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High Spectrum Prices Hit Nigeria, Others

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Mobile Tracking
  • High Spectrum Prices Hit Nigeria, Others

Spectrum prices in Nigeria and other developing countries are, on average, more than three times higher than in developed countries when income is taken into account.

This is according to Spectrum Pricing in Developing Countries, a new report released by the global system for mobile communication (GSM) Association (GSMA). It found high spectrum pricing as a major roadblock to increasing mobile penetration in developing nations.

The study was designed to identify and investigate trends in spectrum pricing in developing countries, their drivers and potential impact on consumers.

Government and regulators were found to play a key role in increasing spectrum prices through policy decisions. Administrations are able to do this by setting very high reserve prices for spectrum auctions, constricting the supply of spectrum, which forces operators to overpay, not publish a spectrum roadmap and use poor award rules.

The organisation says policies that seek to maximise state revenues can have a negative influence on consumer outcomes, including more expensive mobile services and reduced network investment.

Better spectrum pricing policies are needed in developing countries to improve the economic and social welfare of the billions of people that remain unconnected to mobile broadband services, highlights the report.

Head of Spectrum at the GSMA, Brett Tarnutzer, said: “Connecting everyone becomes impossible without better policy decisions on spectrum.

“For far too long, the success of spectrum auctions has been judged on how much revenue can be raised rather than the economic and social benefits of connecting people. Spectrum policies that inflate prices and focus on short-term gains are incompatible with our shared goals of delivering better and more affordable mobile broadband services.

“These pricing policies will only limit the growth of the digital economy and make it harder to eradicate poverty, deliver better healthcare and education, and achieve financial inclusion and gender equality.”

The GSMA analysis is based on the assessment of over 1 000 spectrum assignments across 102 countries, including 60 developing and 42 developed countries, from 2010 through 2017.

Among the countries included in the analysis are Algeria, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, India, Jordan, Mexico, Myanmar and Thailand; all markets where spectrum licensing is a priority.

Concerning Nigeria, the report recalled that in May 2016, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) auctioned 2×70 negahertz (MHz) of spectrum in the 2.6 gigahertz (GHz) band. The spectrum was split into 14 lots of 2×5 MHz with a reserve price of $16 million per lot. Although the price was not particularly high when benchmarked, the price denomination in US dollars made the potential investment riskier given the instability of the local currency exchange rate against the US dollar over that period. The naira depreciated by more than 20 per cent in the two years preceding the auction and experienced an even more severe drop (42 per cent) over the two years after, making it more expensive for operators to finance their spectrum payments

Eventually, one bidder (MTN) secured six of the lots available (equivalent to 2×30 MHz of spectrum) at the reserve price, while the rest of the spectrum remained unsold. Leaving a large amount of capacity spectrum unsold will likely hinder the development of the mobile market in Nigeria, which is one of the world’s most populated countries. Nigeria’s 4G market penetration trails the average for sub-Saharan Africa.

Way forward

The GSMA is of the view that a well-designed spectrum policy is a critical input for a thriving digital economy.

The report notes high spectrum prices and lack of transparency in assigning spectrum can discourage LTE rollouts, constrain consumer welfare and delay the closing of the digital divide.

It said: “Making substantial amounts of spectrum available at prices that lead to an efficient and growth-promoting allocation of spectrum can help realise vital digital development goals through affordable, high-quality and widespread broadband services.

“With advanced 4G technologies requiring increasing amounts of spectrum, it is crucial that spectrum policies in developing countries support fast and sustainable development of the mobile sector. This helps realise maximum benefit for citizens, particularly the digitally excluded.”

The GSMA report puts forward four ways to remedy issues of high spectrum prices for developing nations. The first is to set modest reserve prices and annual fees, and rely on the market to set prices. Number two is to license spectrum as soon as it is needed and avoid artificial spectrum scarcity. The third is to avoid measures which increase risks for operators; and lastly to publish long-term spectrum award.

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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Bolt Bags €20 Million From World Bank’s IFC to Expand Operations in Emerging Economies

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Bolt, the leading European mobility platform, announced new funding of €20 million received from World Bank’s IFC.

“We’re delighted to announce that we’ve received €20 million in funding from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group”, Bolt said.

The investment came less than three months after the Estonian company raised €150 million in a round led by D1 Capital Partners.

Through this investment, Bolt will continue to develop mobility solutions that create earning opportunities, stimulate entrepreneurship and improve access to transportation in emerging economies. One of the shared goals of Bolt and the IFC is to empower women and improve their access to mobility.

According to Stephanie von Friedeburg, IFC Senior Vice President of Operations,  “Technology can and should unlock new pathways for sustainable development and women’s empowerment.”

“Our investment in Bolt aims to help tap into technology to disrupt the transport sector in a way that is good for the environment, creates more flexible work opportunities for women, and provides safer and more affordable transportation access in emerging markets.”

Recently, Bolt introduced a women-only ride-type in South Africa for her customers to address safety needs, enable women passengers to connect with women drivers, improve women’s mobility and access to earning opportunities.

Markus Villig, CEO of Bolt, said the goal of the company and its partnership with IFC is to Provide strategic value to emerging economies

“We are looking forward to partnering with IFC to further support entrepreneurship, empower women and increase access to affordable mobility services in Africa and Eastern Europe.

“Together with the investment from the European Investment Bank last year, we are proud to have sizable and strategically important institutions backing us and recognising the strategic value Bolt is providing to emerging economies.”

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Crowdyvest Attracts New Investors and Appoints Tope Omotolani as CEO

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Crowdyvest Limited, an impact-driven fintech platform, launched in 2019 by Onyeka Akumah and four other Co-Founders has today announced a big change in its leadership and additional investment in the company, in a bid to scale up as a digital savings company.

Crowdyvest was created to provide all-in-one financial solutions for individuals and businesses to achieve short or long-term goals while facilitating impactful growth in line with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Fintech company went live in beta-stage in August 2019 but launched fully as a crowdfunding platform in January 2020 where its users and sponsors can sponsor high-impact opportunities that yield good benefits through its pooled sponsorships and individual projects.

Today, however, the company announced Onyeka Akumah will officially step down as the CEO of Crowdyvest and Tope Omotolani who is currently the Managing Director and also a co-founder, will become the new Chief Executive Officer of the startup, effective immediately. Notwithstanding this change in leadership, all the management and staff of Crowdyvest will be retained. And as a result of the new investment in Crowdyvest, the fintech startup will completely exit the EMFATO Holdings group and also transition from its previous crowdfunding model to making strides as the go-to digital wealth management and savings platform under Tope’s leadership.

Onyeka Akumah speaking on this development said, “I have taken this decision to step down as the CEO of Crowdyvest as a result of the new investment in the company which gives it good footing for scale. Today, Crowdyvest is exiting fully from EMFATO Holdings and we are very happy about the new investors led by Tope, and excited to see how Tope will lead this business to new heights. I will now focus more on leading Farmcrowdy and Plentywaka as CEO of both companies into new markets in 2021. Tope is a strong and amazing leader and I see her leading Crowdyvest to become one of the leading wealth management companies in Nigeria within the next 3-5 years. I wish her and the team all the best and will continue to advise them on their journey when needed’’.

The new CEO, Tope Omotolani also said, “It’s an honor and a privilege for me to be able to lead the team to the next level and next chapter of the business. Onyeka founded this company on the ethos of integrity and strong customer satisfaction and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to lead this technology company into it’s next chapter. Our major goal and focus as Crowdyvest is that we see a lot of people become financially free and we’re able to do this by the products that we create on the platform”.

The emergence of female leaders has become a centrifugal force for good in the world and many organisations. For the first time, we’re seeing examples of female leaders emerging from across the generations to cross-weave their knowledge and drive for change and Crowdyvest is joining the wave of change having a Female Leader and CEO.

Crowdyvest is today launching the Crowdyvest Savings Platform to give savings options to over 10,000 subscribed members on it’s platform. This savings platform will give its members a variety of plans to help build a savings culture based entirely on their pace, so they can reach their life goals faster.

This savings platform has four products that are properly tailored to fit all categories of individuals, including the Millenials, Gen Z, Gen X, and Baby Boomers, and each of these products have their unique features and benefits. They are;

Flex Savings which speaks to our young and trendy Gen Zs and Millenials, gives them the opportunity to save as much as they like with the option of withdrawing their money at any time during the year with a withdrawal fee of 2%. The Flex savers also have the opportunity of 7 official withdrawal days which comes without a withdrawal fee.

Vault Savings here, users have the opportunity to safely deposit money into their vaults and lock it for a period of time (3 months, 6 months, or for years). Funds deposited in the vault will be locked and ineligible for withdrawal throughout the locked period. The vault savings is for long-term savings and is targeted at pensioners, trust funds savings, legacy savings, etc.

Pace Savings, savers have the opportunity to deposit money as they wish for a set target. The pace savings option is recurring starting with the least period of 3 months. The money can be deposited automatically into the plan or manually based on the saver’s preference. The plan is targeted at salary earners, entrepreneurs, etc.

Flex Dollar Savings gives savers the opportunity to save and earn returns in dollars. Crowdyvest Members have the opportunity to grow their savings in a more valuable & stable denomination.

Every saver enjoys the benefits of good interest rates from 12.5% to 15%, zero bank charges, plans tailored for everyone, and effective and prompt customer service. We also have referral opportunities where you can earn as much as NGN 1000 for every person you refer to Crowdyvest. For more information, visit the Crowdyvest website.

Previously as a crowdfunding platform, Crowdyvest was able to create an impact by funding 24 projects across various sectors including Agriculture, Real Estate, Transportation, etc, has worked with 9 project partners, has operated in 17 states with over 10,000+ active sponsors, over 90,000+ total users, and over 8,000 Monthly Active Users. Today, the company is a Digital Savings platform with closed membership, Crowdyvest will provide financial solutions for her community of individuals and organizations that are committed to long-term growth and financial freedom.

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FirstWave Signs Level 1 Partner Agreement with pan-African technology company Moja Access

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Neil Pollock, CEO, FirstWave Cloud Technology - investorsking.com

Leading Australian-headquartered, global, cybersecurity-as-a-service company, FirstWave Cloud Technology Limited (ASX: FCT) (FirstWave), is pleased to announce the signing of a three-year Level 1 Partner Agreement with Moja Access, part of CSquared Group (www.csquared.com), a pan-African technology company.

Moja Access is the Kenya-based operating company of CSquared, a joint venture between Google LLC, Japan-based Mitsui & Co, investment firm Convergence Partners, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC, part of the World Bank Group), with the goal to make commercially driven investments to improve and increase connectivity and internet access in Sub-Saharan Africa.

CSquared currently operates fibre and last mile WiFi networks in several cities across Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Liberia, with over 40 mobile operators and internet service providers relying on its infrastructure for serving mobile consumers and corporate customers. These four African nations had over 10 million Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and over 70 million internet users at the end of 2020.

In the initial phase of this partnership, FirstWave has deployed its recently launched FirstCloud™ WebProtect DNS platform for each of CSquared’s four territories for use by CSquared’s operating companies and Level 2 partners. CSquared’s operating companies’ partners and their end-customers will get the web security solution as part of their internet service on an “opt-out” basis.

As a consequence, revenue generation will commence immediately, and end-customers can ‘opt-out’ if, for any reason, they decide they do not want the service. Moja Access is currently in conversations with customers for uptake of this service.

The Partnership Agreement is for a 3-year term with rolling 6-month extension options thereafter and in keeping with FirstWave’s unique service proposition – democratising enterprise-grade cybersecurity-as-aservice – the vast number of MSMEs and Internet users across these 4 African nations can now be protected on CSquared’s network from cyber intruders, on a consumption basis, at an affordable monthly price.

FirstWave’s business head for EMEA & North America region, Sundar Bharadwaj, said, “CSquared Group’s Kenya-based entity Moja Access is a truly innovative partner for FirstWave in Sub-Saharan Africa with excellent credentials with its Telco and ISP client base. We look forward to expanding the reach for our Enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions to small and large end-customers through this partnership.”

Lanre Kolade, Group CEO of CSquared, said, “We are very excited to have signed this partnership with FirstWave. Our clients, including Telcos and Internet Service Providers, will benefit from FirstWave’s differentiated SaaS products. It will allow us to rapidly deploy and sell on a consumption based monthly pricing model, enterprise grade cybersecurity services to all our clients and their end-customers, large and small.”

FirstWave’s CEO, Neil Pollock, said, “I’m delighted to welcome CSquared Group’s Moja Access as our 8th Level 1 partner and see initial revenues already flowing from the partnership. CSquared is a fast-growing pan-African service provider backed by two large global corporations Google LLC and Mitsui & Co. CSquared already delivers robust fibre connectivity and internet access to thousands of end-customers via its 40+ mobile operator and ISP clients. With revenues already delivered, the partnership has had a really positive start.”

This announcement has been approved for release by the Board of Directors.

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