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Global Mobile Internet Userbase to Reach Two Billion

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Mobile internet in Nigeria

More than two billion people globally will use mobile devices to connect to the Internet in 2016, with countries like India, China and Indonesia leading the way, research firm India Data Corporation said.

According to www.economictimes.indiatimes.com, overall, an estimated 3.2 billion people representing 44 per cent of the world’s population will have access to the Internet in 2016.

“Growth in Internet access is taking place around the world, but some countries are seeing particularly rapid growth. China, India and Indonesia lead the way and will account for almost half of the gains in access globally over the course of the next five years,” the portal quoted IDC as saying in a statement.

The combination of lower-cost devices and inexpensive wireless networks are making accessibility easier in countries with populations that could not previously afford them, it said.

According to Internet and Mobile Association of India, India was expected to reach 402 million by December 2015, registering a growth of 49 per cent over 2014. About 306 million of these are expected to access Internet from their mobile devices.

IDC said the global mobile Internet userbase is forecast to grow at two per cent annually through 2020 unless significant new methods of Internet access are introduced.

Efforts by Google, SpaceX, and Facebook among others to make the Internet available to the remaining four billion people via high altitude planes, balloons, and satellites are underway.

However, it remains unclear how successful these endeavours will be and when they will be operational at scale, IDC said.

“Over the next five years, global growth in the number of people accessing the Internet exclusively through mobile devices will grow by more than 25 per cent per year while the amount of time we spend on them continues to grow. This change in the way we access the Internet is fueling explosive growth in mobile commerce and mobile advertising,” Program Director of Strategic Advisory Service, Scott Strawn said.

More than two billion use email and read news online and more people than ever before are making purchases online, the statement added.

Internet start-ups in India are joining the front line against Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and his plan to roll out free Internet to the country’s masses.

The government has ordered Facebook’s Free Basics plan on hold while it decides what to do.

The program, launched in more than 35 developing countries around the world, offers pared-down web services on mobile phones, along with access to the company’s social network and messaging services, without charge.

But critics say the program, launched 10 months ago in collaboration with Reliance Communications, violates principles of net neutrality, the concept that all websites on the internet are treated equally. It would put small content providers and start-ups that don’t participate in it at a disadvantage, they say.

“India is a test case for a company like Facebook and what happens here will affect the roll out of this service in other smaller countries where perhaps there is not so much awareness at present,” said Mishi Choudhary, a New York-based lawyer who works on technology and Internet advocacy issues.

Also at stake is Facebook’s ambition to expand in its largest market outside the United States. Only 252 million out of India’s 1.3 billion people have Internet access, making it a growth marke ..

In a letter seen by Reuters, the heads of nine start-up including Paytm, backed by China’s Alibaba Group, and dining app Zomato, have written to the watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India urging it to ensure Internet access was allowed without differential pricing.

The executives said in the letter, dated Tuesday, that differential pricing for Internet access would lead to a “few players like Facebook with its Free Basics platform acting as gate-keepers”.

“There is no reason to create a digital divide by offering a walled garden of limited services in the name of providing access to the poor,” they wrote.

According to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg “We know that for every 10 people connected to the Internet, roughly one is lifted out of poverty,” he wrote in The Times of India newspaper this week. “We know that for India to make progress, more than 1 billion people need to be connected to the Internet.

“What reason is there for denying people free access to vital services for communication, education, healthcare, employment, farming and women’s rights?”

A company spokesman said the aim of Facebook’s Free Basics initiative was to give people a taste of what the internet can offer. And Facebook has issued a series of full-page newspaper advertisements and set up billboard banners in an unusual and aggressive campaign to counter the protests.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Gov. Sule Joins the Digital Economy and E-government Council

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Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule has been appointed a member of the Digital Economy and E-government council by the President, Muhammadu Buhari.

The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Sule, Ibrahim Addra, disclosed this in a statement he issued to journalists in Lafia, the state’s capital.

According to the release, the governor’s appointment was announced in a letter signed by Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy.ica.

Part of the statement reads “ the constitution of the Presidential Council is in an effort to implement the National Digital Economy Policy (NDEPS) and the Nigerian E-government Master Plan (NEGMP).

“The Minister of Communication notes that Nasarawa State is critical to the success of Nigeria’s Digital Economy Agenda.”

The statement stated that Governor Sule and other members of the council would be inaugurated on a date to be announced by the council’s chairman, President Buhari.

The National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) was developed in line with the Presidential directives given to the Minister of Communications on his assumption of office in 2019.

Accordingly, the aim was to enable Nigeria to take advantage of digital technologies are transforming every aspect of modern life,  in order to become a global leader in the digital economy and serve as a catalyst for economic diversification and the achievement of key national goals such as improving security, reducing corruption, and expanding the economy.

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Social Media

United States Federal Trade Commission Fines Twitter $150 Million Over Privacy, Security Violations

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The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered Twitter Incorporation to pay a sum of $150m as a fine for violating the 2011 administrative order of the Commission over its decision to use the email addresses and phone numbers of its users for targeted advertising.

The suit noted that the misrepresentations violated the FTC Act. Therefore, the commission and Twitter agreed to a settlement of $150 million after Twitter had earlier told users that the data was gathered for security purposes.

Checks by Investors King show the verdict was announced by the U.S Department of Justice (DoJ) on Wednesday.  The US DoJ in its 20-page count filed in the US District Court alleged that Twitter asked users for their contact information to make their accounts more secure. The social media giant failed to tell users that it would also use their phone numbers and email addresses to help companies send targeted ads to them.

“Twitter obtained data from users on the pretext of harnessing it for security purposes but then ended up also using the data to target users with ads,” FTC Chair, Lina Khan accused.

Khan further said the practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue.

The 2011 FTC order stated that Twitter “engaged in deceptive acts or practices” by misrepresenting how it handled user data and that the company lacked reasonable safeguards to keep accounts and data secure. Additionally, the order barred Twitter from misrepresenting “the extent to which [it] maintains and protects the security, privacy, confidentiality, or integrity of any nonpublic consumer information,” the order read in part.

Twitter’s settlement covers allegations that it misrepresented the “security and privacy” of user data between May 2013 and September 2019, according to the court documents.

In addition to the monetary settlement, the agreement requires Twitter to improve its compliance practices,” according to the statement of order.

According to the complaint issued, “Specifically, while Twitter represented to users that it collected their telephone numbers and email addresses to secure their accounts, Twitter failed to disclose that it also used user contact information to aid advertisers in reaching their preferred audiences.”

Twitter is a free service that generates its revenue majorly through advertising

The company generated $5bn in revenue in 2021 and said in a filing earlier in May that it had put aside $150m after agreeing” in principle” upon a sanction by the FTC.

 

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Telecommunications

TELCOS Decry Government’s Decision on Telephone Tax

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MTN

The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has said the recent move by the Federal Government to add a one kobo per second tax on phone calls is a misplaced priority. 

Investors King recalls that the Federal Government of Nigeria had, on Monday, said it will implement a one kobo per second tax on phone calls in the nation to fund free healthcare for the vulnerable. 

ALTON said it is a “bad fate” on the part of the Government and it is badly intended. “This is because when we came out that the government should look at our cost of operations and give us room to review tariffs, everybody treated us like an outcast. 

“The same government is now coming in a matter of days to say they are introducing new taxes. So, when they were saying to us that we cannot increase tariff because it is insensitive to the plight of the people and now, they brought another tax thing through the back door, we think it is bad fate and badly intended. So if we cannot review based on the impact it will have on subscribers, why are they bringing in another tax, still on subscribers. 

“Government cannot act in one way and say another thing”, ALTON said.

According to ALTON, this will affect subscribers because they get less value for what they pay for.

“It means now that when you buy a 100 recharge card, the percentage will be deducted from it and paid to the government. So it is shortchanging the people. What will happen is that operators will be mandated to collect this tax on their behalf and remit it to the government”, the association noted.

ALTON suggested that although the motive for the tax rate is understandable, the government should have looked elsewhere to source it.

It said: “Not telecoms subscribers whom the government has said its suffering because of living lately 

“We will not complain as operators because we will definitely remit, it is the subscribers that will bear the brunt”.

A Lagos State resident, Taiwo Popoola, in a conversation with Investors King, said the decision to increase the tax rate will be too hard for an average Nigerian to bear if implemented. According to him, only the upper class of the society will conveniently afford it. 

“On the part of the users, buying airtime will drastically reduce. People would resolve to use social media channels to reach each other and may, in turn, reduce the income of these telecommunication companies,” Taiwo said. 

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