- Telecoms Subscribers Blame NCC for Poor Quality Service
Telecommunications subscribers have said that the increased adoption of mobile number portability services in the country, being encouraged by the Nigerian Communications Commission, is an indication of the poor level of service quality on telecoms networks.
Some of the subscribers spoke to our correspondent on Friday, while reacting to the NCC’s declaration of a state of emergency in the quality of service being provided by mobile network operators and others.
Prior to declaring the state of emergency on Monday, the commission had expressed worry about the degenerating service quality and vowed to sanction any errant operator.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, had said, “The consumer has to be treated with dignity. The eight-point agenda drives this point home.”
However, a subscriber based in Lagos, Mr. Lanre Oguntade, said that as long as the NCC continued to encourage porting, “then it (NCC) shouldn’t expect the quality of service to drastically improve.”
He said, “The networks on all the major GSM companies are terribly bad; so where is the NCC asking us to port to? The implication is that Nigerians will end up porting to all the four networks of MTN, Glo, Airtel and Etisalat that are providing us with poor service.
“In other parts of the world, even in some parts of Africa, it is rare to find people with multiple mobile lines and smartphones. This is so because the quality of service in their various countries is superb and to ensure that the subscribers don’t resort to porting, the regulators and telecoms firms in these countries keep making the service quality better.”
Another subscriber, Victor Okechukwu, said, “The NCC’s declaration of a state of emergency is only a waste of time. It should instead collaborate with the telecoms companies and concentrate its effort on improving the quality of service.”
He added, “And one of the things it has to do in this direction is to stop porting. By encouraging porting, the NCC is simply telling subscribers to port to another network if the other defaults, rather than looking at ways of improving the situation.”
Subscribers under the auspices of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers shared Oguntade and Okechukwu’s views.
NATCOMS said that there should not have been any reason for number portability at all, if the NCC had ensured many years ago that telecoms operators achieved the minimum coverage to be able to provide high quality of service to subscribers across the country.
The President of the association, Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, said though the industry had attracted a lot of infrastructure investment, majority of which has been channelled into building of telecoms infrastructure, more investment is still needed to achieve ubiquitous telecoms infrastructure to drive the economy.
“Unfortunately, the MNP will continue to be an option for subscribers using the over 153 million active lines in the country until we are able to achieve the quality of service that is satisfactory to all telecoms subscribers on their respective mobile networks,” he said.
Commenting on the development, the Director, Public Affairs at the NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said, “The MNP is not a compulsory service that people must subscribe to. If some subscribers see a need for it, they may switch from their current network to another; and if not, they remain on their current network.”
According to him, as a need-based value-added service for willing subscribers. “It is not expected that the MNP will witness a surge in uptake over time,” he said.
He added, “Since the MNP is based on the decision of the subscribers to either port or not to port, I believe we are having impressive uptake, coming mostly from individuals who have seen a need to migrate. The beauty of porting services is freedom of choices.”
Konga Health Debuts June 2021
Konga Health, a highly anticipated digital health care distribution subsidiary of Nigeria’s leading e-Commerce giant, Konga is set to go live by June 2021.
The tech-driven health care company is expected to expand access to quality Medicare for millions and revolutionize the health care value chain in Nigeria.
Feelers from a reliable source indicate that the management of Konga has secured all pending statutory approvals for the formal launch of the company. Further, the source disclosed that the management of Konga has been testing its robust technology, nationwide logistics; as well as its payment platforms in partnership with local and international players in the sector; ahead of the rollout in order to achieve a seamless experience from launch.
Konga Health will expectedly provide huge employment opportunities for medical professionals and other Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the expected debut of Konga Health has also been confirmed by a confidential source at Konga.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the startup will radically improve the speed at which quality drugs are delivered nationwide to pharmacies, hospitals and other health services providers; while also boosting structured last mile delivery to patients and other end-users across Nigeria.
In addition, he disclosed that Konga Health will power an unprecedented level of digital health democracy in Nigeria; adding that the company may possibly launch a globally rated blood bank across the six geo-political regions in Nigeria; using cloud-based digital sensors to monitor secure cold rooms in its facilities.
‘‘I can assure you that it is an ambitious project which serious local and international donor agencies; government at all levels, the public sector and corporate organizations will leverage to deliver quality health programs; backed by reliable data at the least cost to the remotest villages,’’ the source stated.
Konga Health was initially due for launch in September 2019.
However, the management of Konga had pushed back the rollout due to delays encountered with approvals from statutory bodies.
Lack of Basic Amenities, Unclear Growth Policy Force Twitter to Ghana, Builds Headquarters in Ghana
Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder on Monday announced Ghana has been chosen as African Headquarters over Nigeria despite the tech giant having the largest African users and revenue from Nigeria.
The announcement was made by both Dorsey and Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana.
“The choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is excellent news. Government and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country,” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.
President Akufo-Addo, who held a virtual meeting with Jack last week, said “As I indicated to Jack in our virtual meeting on 7th April 2021, this is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the development of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector. These are exciting times to be in and to do business in Ghana.”
It was shocking that in spite of Dorsey visiting Nigeria, investing and supporting several startups like Mark Zuckerberg has been doing since he first visited Africa’s largest economy, there were several issues like unclear policy path, basic amenities, unnecessary bottleneck because of bribery, etc that were more imperative to Twitter future in Africa than what Nigeria is presently offering despite its potential.
While it was obvious that Nigeria remains a target given its huge potentials, Twitter preferred to operate from outside with manageable proximity unlike if it was in South Africa like Facebook.
According to Twitter, in a statement released on Monday, the decision was based on Ghana’s openness towards the internet and handling of AfCFTA released matters.
“As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa,” the statement read.
As a Nigerian, this is not good given that we have a huge unemployment rate at 33.33 percent, a weak GDP growth rate at 0.11 percent, a rising inflation rate at over 17 percent, weak revenue generation and low foreign reserves. This would have been an opportunity to boost each of those metrics and also sell the nation as a true tech hub to other establishments.
In recent months, several of Nigeria’s startups have raised huge capital with the latest coming from Appzone that raised $10 million after Paystack was acquired for over $200 million. Kuda Bank, Bankly, etc have gone on to raised mouthwatering amounts to further deepen their presence across Africa but lack of infrastructure, stable policy and genuine internet openness continue to impede Nigeria’s true potential as leading Africa’s tech nation.
Twitter immediately commenced recruitment in Ghana on Monday in an effort to hit the ground running.
Telecoming and Evina Sign a Global Alliance to Enhance Security in DCB Payments
European technology companies Evina and Telecoming have signed a global alliance to work hand in hand in promoting DCB as the safest and most appropriate payment method in the new mobile economy and, in particular, for the fight against fraud.
The agreement deals a body blow to the mobile fraud that cost the African continent over USD 4 billion last year. DCB is the most suitable payment technology for millions of unbanked Africans who appreciate its unparalleled reach and convenience. The agreement between Evina and Telecoming; both with operations in 15 African, Middle Eastern and European countries; now makes mobile-based transacting even safer.
Telecoming is the leading expert in DCB since 2008 and Evina is the reference in the fight against digital fraud. With this alliance, both organizations combine their expertise to develop the industry and boost mobile payment security.
Roberto Monge, COO of Telecoming, states “Direct carrier billing has been growing in the new digital economy. It is a technology with enormous potential that benefits all players in the mobile environment. With this alliance, we want to place DCB at the forefront of the payments industry and reinforce our commitment to the development of a transparent, secure and stable mobile economy“.
David Lotfi, Evina’s CEO: “The potential of DCB is widely underestimated by mobile operators and other market players. This is mainly due to the fact that DCB is currently adversely affected by fraud. By protecting the mobile payment ecosystem, we aim to sustain DCB’s growth and help all players flourish in this ecosystem.”
The alliance aims to educate on the vast potential of direct carrier billing through the DCBMaster service that allows users to measure their exposure to fraud, as well as their market and regulations knowledge.
The alliance will also enable the launch of the first global DCB indicator. This DCB Index will measure the maturity of the DCB market in different regions, based on the analysis of four indicators: Fraud protection, Innovation, Penetration in the Digital Industry and Growth Potential.
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