" ITREALMS: June 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

Company Sizes not condition for corporate governance says NCC

*DNSSEC Roadshow ends in Lagos (Test)

The size of a company is not condition for corporate governance says the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Speaking in Lagos at a forum on corporate governance by the Commission and Lagos Business School, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, Hon. Okey Itanyi made this know to participants of the one-day event.

According to him, NCC is determined to promote good governance in the nation’s telecommunications sector, hence the event, adding that all types of companies operating in the industry whether public or private, large or small, as the requirement for good corporate governance does not wane on account of size or type of business affiliation.

Meanwhile, DNSSEC Roadshow has ended in Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria.
The three-day Roadshow on Domain Name System Security Extension (DNSSEC) ended in Lagos, with the President of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Mrs. Mary Uduma commending participants.

She said it offered Nigerians the opportunity to learn more on DNSSEC and for the techies and hands-on, especially on Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) cum Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT).

“We are excited that decision makers across industries, including registrants, registrars, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government, were part of this 2013 roadshow, which came to Nigeria, courtesy of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), especially Mr. Richard Lamb who facilitated the roadshow.

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why Nigeria is hosting ICANN’s DNSSEC roadshow - Uduma

Mrs Uduma, NIRA president
President of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Mrs. Mary Uduma has explained why Nigeria is hosting the three-day Domain Name System Security Extension (DNSSEC) in Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of the country.

Speaking in Lagos, she said the event comes in two parts comprising awareness creation for the local internet community and hands-on, especially on Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) cum Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT).

According to her, the awareness part would engage the local community and raise local interest in DNSSEC adoption.

“We expect to reach decision makers across industries, including registrants, registrars, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government,” she said.

Additionally, she said, DNSSEC hands-on for techies has been designed to teach the protocol and its deployment, with a focus on the issues raised by a recent survey conducted by NIRA.

The chief operating officer, NIRA, Mr. Ope Odusan said some expected participants at the workshop include MDAs, ISPs, Telcos, Registrars of NIRA, financial Institutions, Institutions of Learning, and the print and electronic media.

He emphasized that participants for the second part of the DNSSEC training are required to come with their laptops that are Wireless Fidelity (WiFi)-enabled and preferably have some exposure to Linux/Unix command line operations.

He enumerated some of the benefits, to include being a platform for networking as there would be discussion sessions to enable stakeholders share their individual and collective thoughts and experiences on the implementation of DNSSEC and internet security, in general.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

MTN: Linking SMEs to opportunities via forum

MTN Nigeria MD, Brett Goschen
There is no gainsaying the fact that Information Communication Technology (ICT), plays a vital role in economic development. All over the world, exciting trends are emerging, with knowledge fast becoming a strategic asset for business growth. 

Advances in ICTs are occurring on an incredible scale. For countries which are tapping into the new ideas, innovation and technologies that are proliferating in a knowledge-driven economy, there is a definite abundance wealth of opportunities for their entire people.

While some schools of thought ascribe the concept of a knowledge-driven economy to trends, in advanced economies, to a greater dependence on knowledge, information and possession of high skills and the increasing need for ready access to all of these by the business and public sectors, other schools of thought reason that “knowledge is universal” and so, is not exclusive to the countries of the advanced economies only and neither does the concept of a knowledge-driven economy.

They maintain that other emerging markets like South Africa and Singapore have developed their own frameworks for catapulting their countries into knowledge-driven economies. Like the US and UK, Nigeria, with a population of over 150 million people, has the capacity to make a successful transition to a truly knowledge-driven economy. Already, the country has recorded a remarkable improvement in the area of Information technology, since the introduction of GSM in 2001. However, there is still a lot more to be done to play ‘catch-up’ with the rest of the world and be able to compete successfully in the fast-moving world economy.

In developing a knowledge-driven Nigerian economy, there is the need for a new wave of collaboration between different agencies and different sectors of the economy to make it a reality. For instance, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), have become the foundation of economic development, market prosperity and employment-generation, making a noticeable contribution to the national economy. The development of SMEs is an essential element in the growth strategy of most economies and holds a particular significance for Nigeria.

SMEs contribute to improved living standards, bring about substantial local capital formation and achieve a high level of productivity and capability. SMEs are recognised as the principal means of achieving equitable and sustainable industrial diversification. 

Tipping SMEs to anchor the growth of Nigeria’s economy, in the next couple of years, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga said that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises remain the backbone of the development of any economy and the driving force of national growth. In Nigeria, he said, there are currently over 17 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, employing over 31 million Nigerians. “They account for over 80 per cent of the total number of enterprises in Nigeria and employ 75 per cent of the total workforce,” Aganga said.

If there is one factor that has contributed immensely to the growth and success of the SMEs, it is the use of ICT. SME usage of ICT ranges from basic technology such as TV, radio and fixed lines to more advanced technology such as email, e-commerce and information processing systems.

In fact, the emergence of different sophisticated ICT tools makes it a lot easier to do business in recent times. A case in point is the use of social media platforms to advertise products and services, the use of Skype to do a tele-conference meeting with business partners across the globe, etc.

It gets even better and interesting with the various value-added packages that are continually offered by the GSM companies for business owners to be at their best. One of such packages is the MTN Smooth Talk, a special tariff plan, created for business people, who make high volume calls and require heavy data plan for their businesses.

Iyke Nwachukwu, an IT consultant and a participant at the recently held  MTN Link Forum, an engagement platform for young, budding entrepreneurs and professionals to network and connect to their dreams, stated “The use of mobile phones has helped many entrepreneurs reduce costs and improve business processes. I am, currently, on the MTN Smooth Talk plan and I can testify that it is one plan every entrepreneur should buy into. Call rate is at a reduced and affordable rate, which enables you to communicate more with your customers and then of course the exciting data bundle that enables you achieve more.”

On how, ICT has shaped his business, Nwachukwu said “Everyone who is in the country knows that we are a lot better than where we were a decade ago. For everything thing we do, we rely, basically, on communication. You can reach people faster, track your products, do your business transaction etc, with the aid of ICT. We have all benefitted, in one way or the other, since the likes of MTN came into the business of Information Technology. Anyone who knows what it was like back then in the days of NITEL will agree with me that there is a complete paradigm shift. Life is much easier and businesses better, in this era of ICT.”

Using advanced ICT to improve business processes falls into the category of e-business. However, not all SMEs need to use ICT to the same degree of complexity. The first ICT tool that most SMEs adopt is having basic communication with a fixed line or mobile phone, whichever is more economical or most convenient for their businesses. This allows the SME to communicate with its suppliers and customers without having to pay a personal visit.

Like any firm, an SME decides which type of ICT products to adopt, based on the concrete benefits they can bring to its core business, the ICT capacity of its employees and the financial resources available. Most people are familiar with basic ICT such as fixed phone lines, mobile phones, fax, computers and basic document processing software – like Microsoft Office. 

Advanced communication technology, however, is more complex, because Advanced communication technology relies primarily on the Internet and the intranet, which allow people, within the firm, to share files with each other, over the same network. Having Internet connectivity enables firms to engage in faster research, set up websites, conduct e-commerce and set up video conferences.
*Anthony Ifeanyi Elikene contributed this from Lagos
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Friday, June 14, 2013

Meet Nyeneokpon Emmanuel Ekanem - Profile of winner, DigitalSENSE Students' Essay 2013

Nyeneokpon Emmanuel Ekanem
As the tradition on this platform, ITRealms hereby brings you, our dear readers the profile of the winner, of annual Nigeria DigitalSENSE Student Essay on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) 2013; Nyeneokpon Emmanuel Ekanem, who is a student of UNIBEN, Edo State. Enjoy!

Born as third among a set of triplets to Mr and Mrs Emmanuel Ekanem of Ibiono-Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria on May 6, 1989, Nyeneokpon Emmanuel Ekanem had his primary and secondary education at Abak International Nursery and Primary School and Holy Family College, Abak, Akwa Ibom State; where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate and Senior School Certificate respectively.
He then proceeded to University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State where he is currently a student of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Besides studying Engineering at the university, Nyeneokpon Ekanem is actively involved in freelance writing especially on issues of national and global interests.
He has won many national and international essay and mathematics competitions and attended several conferences including the 2011 annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.
A staunch Christian, his hobbies include researching, travelling and writing. He is a feminist and an ardent social right campaigner and environmental protection advocate.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2013 FIFA Confed Cup: Adidas hosts Team Nigeria to training in Germany

Team Nigeria in Adidas training field
 As part of the preparation for the commencement of 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup on Saturday, June 15 in Brazil, the Nigeria national football team were hosted to training sessions at the home of Adidas in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

ITRealms recollects that in February this year, the Super Eagles were crowned as the victors of Africa when they beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final of AFCON 2013 in Johannesburg. 

Getting set for 2013 FIFA Cup
And in order to help keep the team’s positive spirit, long-term partner of Nigerian football, Adidas, assisted the team by inviting the team to train at its high performance headquarters with access to top sports facilities in readiness for Brazil crackdown.

Also, ITRealms gathered that while Team Nigeria was in Germany as seen in the accompanied link, the players were in good shape at the training camp.

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Friday, June 07, 2013

Two facets of device warranty you must know

Do you know there are two facets to device warranty, that is, if you must claim it? Anyway, this was explained recently in Lagos by the chief executive officer, Slot Systems Limited, Mr. Nnamdi Ezeigbo while briefing media in Lagos.

ITRealms gathered that faults on mobile devices, he said, could come in form of factory and user’s faults in that order explained that factory faults are replaceable if the devices come back within the specified warranty period without physical damages or any evidence of having being dropped, shock or liquid penetration.

Ezeigbo noted that there are two categories of factory faults including the faults associated with hardware and software.

Equally, he explained that user’s faults could happen when devices are subjected to any of the aforesaid conditions, adding that in such a case, the user is expected to pay for the replacement of the faulty parts instead of mere repairs. Thus, it applies to devices that are still within the specified warranty period.
 Slot, is the ability to add value to products based on the realization that the consumer is the king, reiterating the commitment of Slot to continue in the diligent service to consumers.

And for the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Head of Lagos Office operations, Mrs. Ngozi Obidike, as a consumer Nigerians have the right to satisfaction of basic needs including access to basic goods or services necessary for survival, such as food, water, energy, clothing, shelter, health-care, education and sanitation.

According to her, consumers have the right to safety, information, choose, redress, consumer education, representation and healthy environment.

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Thursday, June 06, 2013

DigitalSENSE News: DSA hosts 3rd Nigeria IPV6 Roundtable

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Monday, June 03, 2013

DigitalSENSE News: ICANN names Yu-Chuang Regional VP for Asia

DigitalSENSE News: ICANN names Yu-Chuang Regional VP for Asia: Kuek Yu-Chuang The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has finally named Kuek Yu-Chuang, the Vice Presiden... ... Making SENSE of digital revolution!

Telecom industry: The trouble with dominance operator status

By Tunde Akindele

In April, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced the emergence of dominant players in the Nigerian telecommunications market. Given that Nigeria has enjoyed real time GSM service for only 12 years, that development brought cheering news that the sector had indeed grown so fast.

The pronouncement was the outcome of NCC’s Study of the Assessment of the Level of Competition in the Nigerian telecommunications industry. According to the regulatory agency, the primary objective of that exercise is to “ensure fair competition in all sectors of the Nigerian communications industry.”

In 2010, NCC had conducted a similar study. But none of the service providers could be considered a dominant player. But a repeat exercise in June 2012 came up with a verdict that two operators – MTN and Glo – are the leading lights.

The study considered six market segments namely Mobile Voice, Fixed Voice, Fixed Data, Mobile Data, Upstream Segment and Downstream Segment. Going by the study, there are no dominant operators yet in the fixed mobile, fixed data and downstream market segments.

With over 47.4 million subscribers (about 43.57 per cent market share) as at December 2012, MTN emerged as the dominant operator in the voice data category. A pioneer in the Nigerian GSM sub-sector, along with Airtel (known as Econet when GSM service was launched in Nigeria in 2001), MTN was also announced as joint dominant operator in the upstream segment. It shared that honour with Glo, which launched its services in 2003 and had about 24.1 million subscribers (about 22.15 per cent) as at December 2012.

In its report, NCC declared that there are concerns in the two market segments. For mobile voice, it states that the segment is not “effectively competitive.” Fundamentally, NCC expressed worry about the “wide differential (of about 300 per cent) between on-net and off net calls.” It goes further to warn that “this is indicative of the likely establishment of a calling hub for MTN subscribers.” This is what has raised concern for GSM subscribers.
Although the regulatory agency stated that the dominant operator in the mobile voice market should, among others requirements, collapse on-net and off-net retail tariffs immediately, that is yet to be done. According to MTN tariffs, its subscribers are encouraged to make calls within the networks. Take the MTN booster weekly prepaid charge. It offers MTN-to-MTN calls at 10 kobo per second, while subscribers are charged 150 per cent  more – 25 kobo per second – for calls to other networks. At 30 kobo per second for calls from the second minute till the rest of the day, MTN Super Saver off-net call rates are exploitative. There is a huge difference of 200 per cent as it charged 10 kobo per second for on-net calls.

Other operators appear to have made life easier for their subscribers when making calls outside their networks. For Glo, its Talk-Free pre-paid package, on-net calls cost 15 kobo per second and 18 kobo per second for off-net calls. SMS charges are the same N4 irrespective of whether the message is sent to within or outside the network. On Glo Hi-Flier and G-BAM Hi 5ive, subscribers enjoy same 18 kobo per second charge to any network within Nigeria. But Glo is also guilty of exploitation as it charged 10 kobo per second for on-line calls on Glo Gista but 30 kobo per second for off-net calls, while Glo 1derful rates for voice calls are 15 kobo per second for on-net calls and 25 kobo off-net.

Airtel has 2good Classic and Airtel Club 10, among other packages. For the former, voice calls have a flat rate of 18 kobo per second for calls to all national destinations, irrespective of the network. Airtel Club 10 requires subscribers to register 10 Airtel lines of family, friends or associates which would then enable calls to be made at 8.34 kobo per second. Calls to other Airtel numbers on this package cost 20 kobo per second on-net and 30 kobo per second off-net.
Etisalat has Easy starter, among its several packages. Calls to all networks cost 50 kobo per second, while Homezone calls are charged at 40 kobo per second whether on-net or off-net. On Easycliq, calls within the network at peak period cost 40 kobo per second and a minimal increase to 50 kobo per second for off-net calls.
Tunde Agbabiaka, a consumer rights advocate, appeals to NCC to ensure that the benefits of the dominant operator declaration are accruable to the subscriber. “The regulator must not encourage or be soon to be encouraging the dominant players to stifle the other network operators. That is dangerous for the market that has become vibrant as a result of competition among the operators,” he said.

Having commenced the Dominant Operator policy since May 1, the NCC is expected to have ensured compliance with the new regime, particularly in the area of pricing. In his recent announcement, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo assured that the regulatory agency would deploy all necessary procedures to ensure that both companies did not use their dominant positions in the industry to stifle competition. NCC said it had, therefore, put measures in place to correct current anti-competitive behaviours being practised by both dominant operators. In his words, “dominance, in itself, is not negative because it is an indication of the effectiveness, resourcefulness and strategic decisions of the operator. However, the conduct of the operator determines how its dominance would be perceived, particularly if that conduct is likely to substantially lessen competition and distort the market.”

As it is, being the dominant operator in the mobile voice market segment, MTN has devised a strategy to compel Nigerian subscribers to either migrate to its network or acquire new MTN lines. The large disparity between on-net and off-net calls also appeared to be a strategy to discourage MTN subscribers from making calls to other operators.

According to consumer rights advocates, there is cause for concern in this game of might as the subscribers would be the ultimate loser. Nigerians haven’t forgotten how they had to queue all day to make calls at NITEL offices and how they were reminded by their own Communications Minister that telephone service was not for the poor. Nigeria must not be allowed to descend to that better-forgotten past.

It is feared that if the call rates disparity is not quickly checked by the regulatory agency, the smaller operators might be discouraged from investing in the networks.

Unless NCC checks the excesses of the dominant operators, the regime of monopoly that stunted the growth of the sector before the GSM revolution commenced in 2001 may just well return.

*Tunde Akindele contributed this piece from Lagos.

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