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MTN is at the Forefront of Africa’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Charge- Ndukwe

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MTN Is At The Forefront of Africa’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Charge- Ndukwe, SiliconNigeria

The Chairman, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, OFR, said Nigeria’s largest mobile network operator is leading the charge for the country’s positioning for Africa’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

Ndukwe in a keynote session at the African Continental Free Trade Area Strategy Workshop held on Friday, November 20, 2020, said the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.

He said while the first, second, and third industrial revolutions focused on Steam Engineering; Electrification and Assembly Line; and Computing, Internet and Nuclear Energy respectively, the 4IR is building on the third. The 4IR is characterized by a fusion of technologies that are blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

Highlighting the opportunities presented by the 4IR in Africa, Ernest Ndukwe asserts that the revolution represents a unique opportunity for African countries to leapfrog over development hurdles with the help of technology.

Not forgetting the role that telecommunication companies play in the acceleration of the 4IR in Africa, Dr. Ndukwe elucidated on how MTN Nigeria is taking the lead on this.

The Nigerian telecommunications industry in 2020 has recorded an increase in National Broadband penetration, contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Traffic, Radio Latency, and others. MTN is leading on the tripartite levers for 4IR acceleration, which include Pervasive Broadband through advances in 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), amongst other categories. 

Through innovations in these areas, the telecommunications company is at the forefront of enabling transformation through secure, high-speed connectivity and cloud solutions.

Apart from telecommunications companies, Dr. Ndukwe highlighted other drivers of 4IR on the African continent. He mentioned that African policy makers and regulators would need to use a “united vision to seize opportunities as well as create incentives for technology adoption in national priority sectors like agriculture and energy.”

He expounded on the roles of Business Associations, which include raising awareness and providing information about the potential and markets for technologies while also increasing investments in training. Dr. Ndukwe concluded that development partners would need to “finance projects on the impact of the 4IR on African economies and societies, support the creation of regional R&D centers and foster linkages with R&D centres.”s

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Nigerian Telcos Deploy 53,460 3G, 4G BTSs, 55,725km Optic Cables—Danbatta

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Nigerian Telcos Deploy 53460 3G 4G BTSs 55725km Optic Cables---Danbatta, SiliconNigeria

The Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta said that third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) base transceiver stations (BTS) deployment in Nigeria has increased from 30,000 to 53,460 in the last five years.

Prof. Umar Danbatta who disclosed this stated that fibre optic transmission cables expanded from 47,000km to 54,725km in the same period, resulting in improved broadband/telecoms service delivery to Nigerians.

He stated this at a briefing for the new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Engr. Festus Yusuf Daudu, on the functions and regulatory activities of the Commission in Abuja on Tuesday.

 In the comprehensive briefing, the EVC spoke on NCC’s enabling laws, its mandates,  structure, implementation approach of its mandates and methodology, key focus and targets, scorecards, the new soon-to-be-unveiled Strategic Management Vision (SVP), NCC’s contributions to the economy, various regulatory frameworks aimed at improving service delivery, challenges confronting the sector and proposed solutions, among others. 

According to him, the effective regulatory regime put in place by the leadership of the Commission has resulted in increased deployment of  infrastructure by telecoms operators, which in turn, helped to improve broadband penetration and other related service delivery in the telecoms industry. 

“The BTS, fibre optic cables and other related infrastructure are central to the provision of improved service experience for Nigerians by their respective telecoms service providers,” he said, adding that the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) are also expected to add 38,296km to optic fibre cables when they commence fully operations. 

According to the EVC, as at November, 2020, active telephony subscribers stood at 208 million with teledensity standing at 108.92 per cent while active Internet subscriptions were 154.9 million and a broadband penetration of 45.07 per cent, among others. 

He also talked on various initiatives undertaken by the Commission to ensure consumer protection and empowerment. These, according to him, include the Declaration of 2017 as Year of the Telecom Consumer, introduction of the 622 Toll Free Line for lodging and resolving consumer complaints and the provision of the 112 Emergency number and activation of 19 Emergency Communications Centre (ECCs). 

Other such consumer-centric regulatory measures intervention, according to the EVC, include, issuance of various directions to mobile network operators (MNOs) to protect the consumers from being short-changed, ensuring smooth transition of Etisalat to 9Mobile, consumer outreach programmes, introduction and enforcement of mobile number portability (MNP) as well as introduction of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 to check cases of unsolicited text messages. 

The EVC disclosed that the number of subscriptions to DND service has hit over 30 million as the service empowers Nigerians to be able to protect themselves from the menace of unsolicited text messages. 

In recognition of the tremendous economic growth opportunities afforded by the deployment of broadband and its associated technologies, Danbatta said the Commission has positioned itself in government’s drive for a digital Nigeria, as contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025), the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020 – 2030) and the Strategic Management Plan (2020 – 2024) of the Commission. 

“The Commission will continue to put in its best in the discharge of its mandates, especially in facilitating the deployment of broadband, which is central to diversifying the Nigerian economy and national development. Also, it is our belief that the communications industry, under the leadership of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, will experience more quantum leaps and retain its current leadership role in the telecommunications space,” he said. 

 In his reaction, the Perm Sec commended the leadership of the Commission, acknowledging the upward growth attributed to the effective regulatory regime, the central role NCC is playing in the digital transformation of the Nigerian economy as well as the impressive contribution of the sector to the country’s Gross Domestic (GDP). 

“I want to thank NCC for its contribution to the Nigerian economy so far. I am not exaggerating about the achievements of NCC, in terms of contribution to GDP and how NCC’s effective regulatory role has been helping the economy in so many ways,” he said, adding that NCC leadership also contributed to his success as the Chairman of the World Radio Conference in 2015. 

Engr. Daudu urged the Commission on the need for increased collaboration and teamwork with the Ministry, other agencies and industry stakeholders towards achieving the Federal Government’s objective of a digital economy. He also promised to support the Commission in whatever ways possible towards achieving its regulatory mandates.

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UK-Nigeria Tech Hub Unveils Virtual Capacity Building Programmes

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UK-Nigeria Tech Hub Unveils Virtual Capacity Building Programmes, SiliconNigeria

The UK-Nigeria Tech Hub has launched amongst others two virtual programmes- the Design School Programme for aspiring product designers seeking to start a career in tech and the Future Females Business School programme for early-stage female entrepreneurs with tech-enabled businesses in Nigeria.

The Design School programme will run for two months and will provide an opportunity for 30 aspiring product designers to undergo an intensive training to equip them with necessary digital and product design skills. Application closes on January 25th 2021 and interested persons can apply using this link- http://bit.ly/DufunaDesignSchool

The Future Females Business programme is targeted at providing 100 early-stage female entrepreneurs with tech-enabled business in Nigeria an opportunity to upskill and gain digital skills aimed at bringing their business to life. The programme will run for 3 months and will include 10 modules, masterclasses, coaching sessions and guest features of industry experts in Nigeria. Applications closes on January 25th 2021 and interested persons can apply using this link- https://futurefemales.typeform.com/to/zGzqkKbV

While encouraging interested applicants to apply, the Country Director of the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, Honey Ogundeyi said: “These programmes will help promote gender inclusive economic growth as well as upgrade digital skills in Nigeria thereby developing the tech-ecosystem.”

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FG Happy As Telcos Link 48m SIM Cards With NIN

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FG Happy As Telcos Link 48m SIM Cards With NIN, SiliconNigeria

The federal government has lauded Nigeria’s telecommunications operators for linking 47.8 million subscriber identification modules (SIMs) with the national identity number (NIN) in the ongoing exercise.

 At an average of three to four SIMs per subscriber, this means many millions will be linked up before the deadline in February 2021. This was disclosed at the end of a review meeting on 18th January 2021 by the Technical Implementation Committee under the Ministerial Task Force.

 The committee reported significant progress in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage exercise.  So far, a total of 47.8 million NINs have been collected by the mobile operators.

 Reacting to the report, the minister of communications and digital economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, expressed satisfaction with this commendable achievement, saying government appreciates the commitment demonstrated by all stakeholders and citizens and urged them to submit their NINs before 9th February, 2021 deadline.

The minister urged the technical team to fast-track the processes so that the project is delivered soonest. The technical committee drew attention to the App developed by federal government which allows subscribers to link up to a maximum of seven SIMs to their NIN.

The minister concluded by reminding Nigerians to secure and protect their NINs, urging subscribers to desist from selling their NINs or allowing others to use their NINs for registration. “For any action committed with the SIM, good or bad, it will be officially traced and attached to the NIN owner,” the Minister warned.

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