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



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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Pantami, Sanwo-Olu To Launch Hope Payment Service Bank



Pantami Sanwo-Olu To Launch Hope Payment Service Bank, SiliconNigeria
  • Flags-off Commercial Operations Tuesday Nov 24
  • .To deepen Financial Inclusion

Hope Payment Service Limited, the digital bank subsidiary of Unified Payments Services Limited, will formally launch its operation on Tuesday November 24, 2020.

The event which kicks off at on Zoom, will be graced by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami who is the special guest of honour while the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is the chief host.

Hope Payment Service Bank launch will follow that of 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB), a subsidiary of 9mobile, Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile operator which will launch its commercial service on Monday, November 23. 2020.

Hope Payment Service Bank has Mr. Ayotunde Kuponiyi as the MD/CEO; Alhaji Shehu Abubakar as the Chairman of the Board of Directors while Mr. Agada Apochi is the Founder and a Director. Apochi is also the Founder and a Director of PayAttitude as well as the MD/CEO of UP (Unified Payment Services Limited), the parent company of Hope Payment Service Bank.

Hope PSBwas incorporated in September, 2019. It leverages digital technologies to deliver inclusive financial services.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had in August granted final approval to Hope PSB, Moneymaster PSB and 9 PSB to operate following their compliance with the licensing requirements which were stipulated by the apex bank.

The final approval is coming after the CBN issued an updated and revised guideline for the licensing and regulation of Payment Service Banks in Nigeria on August 27, 2020. The first guideline for the PSBs was issued on October 26, 2018.

“With Hope PSBank, every mobile telephone user can easily enjoy instant digital financial and payment services with his or her phone number as account number and also a means of payment across all channels – person-to-person on personal devices, web, merchants’ points of sale, automated teller machines and agency outlets.

“At Hope PSBank, we redefine the concept of open banking and the boundaries of competition by offering our unique financial and payment services and solutions to customers of other banks who are not required to open or maintain account with our bank. All transactions on our platforms are gladly settled into accounts of our community of users and customers with any bank of their choice,” a statement on its website reads.

PSBs are a new category of the banks with smaller-scale operations and the absence of credit risk and foreign exchange operations. In addition to operating current and savings accounts they can also offer payments and remittance services, issue debit and prepaid cards, deploy ATMs and other technology-enabled banking services.

PSBs are envisioned to facilitate high-volume, low-value transactions in remittance services, micro-savings and withdrawal services in a secured technology-driven environment to further deepen financial inclusion and help in attaining the policy objective of 20 per cent exclusion rate by 2020.

According to the CBN Guidelines, PSBs are to operate mostly in the rural areas and unbanked locations targeting financially excluded persons, with not less than 25 per cent financial service touch points in such rural areas; Enter into direct partnership with card scheme operators; Deploy ATMs, Point of Sale devices in some of these areas; Be at liberty to operate through banking agents; Roll out agent networks; and Use other channels including electronic platforms to reach-out to its customers, among others

Hope Payment Service Bank is owned by Unified Payment Services Limited (UP), Nigeria’s premier Payments & Financial Technology Company founded in 1997 by a consortium of leading Nigerian banks.

Incorporated as SmartCard Nigeria Plc, it was later known as ValuCard Nigeria Plc prior to becoming UP or Unified Payments following the decommissioning of its domestic-only payment or card scheme and transformation to scheme-neutral and option-neutral PayFinTech Company with ownership of different technologies.

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9Mobile’s Payment Service Bank To Go Live Monday As Board Appoints Branka Mracajac CEO



9Mobile’s Payment System Bank To Go Live Monday As Board Appoints Branka Mracajac CEO, SiliconNigeria

The Board of Directors of 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) has announced the appointment of Branka Mracajac as the CEO designate ahead of Monday November 23, 2020 commercial launch.  

9PSB is the digital financial arm of 9mobile, Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile network. A seasoned Enterprise Resource Planning expert, Branka brings on board, an enviable record of accomplishments in digital financial services and risk management.

Prior to her appointment by 9PSB, Branka demonstrated her ingenuity during her stint at Digital Finance International in Russia and other markets. She is a versatile professional with top management experience of over 15 years in digital finance across 30 markets globally.

The Serbian national has worked in accelerating the adoption of digital payments and facilitated financial inclusion for various markets across Europe and other emerging markets around the world.

The Central Bank of Nigeria recently granted final approval to Nigeria’s digital lifestyle bank, 9PSB, to commence operations in fostering financial inclusion in Nigeria’s banking ecosystem.

With Branka’s leadership and experience backed by a competent and committed board of directors, 9PSB is set to deliver high-end digital banking and financial inclusion services that will make transactions easier, convenient and accessible for people of all social classes in Nigeria.

Speaking on the appointment of Branka, the Chairman, Board of Directors, 9PSB, Chief Ikenna Kevin Okafor, stated that, “Branka is experienced in business strategy, corporate finance, policy implementation and risk management. I am certain that she will provide strategic leadership which will facilitate financial inclusion and increase financial payment across all market segments in the urban and rural areas of Nigeria.”

Responding to her appointment, Branka says that, “The pace of change in today’s Fintech industry is exceptional and I am delighted to be offered the opportunity to lead 9PSB at this early stage in its development. I look forward to using my experience to launch the 9PSB brand into the Nigerian Fintech market. The goal is to ensure that we are at the forefront of financial inclusion using the most innovative offerings.”

Ahead of the appointment of a CEO, the Board of Directors at 9PSB worked round the clock with a team of consultants who helped in establishing the company in the last 16 months. Members of the 9PSB’s board of Directors include Asega Aliga, Olurotimi Oladimeji Adebanjo, Amina Tukur-Tarfa, Samuel Okwulehie, Mohammed Edewor, Phillips Oki, Simeon Oyakhilome Okoduwa and Chief Ikenna Kevin Okafor, who chairs the board.

They all come with rich and varied pedigree, which they have deployed at the disposal of 9PSB. Leading the board is Chief Ikenna Kevin Okafor, a philanthropist and the ex-President of the Southern-east chapter of the Lagos Business School Association. On his part, Mr. Asega Aliga is an investment banker, entrepreneur and financial services professional. He is passionate about capacity building and strategic global alliances for Pan-African investment opportunities.

Mr. Olurotimi Oladimeji Adebanjo holds an MBA from the University of Pretoria and is currently the regional director, South and East Africa at e-tranzact Global, South Africa. Serving as the only female on the board, Amina Tukur-Tarfa is a highly engaged individual with over two decades of top flight experience in the areas of HR Recruitment, Operations, Employee Services and Administration. She also has, relevant experience as a HR Generalist and HR Specialist with key areas of knowledge and proficiency.  Equally on the board is Mr Samuel Okwulehie, a Senior Advisor at Boston Consulting Group. He has a vast experience in commercial operations and global logistics gained from many years in the international airline industry.

Mr. Mohammed Edewor (Esq) holds a Master’s degree in Political Economy of Development from SOAS University of London. He is a serial entrepreneur and erudite lawyer with over 40 years of business and legal experience. Edewor has vast business interests in telecommunications, banking, manufacturing, oil and gas. Also, on the board is Mr. Phillips Oki an Economist and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (FCA). He is a seasoned venture capitalist. Mr. Simeon Oyakhilome Okoduwa brings to the board, his core areas of expertise and experience which includes Corporate & Commercial Law Advisory; Dispute Resolution/ADR; Corporate Governance Audit & Remediation and Doing Business Advisory.

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New ATCON President Vows Action on Forex Allocation for Telcos



New ATCON President Vows Action on Forex Allocation for Telcos, SiliconNigeria
  • As Olusola Teniola hands over to Ike Nnamani  

The Chief Executive Officer, Medallion Communication Limited, Ikechukwu Nnamani has emerged as the new National President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).

His election took place at the Association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and National Executive Council Elections held in Lagos on Thursday November 12, 2020 following the completion of two terms of four years in office of Olusola Teniola as president of ATCON.

In his acceptance speech, Nnamani said he would focus attention on securing foreign exchange for telecom finance of members importing critical telecom equipment into the country.

New ATCON President Vows Action on Forex Allocation for Telcos, SiliconNigeria
ATCON’s outgoing and incoming executive in a group photographs after its annual general meeting and elections held on Thursday November 12, 2020 in Lagos.

He said, “A lot of our members have complained about challenges in accessing the right means of equity or even foreign exchange (forex) to those that requires importation of technical equipment and infrastructure. So, my administration will be engaging with the relevant government agency to put an end to such challenges.”

Nnamani who was the former first vice president of the association during 2018/2020 administration, has a core vision of bridging the digital divide between nations and integrates technologies for practical solutions. He said his tenure would ensure increase in membership categories and the scope of operations. 

Speaking after his election, Nnamani stated that his administration will basically work in three major areas which include strengthen the secretariat to make it robust, efficient and ensure the right infrastructure, structure and manpower to manage the secretariat are in place. 

According to him, “the second core agenda will be on our membership. Our membership is already enlarging each year. So, we will be expounding the categories of our members in quantity, and also quality, adding values to each member from advocacy standpoint, and financial stand point.”

He also noted that he will also focus on the need of our members, especially in area where they are have challenges with government agencies and regulators. “It is easier when members come through the association to address issues affecting them than when they go alone because you suddenly notice you’re not the only one facing same challenge. When the regulator sees that more than one entity is facing same challenge, they take it more serious than when they feel it is isolated to one company.

Engr. Nnamani whose company, Medallion Communications focuses on interconnect clearinghouse for telecom traffic, also handles core network infrastructure that promotes, develops, and distributes local contents and ensuring high quality of service is delivered to the subscribers at an affordable prices.

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