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GSM Subscribers to Pay More for Data From Dec.1

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  • GSM Subscribers to Pay More for Data From Dec.1

Subscribers of the Global System of Mobile telecommunications across the country would pay more for data with effect from December 1, 2016.

Although the telecoms companies declined to speak on the matter, top management workers across the networks confirmed the story to our correspondent, saying that the directive was from the Nigerian Communications Commission.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior management employee of Etisalat Nigeria said, “The NCC issued the directive late last week on the orders of the Federal Government. We have not announced it yet because most of the major telcos have been meeting the NCC on how to reverse this policy, because it will be too harsh for Nigerians.

“However, we further gathered that the Federal Government took the decision having discovered that data rates are very low-priced in Nigeria, compared to other countries, including nearby African countries.

“The government might have also taken the decision given that Nigerian subscribers have been kicking against the proposed nine per cent Communication Tax, whose bill is currently in the National Assembly.”

Pleading not to be mentioned, an employee of MTN said, “What this means is that MTN, Airtel, Etisalat And Globacom will increase their data rates as from December 1, 2016. A data plan of N1,000 for 1.5 Gigabytes will now be increased to N3,000 at N1,000 per 500 Megabytes.”

In text messages sent out to its subscribers, MTN, Africa’s mobile telecommunications giant, confirmed that it had agreed to implement the directive of the NCC.

The MTN text read, “Dear customer, please be informed that from 1st of December, some MTN data tariffs will be increased to reflect the new rates set by the NCC for operators. Thank you.”

However, a representative of the commission said that the telecoms regulator was unaware of such plans by the operators, even as she said her bosses had claimed ignorance of the circulated message.

“We are unaware of it. I just asked my bosses; they are unaware. We will forward your query to MTN for appropriate attention,” she said over the telephone.

However, in a letter by the NCC to the operators sighted by our correspondent, the commission stated, “This rate will subsist pending the finalisation of the study on the determination of cost-based pricing for retail broadband and data services in Nigeria.

“In order to provide a level playing field for all operators in the industry, small operators and new entrants to acquire market share and operate profitably, small operators and new entrants are hereby exempted from the price floor for data services.”

It added, “For the avoidance of doubt a small operator is one that has less than 7.5 per cent market share and a new entrant is an operator that has operated less than three years in the market.

“All operators are to ensure that subscribers are not automatically migrated to pay-as-you-go platform.

“Also, note that effective date for the interim price floor is December 1, 2016.”

Reacting to the development, the President, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers, Mr. Adeolu Ogunbanjo, said that the NCC representative was being economical with the truth.

He said that for MTN to have sent out millions of text messages to its subscribers “clearly shows that the NCC indeed issued the directive.”

Ogunbanjo, however, said that the association would resist the tariff hike, adding, “We will challenge it in court. We are going right away to set the machinery in motion. We are also going to do an urgent letter to the NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, which we will drop in his e-mail box.

“Unfortunately, the notice is short; today is November 28, yet the order will take effect from December 1. It is not just good for broadband penetration, whatever the reason may be. It is against telecoms subscribers.”

According to him, data availability means more youth engagement because they use data to develop apps and build software.

“But with what the NCC has done, these boys who develop apps will be slowed down and limited. The cost of doing business will also increase,” he added.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Facebook Launches 2021 Edition of “My Digital World” Across Sub-Saharan Africa to Meet Digital Literacy Needs

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Today, Facebook announced the launch of the 2021 edition of “My Digital World“. Originally launched in June 2020, ‘My Digital World is a digital literacy program which is accessible across Sub-Saharan Africa  and designed to provide young people and the general public with the skills needed to navigate digital spaces safely and responsibly. 

The 2021 edition of “My Digital World” is now accessible on the new website that hosts new updated content that is relevant to today’s realities.

The program provides educators and trainers with training and resources to reach young people across Sub-Saharan Africa, equipping them with information and skills to help them thrive in an increasingly complex and digitally connected world.

“Through My Digital World, Facebook is reaching learners across the region and shaping the Sub-Saharan digital community for the better,” Phil Oduor, Policy Programs Manager for Economic Impact and Digital Literacy at Facebook said, “Designed for young people aged 13 – 18 years in high-tech and low-tech communities, the content has adaptable step-by-step instructions to fit their needs and learning environment. The lessons help participants learn tangible skills such as protecting personal information, identifying reputable sources, understanding misinformation themes, and recognizing healthy online relationships.”

‘My Digital World’ lessons are divided across six content pillars:

●      Introduction to Digital Learning: Demonstrating to learners what the internet is, identifying information that can be shared over the internet, determining various methods for accessing information online, and identifying the benefits, roles, and responsibilities of digital citizenship.

●      Digital Foundations: Teaching learners how to leverage tools to protect their digital devices and their personal information online, as well as that of others.

●      Digital Wellness: Supporting learners’ ability to engage with others (both individuals and the larger collective) online in empathic and positive ways, protect their physical and mental health, and explore their identities.

●      Digital Engagement: Helping learners develop executive functioning, critical thinking, and the skills needed to evaluate and share media and information online, as well as engage with different cultures and contexts.

●      Digital Empowerment: Helping learners use technology and social media to create positive change and better opportunities for themselves, their communities, and the world.

●      Digital Opportunities: Preparing learners to create the next wave of technology and succeed in their careers and pathways.

Over the years, Facebook has trained thousands of African youths through existing digital literacy programs across Sub saharan Africa such as ‘Safe Online with Facebook’ in Nigeria, ‘Ilizwe Lam’ in South Africa and ‘eZibo’ in Zambia.  With the program also successfully implemented in Ethiopia, Côte D’Ivoire, Kenya and Senegal,  “My Digital World” will, this year, be launched in Ghana, in partnership with Junior Achievement Ghana.

All content is available and can be accessed for free, the program will be available in English, French, Kiswahili, and Amharic.

‘My Digital World’ partnered with organizations across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop the learning modules and resources in the curriculum. 

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Fund Raising

Autochek Secures $13.1M Funding to Scale Across Africa

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Automotive and Fintech company, Autochek has raised $13.1 Million in seed funding to expand its operations across Africa. 

Participants in its latest funding round include existing investors such as Golden Palm Investments, Enza Capital, Lateral Capital, TLcom Capital, and 4DX Ventures. First-time investors such as Mobility 54 Investment SAS, the venture capital arm of Toyota Tshusho, and ASK Capital also participated in the round.

Recall that last year, Autochek raised $3.4 Million in pre-seed funding to grow its markets in Nigeria and Ghana. That round also saw TLcom Capital, 4DX Ventures, and Golden Palm Investments in participation. The funding came months after Autochek acquired marketplaces Cheki Ghana and Cheki Nigeria from one of Africa’s largest classifieds Group, ROAM Africa. The company continued its expansion by acquiring Cheki Kenya and Cheki Uganda to expand into East Africa. The company also partnered with CFAO Group to bring its marketplace into the Francophone region.

Cheki was launched in 2010 as an online car classified for dealers, importers, and private sellers in Nigeria. The startup, headquartered in Lagos, expanded operations to Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In 2017, Cheki got acquired by ROAM and joined a list of online marketplaces and classifieds in its network like Jobberman.

Autochek is currently present in five African countries, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Uganda and according to reports, the company has set its sights northwards and southward on the continent towards the second-largest and third-largest economies in Africa, South Africa, and Egypt.

Autochek is an automotive/fintech company that was founded by the co-founder and chief executive of Jiji subsidiary Cars45, Etop Ikpe. Autochek’s platform operates a marketplace-driven model and has a focus on financing and after-sales. The company generates revenue through fees charged on customer transactions and commissions paid by dealers and service shops on the platform, the company also has financing partnerships with banks.

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Nigerian Agri-tech Procurement Platform, Vendease Secures $3.2M Seed Round To Expand Operations

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Vendease, a Nigerian agri-tech startup that allows restaurants and hotels to order food supplies directly from farms and food manufacturers at the best price, has raised US$3.2 million in a seed round to expand operations.

The seed round was led by San Francisco-based venture capital firm Global Founders Capital. Others are local investors and early backers such as Paga CEO Tayo Oviosu, Remita CEO John Obaro, and Magic Fund.  Y Combinator participants like Hustle Fund, Liquid 2 Ventures, Hack VC and Soma Capital also invested in the startup.

Vendease was founded by Tunde Kara, Olumide Fayankin, Gatumi Aliyu and Wale Oyepeju in January 2020 to help solve food supply chain problems by digitising procurement processes, storage operations and logistics. A flexible payment system was integrated to facilitate transactions on the platform.

Earlier this year, Vendease was part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2021 cohort and has developed mobile and web apps that allow food businesses to place orders for food supplies, manage inventories, track expenses and gain access to their credit facilities with a buy now pay later service.

In achieving this, Vendease has built a network of farmers and food manufacturers to foster a solid food supply on its platform, speed up delivery and ascertain the quality of food production.

In September, Vendease reported to have delivered approximately 100,000 metric tonnes of food and plans to expand its capacities with the $3.2 million seed round.

Mr. Tunde Kara, Cofounder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Vendease said, “the rising food inflation coupled with effects of COVID-19 across Africa has positioned Vendease to scale up food systems by digitising end-to-end processes from farm to table. We currently operate out of Lagos, Ibadan and Abuja, but this funding will act as a buoy for us, as we scale our solution to other cities across the continent,”

Mr. Kara further explained that the company has created a predictive analysis and storage system that will help businesses predict future food prices, store food in advance and peg their prices for any duration depending on the food category.

This process, according to the CEO, has saved businesses on the platform a lot of money and human capital. He said, “when we compare market prices to what users buy on our platform, we’ve approximately saved them about $480,000 in the last nine months, cutting a lot of unnecessary expenses from their general costs — savings that can go into other things in terms of expansion and growth.”

Mr. Kara says the company hopes to 10x this number in the next 12 to 18 months. “Proactively, in our small way, we are helping to grow the GDP for the food businesses both on the farmers and vendor side of the marketplace.” He said.

The CEO said Vendease will use the newly raised $3.2 million to expand its operations to other cities and countries before the end of the first quarter of 2022. In addition, the funding would allow Vendease to continue to build out its technology stack, as well as secure partnerships with some payment platforms and banks to deepen its financial products, especially its buy now and pay later.

Don Stalter, the managing partner of Global Founders Capital, said it was the quality of the team that attracted his firm to Vendease. He said, “as a backer of one of Africa’s very first unicorns, Jumia, we’ve seen a great deal of talent in the market – and Tunde and the Vendease team are best in class both in EMEA and globally. Their laser focus and rapid growth are unprecedented, and there’s a massive opportunity ahead,” he said.

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