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, Ekuwem is widely acknowledged as an Icon of ICT, a cerebral cistern, a delight at every ICT forum in and out of Nigeria. An orator par excellence, he is ever engaging and exuberant on variety of issues, especially wireless technology as a veritable option for growing communications access in Nigeria.

Reputed for his mentorship-driven and inspiration for counseling and motivating younger generation right from his days as vice president of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) before emerging the president as well as through his tenure as the national president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), which recently ended.

Ekuwem was appointed the UNESCO ICTP (Trieste, Italy) Regional Coordinator of Nigeria University Network (NUNET); visiting Consultant to the ICPT under the umbrella of the Aeronomy Laboratory Programming on Training and Systems Development in Networking and Radio Communication. Ekuwem was appointed consultant to UNESCO (Nigeria Office) on the IT component on UNDAF. He is a fellow of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)/TRIL Programme of the ICPT and on Intelligent Real Time Computer-based Data Communications.

A winner of the Third World Academy of Science (TWAS) award for Research on the effects of Meteorological phenomenon in non-ionized media in Africa, he held brief as Assistant Director (Technical Services) in the Aviation Ministry. And while in the Ministry of Aviation, he won a Ministerial Award for Outstanding Productivity. He went on voluntary retirement at early age to set up Teledom Group which today consists of Teledom International Limited, Technology Development Company Limited, Web Inn Limited and IT Mart Limited.

A staunch advocate of SIM card registration, quality of service (QoS) and local content development in the ICT sector amongst others, Ekuwem has created tremendous impact in Nigeria’s ICT industry, especially with his intellectual contributions to knowledge sharing in the ICT industry which have helped tremendously in stimulating the rapid growth of the sector.

Ekuwem who is well known for turning down many frivolous awards says the NTA excellence award encourages him to continue to fly the Nigerian flag proudly aloft in his continuous advocacy for the use of ICT for national socio-economic development, for meeting Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for National Security as well as for the actualization of Vision 20-2020.

He said his new gospel today is that of broadband in its ubiquity in Nigeria for the 2015 broadband harvest in preparation for Nigeria’s digital bouquet in 2020.

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Juwah says banks are critical to broadband vision

Chief Executive officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah has identified banks as critical to achieving broadband vision of the telecoms regulatory agency.

Welcoming a team from the United Bank for Africa (UBA), led by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Phillips Oduoza, on a courtesy call to his office in Abuja, Dr. Juwah said the Commission would soon come up with a plan to evolve the banks and the various strata of government in the realization of cost effective and affordable broadband services for the citizenry.

He also said that the activities of the banks, including the mobile banking services and related solutions, are expected to thrive more under a pervasive broadband infrastructure and expects that the banks will benefit hugely from such a development in the sector.

Juwah also said that the banks constitute a critical stakeholder in the telecoms business as they facilitate investments in the sector as well as benefit from the services that evolve from the sector.

In his comments, chief executive officer, UBA, Mr. Oduoza, said that the bank is very willing to support the Commission in the implementation of all its lofty visions for the industry, said there is a lot of synergy between the banking and the telecom industry.

According to him, convergence between the two would continue to grow as both sectors grow side by side, and even as the telecom industry grows even bigger and multifaceted.

Commending the Federal Government for the appointment of Dr. Juwah as EVC of NCC, Oduoza noted that he has the pedigree.

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ITAN calls for quality awareness for CEOs

Information Technology Industry Association of Nigeria (ITAN) has call for quality awareness training for chief executive officers of IT companies in the country.

Participants at ITAN organized IT CEO summit in Lagos, last weekend, made this call in a communiqué at the end of the event and made available to ITRealms Online.

This year’s theme was on “Empowering IT CEOs for offshoring and outsourcing projects” which was part of the broad strategy to empower Nigeria IT CEOs in collaboration with international counterparts to tap into the huge potentials for IT Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) growth in Nigeria, was hosted in conjunction with the National Association of Software and Services Companies of India (NASSCOM) of India.

ITAN in the 11-point communiqué noted need for CEO’s of IT companies and IT heads of banks, telecoms among others to undertake quality awareness training towards the attainment of global quality standards.

It also reaffirmed the partnership between ITAN and NASSCOM to articulate an appropriate framework for IT-based BPO in Nigeria while avoiding drawbacks in the NASSCOM experience.
Nigeria, ITAN said, needs to adopt process, quality models, framework and certifications such as Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI).

“Quality creates the foundation for the growth of IT and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. Quality itself is not the differentiator but creates conditions for differentiation,” part of the communiqué endorsed by the ITAN president, Dr. Jimson Olufuye read.

For ITAN, process is the glue between people and technology, therefore, these form the success indices for organisational performance, which critical factors must be addressed adequately.

They decried the dearth of critical Nigerian IT industry data, which ITAN intends to spearhead periodic collation of such data for investment and industry growth.

On the potential for reduction in overseas, especially United States-based outsourcing business, participants said it is increasing and as such there is need to grow internal outsourcing businesses through the development of white papers and advisory to government throughout Nigeria.

They noted that the state of the Nigerian educational system is not impressive based on global universities standards and ratings, stressing there is therefore need for university administrators in Nigeria to make the universities visible on the internet, shore-up the educational standards and collaborate with the industry associations like ITAN to enhance digital competitiveness.

“Innovation and creativity are key to Nigeria’s realization of Vision 20 2020 and competing beyond 2020,” ITAN said.

Pointing out that there are new laws and regulations sponsored by the Federal Goverment of Nigeria through National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) for Technology Transfer agreements.

“It is compulsory for foreign investors to strictly adhere to these laws to achieve easy entry into the Nigerian market,” the communiqué stated.

The 2010 edition of IT Future – IT CEO Summit, attracted top Indian IT CEOs from the National Association of Software and Services Companies of India (NASSCOM). The 24-man NASSCOM delegation was lead by Mr Anil Bakht, CEO Eastern Software and Lead, NASSCOM Strategic Initiatives. Others in the NASSCOM delegation were … Also in the summit by video conference were Mr Phil Bond, President TechAmerica and Mr Shaifu’ Saleh, President, PIKOM (the ICT Association of Malaysia).

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Galaxy Backbone to launch ICT Road Show geo-zones

Galaxy Backbone has plans to embark on a series of public awareness and enlightenment programmes designed to create awareness about the company and the role of digital inclusion for sub-national development.

Manager, Corporate Communication, Galaxy Backbone, Mr. Franklyn Ginger-Eke, said that the series tagged, “Galaxy Backbone Zonal ICT Road Show” is part of the company’s stakeholders’ engagement strategy for creating focused public awareness about its activities by enlightening and sensitizing its stakeholders across the six geo-political zones.

This, he said, would boost the role of ICTs in attainment of the developmental programmes of the various State Governments in Nigeria. According to him, the overarching theme of the zonal ICT road show is, “Partnering with State Governments for Digital Inclusion.”

He noted that Galaxy Backbone is a Federal Government owned company established in 2006 and whose primary mandate is the provision of ICT infrastructure and services to the public sector as well as the digital inclusion of underserved communities and locations in Nigeria.

The format of the road show planned to kick-off in October, he said, includes the paying of courtesy visits to the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum of each zone.

Additionally, he said, the commissioning of Galaxy Backbone ICT centre initiatives and an ICT Infrastructure forum to further strengthen the company’s focus on driving digital inclusion of underserved communities and locations in the country.

He explained that the target audience at “The 1st Zonal ICT infrastructure Forum” includes the representatives of the State Governments namely; secretaries to the state governments, state commissioners, permanent secretaries, special advisers cum assistants to the State Governors on ICTs, Heads of State Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Heads of ICT functions, LGAs to name a few.

Others, he said, comprise policy makers and key state functionaries drawn from government ministries and agencies which require the use ICT to achieve integration of functions, accountability and improve efficiency.

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Glo slashes prices of Blackberry devices

The second national operator, Globacom has slashed the retail prices of its Blackberry devices at its Gloworld nationwide.

This, the operator said is to enable Nigerians enjoy the season in full without hindrance.

Head, Blackberry and 3G Sales, Mr. Wumi Jewesimi, said that it was designed to make the devices available to more subscribers on the Glo network.

He explained that Blackberry Gemini, which before now cost N54,000 in Glo’s retail shops, Gloworld, is now N49,000, giving a saving of N5,000, just the Blackberry Bold, which sell at N100,000.

He disclosed that the biggest saving was for those who decide to go for the trendy Bold 2, currently selling at N85,000 from the original N100,000, giving the subscriber a saving of N15,000.

Jewesimi also said that the reduced prices on the devices was the best deal for subscribers who purchase their devices from Gloworld and there is the peace of mind as there is the assurance that they are buying original devices which have been sourced directly from RIM by Glo.

The devices purchased from Gloworld, he said, have warranty and also the advantage of excellent Global Positioning General packet radio service (GPRS) coverage on the Glo network.

He further said that Glo recently crashed the cost of calls for subscribers on its prepaid Blackberry services as it introduced a special BlackBerry U package, which offers the lowest uniform tariff structure for Prepaid BlackBerry users on any network in the country.

As said by him, with the BlackBerry U, existing and new Glo prepaid Blackberry subscribers enjoy a call rate of N25 per minute or 42Kobo per second for all calls including Glo-to-Glo and Glo to other networks.

“With the best and widest GPRS coverage in Nigeria, subscribers using BlackBerry from Glo can therefore be guaranteed the most reliable services in more locations across the country at the lowest rate. This is the incredible value that comes with being on the Glo network,” Jewesimi said.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

C/River, Interswitch enter deal on SmartGov initiative

The Cross River State Government and InterSwtich Nigeria Limited have entered deal to deliver on a joint venture to be known as Smart Government Cross River (SmartGovCRSG) Limited.

Making this disclosure, weekend at the end of a signing ceremony in Calabar, the chief executive officer, Interswitch, Mr. Mitchell Elegbe, said that the deal is determined to improve accountability in governance, simplify access to social services and create a robust social safety net for citizen of the state.

He also said that the partnered would see Interswitch developing a state-wide identity management and e-payment backbone infrastructure, to be executed through a joint venture company, SmartGov.CRSG Limited.

The mandate of SmartGov.CRSG, he said, includes to oversee the design, deployment, management and operations of infrastructure for the state.

“SmartGov.CRSG will be working in collaboration with OneSecureCard, a front-end partner for the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC),” he disclosed.

According to him, the SmartGov initiative allows the state government to leverage its investments in technology, automate its ministries, department and agencies, identify all citizens and residents, track and monitor usage of social services, enhance internally generated revenue and automate disbursements and payments by government.

The infrastructure, he outlined to comprise citizen’s information system, electronic payment gateway, smartcard management system, risk and fraud management system and an enterprise (data exchange) service-oriented bus.

He explained that biometric-based identity smartcity cards would be issued to citizens and residents under the SmartGov project and would contain cardholders’ information while providing cardholders with access to healthcare, pension, transportation, educational bursaries, social amenities and benefits.

Equally, the SmartGov initiative would enable Cross River State to identify its citizens, grow revenue, eliminate wastage, simplify governance and increase access to government services.

“The smart card would enable cardholders in the state to pay taxes and levies conveniently from the comfort of their homes and offices, using multiple channels such as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sale (PoS) terminals and the world wide web (www).

“The method would ensure prompt payment receipt; encourage accountability and transparency within the state,” he explained.

Elegbe, while commending the Cross River State government led by Imoke, said the success of the project is hinged on the governor’s commitment to employ automation and digitization as a means of improving government efficiency and ensuring accountability in the management of state resources.

“With this project, Cross River State and Interswitch are writing history as this is the first time a state government would embark on a project of this magnitude using technology. At Interswitch, we appreciate the commitment of His Excellency, Governor Imoke to improving the effectiveness of government and providing benefits to the citizenry.”

ITRealms Online gathered that speaking at the signing ceremony at the Government House, Calabar, Gov. Liyel Imoke described the project as a reflection of a new way of doing business in the state, stressing that the government would continue to partner with private sector to improve on service delivery, which helps to make a difference in the lives of the citizen.

Additionally, Imoke said that the success of the project would be a success story for the combined effort between the public and private sectors.

In his comment, the Special Adviser to the governor on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Mr. Odo Effiong noted that the SmartGov initiative had the potential to increase manifold qualitative and quantitative access to various government socio-economic services and that the programme had been in gestation for over a year.

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CNP confirms October date for SoTNE confab

The Computerize Nigeria Project, CNP, has confirmed the October 12 date for the Spirit of the True Nigeria Entrepreneur Conference (SoTNE) at Abuja, as part of Nigeria’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Head, Computerize Nigeria, Mrs. Loretta Agbakoba, gave this confirmation, weekend, saying that the event initiated to raise 1,000 Nigerian budding entrepreneurs already promises to be a highbrow session with top government functionaries and icons from the private sector endorsing the event by confirming attendance.

She noted that the theme of the conference; Creating Wealth with Integrity in 21st Century Nigeria, has received acclaim as a concept that tries to reinforce a value that has been in short supply since independence.

She also said that SoTNE conference registration for participants is ongoing online and Computerize Nigeria was being careful to ensure that only those who will benefit from the training receive it.

Mrs. Agbakoba explained that the screening includes confirmation of participating cooperative societies, trade unions and professional associations, claims about previous business ventures are being verified where possible, and organizers are finding it hard to prune down the number of students from business schools who want to attend.

According to her, beyond the participation, the event also includes an exhibition at which laptops would be sold from N48,000.00.

“The price crash is in line with the vision of the founding fathers of CNP must primarily concern itself with the creation of access to information technology products for the majority of Nigerians,” she said.

She stressed that all the known international brands in Nigeria including Zinox, Hewlett Packard (HP), Dell, Toshiba and Acer have offered discounts and would participate in the exhibition.

Further, Mrs. Agbakoba advised businesses, educational institutions and military and paramilitary institutions, other employees and students to take advantage of the price crash.

She emphasised that SoTNE promises to be the most reflective and entertaining programme of the golden jubilee.

“Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman of the Zinox Group, and Walter Kny, CEO of the World e books Library would be the lead trainers while the No 1 entrepreneur of stand-up comedy in Nigeria, Ali Baba, would anchor the entire programme with the peculiar humour that would reduce learning to fun,” she disclosed, even as a frontline R&B crooner would also be handy to complement the convivial environment that the CNP has created for SoTNE.

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Gloworld opens shops @ Fadeyi, Seme border

Gloworld, the customer service centre unit of the Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom has opened two of the customer outlets in Fadeyi-Lagos and Seme border, last week.

Disclosing this, Managing Director, Gloworld, Mrs. Shade Olusope, said the opening of these outlets was part of the operator’s design to bring all telecoms sales and after-sales service as close as possible to the consumer urging subscribers to take advantage of the doorstep shops to register their SIM cards in the on-going exercise.

Olusope explained that with the new Gloworld, customers could obtain quick solutions to all issues ranging from SIM replacements to making enquiries and recovering over-scratched recharge cards.

Other services offered by the Gloworld, she said, include refilling of airtime, unblocking, phone and laptop configuration and payment of bills.

“Subscribers can also take advantage of the Gloworld shops opening around them to register their SIM cards” she advised, noting that the outlet is a strategy to increase Glo’s customer service contact centers to 65 by the end of this year.

The ceremony at Fadeyi attracted dignitaries including the Registrar and secretary to council of the University of Lagos, Mr. Oluwarotimi Shodimu, the Divisional Police Officer for Onipanu Division, CSP Olubunmi Osoko, Divisional Police Officer Shomolu Division, John Chu, Legislators and business leaders in the area.

Mr. Shodimu observed that Glo liberated Nigerians by making mobile telecommunication pocket-friendly and user-friendly at inception, just as he described the company as the “most indigenous.”

Equally speaking Osoko commended Globacom for the choice of Fadeyi as location for the outlet, stressing that it was a heavily populated area which was secure for business.

In a related development, Globacom opened another shop in Seme boarder, Badagry-Lagos, to serve Nigerians customers and other nationals residing and doing businesses in the ever busy border community, last Thursday.

The shop is the first of its kind to be opened by any telecommunications operator to cater for the people of the area.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ICT summit on national security: Patriotism, key to optimizing ICT

Patriotism has been described as an important factor for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to work optimally, especially in national security.

This is the highlight of a communiqué made available to ITRealms Online at the end of a one-day stakeholders’ Summit on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for National Security operations. The summit was hosted by security technology provider, Technology Development Company (TDC) Limited in partnership with Gamnet Solutions Limited, in Lagos.

The communique endorsed by the chief executive officer of Gamnet Solutions, Mr. Godwin Morgan, noted the need for human capacity building to adequately handle security-related technologies, saying it is key to sustaining the ICTs and systems.

He said that the 10-point communiqué recognized the importance of the summit and urgent need to devise appropriate technologies to facilitate security operations in the country.

It pointed out that the absence of the political class whose responsibility it is to evolve and implement security policies, as well as the need to bring them on board in future was underscored.

It was disclosed that the summit, agreed that the durability, adaptability, coverage and proof of workability of technologies should be ascertained prior to Nigeria’s procuring them.

Participants observed that Nigerian prisons should be correctional institution and noted the need to establish ICT skills acquisition in the Nigeria Prisons, just as the Institute of Software
Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) revealed plans for Prison Software Development Programme to develop technological skills among prison inmates.

Maintenance culture in the country, the Summit emphasized, must be improved to ensure that critical security infrastructure are kept long enough to serve the purposes for which they were intended.

Equally, participants highlighted the need to review the electricity power challenge and develop alternative power back up.

The challenge of online fraudsters, popularly called ‘yahoo yahoo’ the summit stated has become a “business syndrome,” urging for national focus to curb the menace, just as participants said that the management of information security is critical to make things work.

Morgan further said that the summit was designed as a public service initiative in collaboration with Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Digital Sense Africa (DSA), Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria; Association of Licensed Telephone Operators of Nigeria, Nigerian Internet Group (NIG), Internet Services Providers of Nigeria (ISPAN), Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and Joint Action Committee on Information Technology Awareness & Development (JACITAD).

Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, Chief Executive Officer, Teledom Group, in his address on the theme: “National Security Emergency: ICT to the Rescue” said that ICT has the potentials to make Nigeria safer.

Mr. Robert J. Langlios, who represented Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), USA, delivered a technical paper on “Non-Intrusive Inspection Systems for Detection of Arms, Weapons, Ammunitions for Local and Remote Monitoring and Data Storage.”

While Mr. Chris Uwaje, chief executive officer, Connect Technologies and President, Institute of Software Providers of Nigeria (ISPON), examined “Critical Software Issues and Imperatives for National Security.”

In his submission, Uwaje stressed the need for critical issues of software component in securing the cyberspace of Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized.

This, he said, is because Nigeria is not only the sixth largest oil producer in the world, but indeed the single largest concentration of people of African descent under the universe and also the ninth largest population in the world.

Above all, he said, the national software environment and critical solutions must be designed, deployed, managed and controlled by indigenous policy and workforce.

The national cyber-security agenda, he said, must be given a topmost priority and funding preference in the national budget, outlining that ICT sector must be adequately protected by enabling policies, laws and sustainable strategies.

These strategies, he said, could be designed to fulfill the objective of convening a national colloquium on cyber security, constructive intervention to strengthen institutional policy initiatives, establish a national database on critical national infrastructure as preventive and craft and implement legislation to name a few. 

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ATCON to certify members

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) may have advanced plans to commence certification of its membership.

Disclosing this last weekend, ATCON president, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu said that the organisation has begun to consider the option of certification.

He also said that ATCON’s proposed certification of its membership would be coded to safeguard the exercise with a committee already on ground to manage the process.

“A move towards introducing member’s certificate with coded numbering to members of the association has started with a committee assigned to provide the working details,” he said.

Omo-Ettu equally said that the idea and a justification for it will be presented to the next General Meeting of ATCON for a mandate to write the process into ATCON’s byelaws.

ATCON, ITRealms Online recalls is a professional, non-profit, non-political umbrella organisation of telecommunications companies of Nigeria.

Formally inaugurated on December 10, 1993, ATCON membership profile currently made up of indigenous and multi-national telecommunications companies operating in Nigeria has risen to over 150 memberships.

Meanwhile, ATCON is warming up for the Broadband Investment Summit 2010 scheduled to hold in Bryanston, South Africa.

ATCON and its members, ITRealms Online gathered would play a prominent role in the forthcoming Broadband Summit 2010, according to Mr. Omo-Ettu, where local and international investors will exchange ideas, forge partnership and create a platform on which other Nigerian entrepreneurs and their global counterparts can exploit emerging broadband infrastructure and market opportunities in Nigeria.

He further said, the forum will dwell on “Broadband infrastructure related business opportunities in Nigeria,” maintaining that the attendance is open to ATCON members and other emerging entrepreneurs in the country.

This is coming as the leadership of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may lead the nation’s delegation to the forthcoming Broadband forum.

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Glo introduces Manchester branded 3G modems

Head, Globacom 3G and BlackBerry Sales, Mr. Wunmi Jewesimi, has said that the firm’s Third Generation (3G) internet modem offers speed, quality and reliability to customers, even as Glo has introduced specially co-branded Manchester United FC’ version of the 3G internet modems into the market.

The modem, he said, is co-branded in Manchester United FC of England and Glo logos to commemorate the partnership deal signed last season between Globacom and the club.

Jewesimi who made these known in Lagos, also said the modem offers fast, efficient, reliable and affordable internet access gives subscribers a wide range of interesting applications.

According to him, the continuous upgrade on the Glo network has enabled the company to improve its network quality, thereby availing subscribers a world class internet service that delivers fast and easy handling of internet applications.

Such applications include video streaming, gaming, chatting, data download and upload as well as instant messaging.

“The enhanced speed makes it possible to do video streaming or gaming without distortions. The user is able to enjoy real time internet sound or video, without having to wait to download a file to play it,” he explained.

Further, he noted that other significant advantages of the new modem include its high quality which makes it compatible with most operating systems.

Customers, he said, could plug their modems on almost every computer or laptop with a Universal Serial Bus (USB) port and be able to enjoy the service, stressing that the modem’s quality enables easy connection to the 3G coverage of the Glo network which ensures the service could be enjoyed in every part of the country.

He pointed out that another superior benefit of the Glo 3G Plus modem is the ease of installation and use made possible by its plug and play feature. Once the modem is plugged into a desktop or laptop, a Glo GUI (Graphic User Interface) appears on the screen allowing the user to set preferences and begin browsing instantly.,” he said.

The modem, he also said allows access to the Glo Self-Care Portal which assists the customer to resolve certain issues by themselves.

Additionally, he said, Glo 3G Plus high speed internet service has easy payment options and flexible packages for the convenience of customers.

The flexible packages, he outlined to include the “All day Packs, Bundled Hour Packs and Flexi packs.”

Jewesimi added that a customer does not need to go to a Glo shop to select or pay for a package.
“Normal recharge cards can be used to pay for the service,” he declared.

ITRealms Online gathered that Globacom has introduced a new, specially branded version of the 3G internet modem for sale to the general public, which is co-branded.

The modems, he said, are on sale at Gloworld shops nationwide and they are of the same quality, speed and reliability, stressing that the specially branded modems were designed to give football – loving subscribers something unique to add more excitement to their use of the Glo mobile internet modem.

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IDC roadshow touches down in Lagos

The International Data Corporation (IDC) annual roadshow, would on Friday, this week touchdown in Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of the nation.

Disclosing this, the conference manager, Ms Theresa Eshiet said that the event is returning this year with latest installment of pioneering Information Technology (IT) storage, virtualization and datacenter Roadshow.

She said that the global market intelligence and advisory firm for the information technology and telecommunications markets, IDC has assumed delight of stakeholders in the West African sub-region.

The roadshow, she said, is part of the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey leg of its hugely popular Storage, Virtualization, and Datacenter Roadshow 2010.

She revealed that the global event which would open in Casablanca on September 23, with series of conferences consist of tour of 10 region’s mostly influential business centers, including Johannesburg, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Cairo, and Riyadh.

The roadshow, she said, has established itself as a widely respected regional platform for the exchange of experiences, ideas, and best practices between storage solution users, independent experts, and industry-leading vendors.

“Through keynote presentations, case studies, exhibition displays, open discussions, and unprecedented networking opportunities, the roadshow helps participants explore ways of increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and achieving higher returns on investment by looking beyond speed, capacity, and power consumption,” she said.

According to her, the global economic crisis may have negatively impacted on IT investment in the region, but it has not reduced the need for data, nor has it removed the stringent requirements for data retention and protection that go hand-in-hand with stricter corporate governance and ever-tightening international regulations.

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African internet users surge with 53m in 4 years - Zukang

The African internet users have surged with 53 million within a space of four years, says the United Nations under-secretary general for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang.

In his opening address to the just concluded 2010 global Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which held in Vilnius, Lithuania, between September 14-17, 2010, Mr. Zukang who was represented by his assistant, Mr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, said that Africa has grown internet usage from 16m to 69m in four years.

“Between 2005 and 2009, the number of users in Africa surged from 16 to 69 million,” he said, noting that in Arab States Internet has grown from 26 to 64 million, which showed growth of 38 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, he said, that the community of Internet users have seen changes between 347 to 744 million within the same period under review.

While in the Commonwealth of Independent States a growth of 69 million, that is, from 30 to 99 million, was recorded.

Whereas, in the Americas, Mr. Zukang noted that the numbers of users went up from 322 to 447 million and in Europe it was from 277 to 387 million between 2005 and 2009 respectively.

Also, he said that 60 per cent of people in developing regions now have cellular telephones and more and more are using mobile broadband.

“These numbers are indeed is a cause for some celebration,” he said, stressing that yet, other metrics showed that the digital divide between developed and developing regions has been widening instead of closing.

He cited for example that in 2005, there was a 43 per cent gap in the proportion of people using the Internet between developed and developing countries.

By 2009, he said, the gap had widened to 49 per cent.

Noting that in 2005, there was a 4 per cent gap in the proportion of people with mobile broadband and by 2009, the gap had widened to 37 per cent.

“This tells us that while developing countries are making progress, developed countries are moving even faster,” he said.

Zukang recalled that the five-year mandate of the IGF expired last year, but the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, has recommended that the Forum’s mandate be extended and that a number of improvements be made.

These matters, he said, are now before the United Nations General Assembly for consideration before the end of 2010.

The Internet, he said, could assist in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) through improving lives of millions of people.

“Its governance is a serious responsibility. On that note, let us begin an engaging, illuminating and productive discourse,” he charged.

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VSAT remains cheapest accessible technology – Makau

The Head, Customer Services at the iWay Africa office in Kenya, Mr. Tom Makau has said that the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) remains the cheapest access to internet technology.

This came as iWay Africa unveiled its FiberSAT in Lagos.

Speaking at the Information Access and Collaboration conference organised by iWayAfrica Nigeria Ltd in partnership with NetApp, in Lagos, Mr. Makau said that VSAT still offers unrivaled reliability over any other access technologies.

“No technology offers higher uptime than VSAT,” he asserted, stressing that even in the most wired markets, VSAT’s offer better value proposition to security minded organizations.

“VSAT offers the only remaining true private networks,” he declared.

He said that despite cheap terrestrial connectivity in the United States (US) and European Union (EU), VSAT is still popular in these regions.

Makau pointed out that why the likes of Camelot and United States Postal Service (USPS) still use VSAT, was due to its advantages, noting that HughesNet VSAT customer distribution in North America, indicated that Hughes has over 800,000 VSAT sites in USA, mainly in the urban areas, attributing it to the fact that VSAT offers reliability and value for money.

This, he said, has demystified the myth that VSAT is an access method for only the rural areas.

Equally, Makau, who spoke on ‘VSAT is dead?” said that what would make broadband affordable, depends entirely on pricing, which has remained relatively high in Africa due to high Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) and Operating Expenditure (OPEX) based on infrastructure on the continent.

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs), he noted, have tried to emulate US and EU pricing without considering some historical facts, which resulted in their offering poor services as they struggle to stay afloat.

For African ISPs to offer lower prices without compromising service quality, three things must happen, these, he listed to include that Africa must develop and host local content locally and applications, citing the likes of NetApp and Telkom’s cybernest as some of the data centres available to the continent.

The second outline, he said, is that the market must provide critical numbers needed to take advantage of economies of scale, stressing that currently Africa is scored 5.4 per cent out of the 23 percentage drawn from the global penetration rates.

Lastly, he said, that regulatory environment needs to be fair to operators and cited another instance with the cost of Third Generation (3G) license in Kenya, which cost about $20 million, while in Finland it is free.

He further pointed out that the African Internet market is unique because of largely absence of electricity power supply at various countries across the continent, insisting that unless this situation changes, penetration would remain poor.

In addition, he said that internet contents are hosted everywhere else apart from Africa.
For him, VSAT advantages include that it offers ubiquitous, instant coverage over large
geographical areas with uniform service deployment.

“VSAT offers faster deployment than other business quality technologies,” he said, even as it is more cost effective than terrestrial systems as its bundled with bandwidth and lower total cost of ownership to name a few.

Part of VSAT, Makau said, is that it’s a fully managed, single point of contact network technology; rarely do VSAT have third party involvement, while it offers broadcast capability such as digital signage and educational programmes.
“VSATs are generally more reliable than terrestrial lines, hence it has higher uptime and less points of failure with faster recovery,” Makau submitted.
Also speaking on the latest brand launch by iWay Africa, which is now a subsidiary of Telkom Group, the General Manager, iWay Africa Nigeria Limited, Mr. John Ugbe, said noted that the firm started operations in Nigeria in 2003 as MWEB Nigeria.
“MWEB acquired iWayAfrica in 2008 and the Nigeria operations were merged in iWayAfrica Nigeria Limited,” he said, with presence in over 30 African countries.
iWay Africa, he said, is the largest VSAT broadband provider in Africa which is deployed as Comsys, thus providing services to over 60,000 corporate subscribers, VSAT availability nationwide as well as six channel partners and staff in major cities.

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ITAN hosts Indian NASSCOM @ CEO summit

THE Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN) is set to host the National Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) of India during its chief executives summit billed for Lagos, tomorrow, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Speaking on this, ITAN president, Dr. Jimson Olufuye, said that they are organizing the event in conjunction with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) Africa Regional Secretariat adding that arrangement to host the 2010 edition of the IT chief executive officers, (CEOs) summit has been concluded.

The summit which would have the National Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) of India, the premier trade body and chamber of commerce of the IT business-processing outsourcing (BPO) industries in India, is part of the commitment of ITAN to retool the Nigerian ICT industry for global competitiveness in the 21st century knowledge economy.

Olufuye said the forum would bring together IT CEOs from the Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry for networking, broad synergy, capacity enhancement and strategic focus on the huge immediate and future potentials of the IT and IT-BPO industry to enable, empower and enrich the Nigerian economy.

The event which will focus on Information Technology Enabled Services, (ITES) for business-processing outsourcing, (BPO), according to Olufuye, would have in attendance NASSCOM members including Eastern Software Systems, AES Technologies India Pvt Ltd, Agile Labs Pvt Ltd, Aujas Networks Pvt Ltd.

Others include, C1 India Pvt Ltd, Comviva First Source Solutions Ltd, International Institute of Information Technology, Pune, Karrox Technologies Ltd, Newgen Software Technologies Ltd.
Nihilent Technologies, Octaware Technologies, Ontrack Systems Ltd ,Oracle Financial Services Software, Payoda Technologies Pvt Ltd, QAI Global Services, RP Infosystems Pvt Ltd, Tech Mahindra Ltd, Tricom Information & Technology.

Olufuye said the event would at the end lead to progressive development of the Nigerian internal outsourcing businesses and industry, locking-in of Nigeria as the hub of IT-BPO in Sub-Saharan Africa as it meets the Indian Investors’ desire to serve Europe and America ITES ever-growing market as well as match-making Indian and Nigerian IT CEOs in a B2B for investment, partnership and networking.

Other benefits he said, includes exposure of more CEOs to the Off-shoring and Outsourcing business potentials, exposure of IT CEOs to critical IT funding sources and opportunities, improving on IT CEOs project management competencies and collection of important up-to-date industry data.

Chairman Local Organizing Committee, (LOC) and council member of ITAN, Mr. Amos Emmanuel, had earlier disclosed that this year’s IT Future 2010 with the theme empowering IT CEOs is a follow up to the series which started in 2006.

The IT CEO Summit 2010, according to him, will be unique as it would for the first time bring together IT Industry CEOs in Nigeria and from India, the National Software and Services Companies of India.

“The IT CEOs in Nigeria and NASSCOM will be joined by the foremost IT Industry association in the USA, TechAmerica and PIKOM, Malaysia to boost Nigeria’s participation in the annual over US$600 billion IT BPO business. India is currently the leader in this sector earning more than 60 per cent of the annual market value. The synergy which is captured by the theme: Empowering CEOs for off shoring and M-outsourcing projects is a strategy to empower the Nigerian IT CEOs in collaboration with their international counterparts to tap into the huge potential for IT-BPO growth in Nigeria,” he said.

He also disclosed that one of the prides of the Nigerian IT BPO industry, the Kano ICT Park, will be showcased for investment to the cream of the IT BPO success stories in India, Malaysia and the USA among many others.

Dr. Olufuye also said the event is a follow-up to the recent workshop by the National Economic Management Team (NEMT) and the World Bank aimed at growing the Nigerian Business Process Outsourcing sector with the aim of creating jobs and wealth as part of a broad strategy for the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals and the attainment of the nation’s vision 20:2020.

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Stephenson applauds Geoidtel on infrastructure

THE Director, United Kingdom Trade and Investment in Nigeria, Mr. Peter Stephenson, has applauded the management of Geoid Telecom (Geoidtel) for investing on infrastructure to boost internet services in the West African sub-region.

Stephenson gave this applause while leading a delegation from his office on a working visit to Geoidtel office in the country.

A press statement made available to ITRealms Online endorsed by Geoidtel chief executive, Mr. Olubiyi Ismail, quoted Mr. Stephenson as saying that he was mandated by the UK High Commissioner in Nigeria to seek credible business ventures in the country, operating in various spheres of the economy, which companies based in the United Kingdom, for possible partnerships in transactions, equity investments to name a few.

He explained that UK Trade and Investment works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets, and encourage the best overseas companies to look to the UK as their global partner of choice.

Mr. Stephenson, further said that companies from the United Kingdom were desirous of partnering with Nigerian companies.

As said by him, part of his duties include seeking out credible companies such as Geoidtel, which are operating in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, and making recommendations to companies from the United Kingdom, willing to partner.

Conducting Mr. Stephenson during the tour of duty, Mr. Ismail noted that the company’s world class facilities have been put in place to make certain that Nigerians and indeed West Africans have the fastest and most reliable internet access service.

Some of the offices visited included the company’s Network Operating Centre and recently completed World class Network Monitoring Centre.

Mr. Ismail also said that the company would spare no expense in ensuring that its consumers have the best internet service experience obtainable in West Africa, while subscribing to its services.

He said, customers have come to appreciate Geoidtel for its fast and reliable internet service, hence the company has amassed an impressive array of clientele despite launching its operations early in 2010.

Apart from Nigeria, he said, Geoidtel has coverage in other West African countries, including Cameroon, Benin Republic, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

According to him, Geoidtel also covers Guinea and Senegal where the company already has resellers.

Pointing out that in the nearest future, the company plans to spread its services to other parts of Africa.

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UNESCO underscores interest in IGF

Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information at the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Mr. Jânis Kârkli, has explained why the organisation is interested in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

Addressing participants at the Fifth Internet Governance Forum (IGF) which ended in Vilnius, Lithuania, last weekend, he said, that UNESCO’s interest in the IGF was stemmed from their conviction that the Internet has a key role to play in fostering pluralistic and equitable knowledge societies.

He also said that the Internet has the wherewithal to support the development of inclusive knowledge societies.

The Internet, he noted, must be governed in a way that provides each and everyone not only with access to the Internet, but also with access to quality content.

He noted that the Internet governance mechanisms should be based on the principle of “openness”, encompassing interoperability, freedom of expression in knowledge societies and measures to resist any attempt to censor content.

UNESCO, he said, would continue to safeguard key values like freedom of expression, cultural and linguistic diversity and openness.

UNESCO, he said, has been an ardent supporter of, and contributor to IGF, which it had always seen as an essential platform for multi-stakeholder discussions.

“The Forum provides an important channel for exchanges of opinions, ideas, and concerns. It provides us all with inspiration and ideas for our work to improve Internet governance,” he said.
Looking back to the last five year, when IGF began, he noted that ICANN was reporting to the United States (US) government under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding.

Pointing out that during the IGF in Athens in 2006, the community began discussion on the management of resources for the internet.

“A year later the Memorandum of Understanding was replaced by a Joint Project Agreement and three years later by the Affirmation of Commitments,” he recalled, emphasizing that the heated debates of the IGF meetings contributed significantly to gradual evolutions in the oversight mechanisms of the technical coordinator of the Domain Name Systems (DNS).

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Bharti Airtel, IBM partner to enhance African mobile market

Bharti Airtel has entered into a 10-year partnership with the International Business Machines (IBM) to enhance its mobile operations on the continent, which would be finalized in the fourth quarter of this year.

Spokesman for Bharti Group, Ashutosh Sharma and Ms Maureen Muthua of IBM confirmed these in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online at the weekend.

They also said that the 10-year agreement in principle will extend innovative relationship that began six years ago between the two companies, whilst IBM handles the Information Technology (IT) for Bharti Airtel’s 16 operations in Africa.

This, they said, is the first of its kind alliance in Africa to enable Bharti Airtel to deliver innovative and affordable Second Generation (2G) and Third Generation (3G) mobile services across the continent.

In addition, the partnership, they said, would avail a cutting-edge technology from IBM to bring improve efficiencies and benefit customers, employees and business partners of Bharti Airtel.

As said by them, the partnership would accelerate the transformation of African mobile communications and positively impact the speed of economic development across the African continent, Bharti Airtel Limited and IBM today announced the selection of IBM to manage the computing technology and services that power Bharti Airtel’s mobile communications network spanning 16 African countries.

Under a completed agreement, IBM would deploy and manage state-of-the-art information technology infrastructure and applications to support Bharti Airtel’s goal of bringing affordable and innovative mobile services to remote locations in Africa.

Sharma further said, IBM would deploy advanced technologies created by its research, including the ‘Spoken Web’ a voice-enabled Internet technology that allows users to access and share information simply by talking over an existing telephone.

This, he said, particularly compel populations with little or no literacy, visual impairments, or which lack access to Personal Computers (PCs).

When completed, they said, the agreement will extend a deep relationship between IBM and
Bharti Airtel that was established in 2004 when South Asia’s leading mobile communications provider tapped IBM to run the IT and applications for its entire Indian network.

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Etisalat attains 5m active customers

Etisalat Nigeria, has announced that it now has 5 million active subscribers.

Affirming this, Etisalat’s chief executive officer, Mr. Steven Evans, said that as at last Friday, September 17, 2010 that the network has 5 million active subscribers who are now on the network.

Excited Evans said that this acceptance and phenomenal increase attained in subscriber base is testimonial to the yearning of Nigerians for a superior Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) service.

He also noted that it is evident that customers are delighted with Etisalat’s world-class product offering and service delivery which is in line with the telecoms company’s practice in all the countries it operates.

“We’re happy that Nigerians have seen the value we provide them and the ease we have brought to their lives as to flock to our network in such impressive numbers in less than two years of commercial operations in Nigeria’s highly competitive environment,” he said.

Etisalat, he said, may be number four in the market, but its subscribers are showing that the network is number one in their hearts.

“Our every innovation, campaign, promotion and product offerings have been well received since the day we launched into the Nigerian market with our 0809uchoose campaign. We are now 5 million subscribers strong and counting”, he declared. While pledging Etisalat’s readiness to improve on quality of service based on its tradition excellence, he said they would maintain their relationship with customers.

“Let me use this opportunity to thank our customers for their wholesome acceptance of our products and services which are tailor-made to meet their communication needs. We came into this market ready to compete keenly with a promise to get and keep Nigerians talking using our ground-breaking innovations, qualitative service delivery and world class customer service and we are reassuring our subscribers that we would not relent in our efforts at delivering on our promise,” he said.

ITRealms Online recalled that two months ago, Etisalat announced that it had four million active subscribers on its network.

Etisalat as a mobile operator in the country has witnessed consistent and rapid growth in its subscriber base since it formally started commercial operations in October 2008, with pre-launch 0809uchoose campaign among others, even as it now boast of coverage in all the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

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Nokia, MTN unveil C3 in Lagos

Mobile device manufacturer, Nokia West Africa and MTN Nigeria have unveiled Nokia C3 into the Nigeria’s telecommunications market.

Nokia C3, according to Nokia’s representative, Mr. Marcel Van-de-Pas, comes with several features that offers instant messaging to the end users.

He noted that it was built with social networking in mind, so, Nokia C3 offers instant access to favorite social communities such as Facebook and Twitter straight from the home screen, thus allowing users to easily view, post, comment and update their status.

“Getting messages across is quick on Nokia C3, thanks to the full QWERTY key board and managing email, chat, calendar and music is simple with dedicated widgets on the home screen,” he said.

The new Nokia C3 device, he said was launched in partnership with MTN Nigeria enable customers to own this device and pay N1000 monthly data subscription on MTN network.

“This means that they will have access to all their email, chat, social networks and internet and chat online at a very affordable cost. Nokia is also offering all consumers 1 month free on the MTN Network,” he said.

As said by him, this solution meets the desire of Nigerians who are always on the lookout for a good-looking, affordable handset that allows them to stay continually connected to communities that suits their lifestyles, whether it is via email, social networks or instant messaging buddies.

“The new Nokia C3 offers access to Yahoo mail and Messenger, Gmail, MSN Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, Facebook and Twitter,” he said.

Additionally, he said, that Nokia C3 avails users to surf the web where ever they are so they could be sure to keep in touch with their friends and family, whenever they like.

“Nokia is the number one leader when it comes to giving consumers solutions to their mobile needs and with Nokia’s Ovi mail and Ovi chat on board, email and chats can be set up straight
from the device’’, Van-de-pas said.

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Juwah urges rededication of CTO members

Chief executive officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, has urged for rededication of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) members to enable the body meet up with its global obligations to the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector.

Dr. Juwah made this call while speaking at the end of Forum and Council meeting of CTO member states from 22 countries, in Colombo, Sri -Lanka, at the weekend.

He expressed worry over the disposition of some member nations, especially in meeting their financial obligations to the organization to ensure its smooth running and implementation of programmes approved by the Council.

CTO, he said, is a very important organization which members can leverage advance the promotion of broadband and other necessary services that will enhance the lives of the citizens of the member countries.

Underscoring the importance of the organization, Dr. Juwah said since CTO plays a major role in the election of officers of the ITU, it shows the organization stands in a good stead play very crucial roles it is playing for the benefit for the members.

This year’s event witnessed campaigns by aspirants to ITU positions at the forthcoming Plenipotentiary of the ITU which will hold in Mexico in October as CTO’s support has contributed to the election of its key officials including the current Secretary General, Dr. Hammadoun Toure.

The major feature of this year’s event is the election of Mr. Larith Weeratunga, who is currently the Secretary to the President of Srilanka, as the new chairman of the CTO.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) to partner on capacity building initiatives on the application and use of satellite communications systems.

Under the partnership, ITSO and CTO will collaborate on delivering satellite communications capacity-building and training through CTO programmes.

With proven expertise in the development and delivery of professional satellite communications systems, ITSO will provide expert trainers to conduct front-line training through two courses on satellite communications focused to policy-makers and regulators, and other stakeholders, including communications operators.

For its part, the CTO will include the training initiatives as part of its forum of programmes to officials from CTO member countries that require capacity-building skills in satellite communications.

Commenting on the partnership, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, CEO of CTO, said they were delighted to have ITSO as partner, and noted this is yet another important programme to CTO’s existing portfolio of courses.

This new partnership, he said, is a logical progression of the two company’s relationship of mutual interest as intergovernmental organisations with the mission to bridge the digital divide.

The courses, he said, will provide the much-required content needs of our member countries and access to these courses will go a long way in helping ICT stakeholders in developing Commonwealth countries to enhance their skills and knowledge in satellite communications.

“We look forward to working with ITSO on this programme, and other initiatives in the near future, which will be beneficial to our respective member countries,” he said.

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