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N1.08tn Shortfall Threatens Telecom Service

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  • N1.08tn Shortfall Threatens Telecom Service Quality

The quality of voice calls and data services is expected to worsen this year as telecommunications companies have failed to raise the N1.08tn needed to fill the current infrastructure gap in the sector.

With N40m needed to build a base station, the telecoms firms will need an investment of N1.08tn to build additional 27,000 base stations this year.

Till date, telecoms companies in Nigeria have built about 33,000 base stations against the estimated 60,000 base stations said to be needed in the industry for the operators to provide optimum quality of service to their over 60 million subscribers.

“Going by the strong economic headwinds and the continuous downslide in revenue generation, it has now become very glaring that the telcos cumulatively cannot possibly come up with such funds this year that is needed to build additional 27,000 base stations and strengthen the quality of service,” a top management employee in one of the major telecoms firms said.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source added, “What this implies is that we will not be able to provide best quality of service this year. To be candid with you, the quality of service may even get worse this year if urgent steps are not taken to tackle this challenge.”

The Head, Public Relations and Protocol, MTN Nigeria, Funso Aina, said, “We plan to roll out as many new BTS as possible this year, most especially sites that are fully optimised for 4G coverage. We also intend to consolidate our 3G coverage in many areas too.”

Nigeria’s telecoms investment rose from $500m in 2001, following the licensing of the Global System for Mobile Communications operators, to $15bn in mid-2008; $25bn in 2009 and $32bn in mid-2013.

The figure has increased currently to over $68bn from $38bn in 2014, the Nigerian Communications Commission said.

According to the latest NCC statistics for November 2016, mobile subscription also increased from less than 500,000 in 2001 to over 153 million; teledensity moved up from less than one per cent to over 107 per cent; while mobile Internet subscription has risen from base zero to close to 100 million.

However, industry players stated that aside the dwindling telecoms revenue, the national roaming service was another challenge affecting the raising of funds to build additional 27, 000 base stations.

A telecoms analyst, Mr. Akin Akinbo, said “We expect major telecoms companies such as MTN Nigeria, Airtel, Globacom, Etisalat as well as ntel, among others, to deploy aggressively this year, but we have noted that a policy such as the national roaming service being introduced by the NCC may slow investment in this area.

“This is because an operator that does not have coverage in an area can just agree with an operator with coverage in that area to service the former’s subscribers, thereby foreclosing the desire to invest due to an operator’s ability to leverage on the network of another.”

Despite reservations being expressed in some quarters about the national mobile roaming service, the NCC said it would go ahead with its implementation, saying the policy would not deter investment.

The Head, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC, Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, told our correspondent, “National mobile roaming is a must. It is not a matter of whether or not it will happen. It is already part of the licensing conditions given to the operators.

“So, what we are working on through various stakeholders, especially the service providers, is the framework for launching the service to make life easier for telecoms subscribers. So, whether we like it or not, it is coming soon.”

Sharing Akinloye’s views, the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said the national mobile roaming service was good because it would help subscribers to have network access at all times even if their service providers did not have network in an area.

“National mobile roaming will allow a subscriber, who finds himself in any part of the country where his service provider has no network coverage, to make and receive calls as well as send and receive text messages,” Ojobo stated.

He noted that till date, regulation on national mobile roaming was non-existent in Nigeria, adding, “Only international roaming service between Nigerian telecoms players and their counterparts in other countries is possible.”

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.

Technology

Smart City Startups to Generate $110.7B in Revenue by 2025, a Trifold Increase in Five Years

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Smart City Startup - Investors King

Smart city startups offer innovative solutions for urban challenges, including public and cybersecurity threats, traffic congestion, energy management, and e-governance. Over the years, the revenues of these companies increased significantly and are expected to continue growing in the future.

According to data presented by Aksje Bloggen, smart city startups worldwide are expected to generate $110.7bn in revenue by 2025, a trifold increase in five years.

Asian, European and American Smart City Startups to Witness Three-Digit Revenue Growth

Smart cities aim to cater to the growing urban population while improving on safety, sustainability, and mobility. These initiatives are backed by new technologies like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things using sensors and data collection to gather large amounts of public data available for researchers and startups to work with.

Last year, smart city startups worldwide generated $32.3bn in revenue, revealed the Statista survey. This figure includes all revenue that companies generated by offering technologies and products that use information, data and connectivity technologies to create more value within the public city environment.

In 2021, smart city startups’ revenues are expected to grow by $6.7bn and then surge by a staggering $71.7bn in the next four years.

Analyzed by regions, Asian smart city startups are expected to generate $14.9bn or 38% of total revenues in 2021. By 2025, this figure is forecast to soar by 232% to $49.6bn.

European smart city startups are expected to witness a 166% revenue growth in this period, rising from $8.7bn in 2021 to $23.16bn in 2025.

North American startups follow with $12.3bn in revenue in 2021. Statista data show this value is set to grow by 152% and reach $31.2bn in the next four years.

Smart Utilities the Largest Revenue Stream, Environmental Solutions to Witness the Biggest Growth

The Statista survey revealed that smart utilities generate the highest share of startup revenues in the smart city market. In 2021, these startups are expected to make $10.7bn or one-third of total revenues.

Smart utilities are companies in the electric, gas and water sectors that employ connected sensors across their grids to analyze operations and deliver services more efficiently. Most of them are heavy users of the IoT technology and the latest communications, software, computing, and mapping solutions. By 2025, the entire segment will grow by 180% and hit a $30bn value.

As the second-largest revenue stream, the mobility segment is set to reach a $9.4bn value this year. Statista predicts this figure to jump by nearly 190% to $27.2bn in the next four years.

Smart buildings are expected to witness a 172% revenue growth in this period, with the figure rising from $7.2bn in 2021 to $19.2bn in 2025.

However, startups delivering environmental solutions for smart cities are set to witness the most significant growth in the following years. Between 2021 and 2025, their revenues are expected to surge by 210% and hit $16.4bn globally.

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Uber Raises Tfare By 13 Percent In Lagos

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The economy option for ride-share giant company, Uber, popularly referred to as UberX, has been increased by 13 percent in Lagos State.

An electronic mail message from the ride-hailing firm to its drivers stated that the increment would start from May 11, 2021.

Uber said the increase was to ensure a reliable earning opportunity for driver-partners.

“At Uber, we remain committed to providing a reliable earning opportunity for driver-partners, as well as a reliable and affordable service for riders. With this in mind, starting 11th May 2021, we are increasing prices on UberX by about 13 percent,” the message read.

Earlier, Uber and Bolt drivers under the aegis of Professional E-hailing Drivers and Partners Association, declared a strike in April in Lagos, seeking an upward review of e-cab fares to reflect the current economic

They also wanted both companies to reduce the commission charged on rides from 25 percent to 10 percent.

National President of PEDPA, Mr. Idris Shonuga, had at a news conference in Lagos, said, “Instead of fixing a new and reasonable fare in line with inflation, the companies have recklessly continued to maintain the low fare, thereby, impoverishing hard-working young Nigerians who are diligently and lawfully trying to make a decent living.”

The e-cab operators also demanded adequate welfare package for drivers and compensation to the families of those that lost their lives or are permanently disabled in the line of duty.

The association said that more than 15 drivers had lost their lives, while some had been permanently disabled in accidents in the course of the service.

It also said more than 20 others have also lost their lives through kidnapping or killed by ritualists without any compensation from the operators.

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Technology

CEOs of Major Tech Companies Have Sold Over $6 Billion of Their Stocks in 2021

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Stocks - Investors King

Data acquired and calculated by Finbold indicates that CEOs of the five selected major tech firms have sold $6.36 billion worth of shares between January 1 and May 10, 2021.

Jeff Bezos leads, having offloaded AMZN shares worth $4.9 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has sold $1.2 billion of his stock. Cumulatively, the two executives have offloaded $6.1 billion worth of shares from their respective companies.

Elsewhere, Nvidia CEO Huang Jen Hsun has sold $77.28 million worth of shares to rank third. Microsoft chief executive Nadella Satya has offloaded $65.44 million of MSFT stock, while Alphabet’s Pichai Sundar has sold $33.05 million. Among the top tech companies, only Tesla and Apple CEOs have not sold any of their stock in 2021.

Insider selling follows a surge in tech stocks

The highlighted companies have recorded a spike in the stock value over the past year, and the research report notes that:

“The sales come in the wake of tech sector stocks surging to new highs amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the pandemic, with wide-scale lockdowns, the companies run by the CEOs played a key role by offering services and products to help people manage the effects of the health crisis. The attention on these services drives the stock prices to record levels.”

Although insider trading is increasing in popularity, the activity is an essential indicator for investors to predict future price movement.

Overall, insider trades offer the overall market and investor outlook. When a single executive increases selling activity but others hold their shares, it does not call for alarm among investors.

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