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Nigeria to Partner Kenya, Rwanda on Optimal Use of ICT

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  • Nigeria to Partner Kenya, Rwanda on Optimal Use of ICT

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu has disclosed that, the federal government has commenced a working relationship with Kenya and Rwanda governments on the maximum use of ICT to improve the financial inclusiveness of an average Nigerian.

Also, he said that federal government is contemplating establishing a communications bank which will be a development bank that will assist in the financing of communication and ICT companies based in the country .

Shittu disclosed this in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital at the weekend while fielding questions from journalists on the state of the nation.

He said that Nigeria has to bury her pride and visit the two smaller African countries to learn how they have advanced in their technological knowhow and how they have used communication and ICT to improve the living standard of their citizens .

Shittu observed that in Nigeria today, less than 50percent of the local government areas lack banking facilities hence they are being excluded from physical policies of government but with the e-banking being introduced.

He explained that Nigerians can operate financial transactions from their homes as well as transact other official business through their GSM including applying for international passports

The minister also explained that the establishment of the bank would create a welfare society and assist operators of communication companies to access working capital at low interest rate lamenting that foreign ICT operators are finding it extremely difficult to operate presently in the country hence the need for the Federal Government to come to their aid.

According to him, telecommunication business is very expensive as it requires huge capital explaining that $240million would be needed to obtain a license while installation of a mast would attract about N40billion.

The minister described the Ministry of Communications as the second after the petroleum sector in terms of revenue generation to the coffers of the federal government, stressing that in the past 16 years, GSM operators are contributing about 12 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He added that the communication sector is the highest employer of Labour today in the country noting that, the federal government was doing everything possible to create an enabling environment for operators of that sector so that business would run more profitably.

Shittu disclosed that there are also plans to produce SIM cards through local production adding that a letter to that effect has been forwarded to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for approval

Speaking on the laws guiding the operation of GSM in the country , the minister said non registration of SIM cards attract a fine of N250,000 and recalled that recently MTN paid the federal government the sum of N80billion out of the N330billion fined the company for failing to deactivate over five million unregistered SIM cards.

He announced that NCC, which is under his ministry, has introduced a toll free line for members of the public to make complaints about deficiencies they face in their mobile services.

Shittu however, urged the federal government to improve its power sector optimally and provide adequate security for communication installations to guide against vandalism assuring that the future of communications in the country is very bright under the present administration.

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

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Starlink Pulls Plug on Ghana, South Africa, and Others

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Starlink, the satellite internet service operated by SpaceX, has announced the cessation of services in countries including Ghana and South Africa.

This decision comes as a significant blow to users who have come to rely on Starlink for their internet connectivity needs.

The decision, set to take effect by the end of April 2024, will disconnect all individuals and businesses in unauthorized locations across Africa, including Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.

While subscribers in authorized countries such as Nigeria, Mozambique, Mauritius, and others can continue to use their kits without interruption, those in affected regions face imminent loss of access.

One of the reasons cited by Starlink for the discontinuation is the violation of its terms and conditions.

The company explained that its regional and global roaming plans were intended for temporary use by travelers and those in transit, not for permanent use in unauthorized areas. Users found in breach of these conditions face the termination of their service.

Furthermore, Starlink’s recent email to subscribers outlined stringent measures to enforce compliance.

Subscribers who use the roaming plan for more than two months outside authorized locations must either return home or update their account country to the current one. Failure to do so will result in limited service access.

The decision to discontinue services in certain countries raises questions about the future of internet connectivity in these regions.

Also, concerns have been raised about Starlink’s ability to enforce the new rules effectively. Reports indicate that the company has previously failed to enforce similar conditions for over a year, raising doubts about the efficacy of the current measures.

Starlink’s decision to pull the plug on Ghana, South Africa, and other nations underscores the complexities of providing satellite internet services in diverse regulatory environments.

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Nigeria’s Broadband Penetration Stalls at 42.53% Amid Connectivity Challenges

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Nigeria’s broadband penetration has stalled at 42.53% as of January, according to the latest report.

Subscriptions currently stand at 92.19 million, indicating a significant gap in connectivity, particularly in rural areas.

The Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 aims to increase broadband penetration to 70% by 2025, with the ultimate goal of achieving 96% mobile broadband coverage by 2030.

However, this ambitious target requires substantial investment—approximately $461 million, according to a recent report by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).

While the country’s major telecommunications companies, such as MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa, have invested heavily in expanding their network infrastructure, much of this development has been concentrated in urban areas. Rural and underserved regions face a significant coverage gap, exacerbating the digital divide.

Despite these challenges, Nigeria has made progress in improving its broadband infrastructure. Since 2012, the mobile broadband coverage gap across Africa has decreased from 56% to 13% in 2022, due to significant investments in network capacity and new technologies.

Nonetheless, millions of Nigerians, particularly those in rural regions, remain without access to essential telecom services.

To address this issue, Nigeria’s government established the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) in 2006, aimed at bridging the connectivity gap and expanding broadband access to unserved and underserved areas.

The fund provides resources for deploying telecommunications infrastructure in economically unviable regions.

The success of these initiatives, along with increased investments in broadband infrastructure and policies to incentivize internet expansion in remote areas, will be crucial in closing the connectivity gap and improving digital access for all Nigerians.

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iPhone Shipments Drop Amid Resurgence of Android Rivals

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Apple Inc. reported a significant drop in iPhone shipments during the March quarter, reflecting a downturn in sales across China amid the resurgence of competition from Android-powered rivals.

According to market tracker IDC, the tech giant shipped 50.1 million iPhones in the first three months of the year, a 9.6% year-on-year decline that fell short of the average analyst estimate of 51.7 million.

The steep decrease in iPhone sales marks Apple’s most significant quarterly dip since 2022, when Covid-19 lockdowns disrupted supply chains.

This time, the Cupertino-based company faces challenges from resurgent competitors such as Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp.

These firms have rebounded strongly in recent quarters, and their innovative product lines have begun to reclaim market share from Apple in China.

Samsung Electronics Co. regained its position as the top smartphone supplier globally, while Apple ranked second. Xiaomi closed the gap on Apple, shipping 40.8 million units, an impressive 33.8% increase year-on-year.

Transsion Holdings, another key player in the budget smartphone segment, nearly doubled its shipments, showcasing the competitive environment Apple faces.

Nabila Popal, research director at IDC, highlighted the broader shift in the smartphone market, which has recovered from the supply chain disruptions and challenges of recent years.

“While Apple has demonstrated resilience and growth in recent years, maintaining its pace and share in the market may prove challenging as Android manufacturers make strides,” Popal commented.

Apple has a strong brand and loyal customer base, yet its market position may be tested further by the aggressive pricing and innovative products offered by Chinese rivals.

The company’s efforts to sustain its premium pricing strategy may also be challenged as more customers consider switching to Android alternatives.

As the tech industry looks ahead to the rest of the year, Apple’s upcoming earnings report and strategic moves to address this competitive pressure will be closely watched by investors and industry observers alike.

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