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Nokia, Safaricom Partner to Launch East Africa’s First Commercial 5G Services in Kenya

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Nokia 5G radio and FastMile 5G gateways provide ultra-fast Fixed Wireless Access services to subscribers; Safaricom also showcased 5G hologram and UHD video communication using live 5G network.

Nokia has announced today that it is powering East Africa’s first 5G commercial services with Safaricom, the leading telecoms operator in the country. Nokia’s 5G Single Radio Access Network (SRAN) technology and 5G FastMile gateways enable ultra-fast Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services to Safaricom’s subscribers across Kisumu and the Western Province of Kenya.

5G technology will enable new applications in areas such as virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence for Safaricom subscribers. It will also benefit enterprises across important energy, healthcare, education, transport and entertainment applications.

At a launch event in Nairobi, Safaricom showcased the capabilities of the 5G network with three use cases — 5G hologram, Ultra-HD video communication and virtual fashion shopping. In the hologram showcase, the live 5G network was used to teleport Safaricom’s executives from Safaricom office in Kisumu to the launch event in Nairobi. And in the second showcase, Ultra-HD video communication was made using the 5G Fixed Wireless Access connectivity powered by WiFi-6 with Nokia Beacon 6. The third showcase of virtual shopping will change shopping experience allowing users to try on clothes “virtually”.

Nokia has leveraged its AirScale SRAN platform to enable ultra-low latency, huge connectivity and extreme capacity to support the demands of today and tomorrow. The 5G network utilizes massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) radio to improve spectral efficiency and throughput capacity, maximizing the return on Safaricom’s RAN investment. In addition, Nokia’s FastMile 5G gateway provides fiber like speeds for fixed wireless services to subscribers. Also, the company’s network planning, deployment and integration services ensured timely rollout of the network.

As part of the network, Nokia 5G Cloud Mobility Manager delivers the scalability, flexibility, high availability and performance needed to support the growth of mobile and enterprise services. Nokia’s NetAct network management system helps Safaricom have consolidated network view for improved network monitoring and management.

Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, said: “We are proud to be the first operator in the East Africa to launch 5G services, bringing the benefits of 5G technology to our customers. 5G capabilities will change a lot of things in unimaginable ways for people and enterprises, playing a key role towards fulfilling our vision to transform lives. Our long-term partner Nokia’s technologies and services expertise helped us achieve this milestone in our journey to provide world-class broadband services to our customers.”

Amr K. El Leithy, SVP, Middle East and Africa Market, Nokia, said: “With over 200 commercial 5G agreements with leading customers across the globe, Nokia has been bringing 5G network to every part of the world. Our 5G network for Safaricom is a key part of this journey and we are committed to working with the operator to transform the communications landscape in the country. This will open new business opportunities for Safaricom.”

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

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Telecommunications

Call, Data Rate to Jump 100% as FG Imposes 5% Excise Duty on Telecoms

Call and Data rates could jump as much as 100% once the Federal Government implemented 5% excise duty on telecommunication services

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Call and Data rates could jump as much as 100% once the Federal Government implemented 5% excise duty on telecommunication services, a source from the sector stated.

According to industry experts, the increment will not only impact subscribers but also increase tax burden on telcos which would translate into rise in tariffs.

This, experts explained would increase the total consumption tax on the sector from just the 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) to 12.5%, a situation they said would worsen Nigerians’ economic status given the ongoing happenings in the country.

If implemented, Nigerians are now expected to be paying as much as N40 a minute, up from N20 and could be paying up to N2,500 per gigabyte.

Last week, Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, decried the new tax, threatening to take the Federal Government to court for overburden the industry with so much taxes at a time when the telecommunication sector and the entire Nigerian economy was not faring well.

He said: “The 5 percent excise duty will overburden the industry. As a Minister, I was neither consulted nor obtained a memo to that effect. Even the appropriate lawmakers that were supposed to be talked with have also told me they were not.

”Things are not done that way. Besides condemning the tax, we will take every lawful step to guarantee that the tax does not stand.”

However, Ahmed Zainab, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, had different excuse for going ahead with the new 5% excise duty. According to her, the new 5% excise duty was in line with 2020 Finance Act and was part of Federal Government efforts at augmenting the nation’s revenue, especially from the non-oil sector.

The National Association of Telecoms Subscribers and the Nigerian Telecommunication Consumer have joined Pantami and other Nigerians to kick against the decision they considered wicked and inconsiderate.

Chief Adeolu Ogunbajo, president National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) also added his voice. He said the sector is barely holding its ground with the existing 7.5 percent VAT, additional 5 percent will sum the total VAT in the sector to 12.5 percent. This is a killer move on the sector, he said.

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Telecommunications

Communication Minister Kicks Against FG’s Proposal to Impose 5% Tax on Calls, Text, Data

Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has kicked against the Federal Government’s plans to impose a 5% excise duty on telecommunications services in the country.

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Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has kicked against the Federal Government’s plans to impose a 5% excise duty on telecommunications services in the country.

The minister, who spoke at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications indigenous Content Expo, NTICE, in Lagos, said the sector, which was already drawing in massive interest, creating jobs, and enlarging huge revenue to the GDP, should not be inconvenienced with such taxes.

He said: “The 5 percent excise duty will overburden the industry. As a Minister, I was neither consulted nor obtained a memo to that effect. Even the appropriate lawmakers that were supposed to be talked with have also told me they were not.

”Things are not done that way. Besides condemning the tax, we will take every lawful step to guarantee that the tax does not stand.”

The minister also argued about the large percentage of importation of ICT and telecoms equipment into the country, even when some of these equipment could be acquired in the country.

He gave a marching order to all stakeholders that henceforth, the Federal Government will not condone importation of anything into the country when it can be manufactured here in the country.

“The sector has to reasonably reduce importation. The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and the National Office for the Promotion of Indigenous Content, NODIT, should carry out this policy.

“By 2025, we’ll be qualified to increase our indigenous content and decrease importation by about 20 percent.”

The Minister’s attack on the excise duty is coming after major stakeholders in the sector, including the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, and National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, NATCOMS, also kicked against the motion, interpreting it as anti-people, provocative, unusual, cold and unreliable.

At a stakeholders’ forum organized in Abuja by the NCC to shed light on its proposed commission, they also complained that such imposition would help aggravate the misery of the Nigerian masses who already had been pushed into suffering and severe poverty.

The new five percent Excise Duty is part of the new finance act signed into law by the President in 2020. It is meant to be received by the Nigerian Customs Service, and President Buhari gave a ruling that it should be carried out on all telecoms service providers in the country, also on all local and foreign goods and services.

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had also at that event, persuaded stakeholders to assist the commission, saying the decision was informed by the dwindling revenue of the federal government from oil and gas.

She said other countries in Africa, involving Malawi, Uganda, and Tanzania, among others, have all keyed into the revenue generation structure.

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MTN Nigeria Reports 4.2 Million PSB Customers in Two Months

MTN Nigeria has announced that a total of 4.2 million customers have subscribed for the services of its subsidiary, Mobile Money (MoMo).

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MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, a leading telecommunications company in Nigeria, has announced that a total of 4.2 million customers have subscribed for the services of its subsidiary, Mobile Money (MoMo) business that was licensed under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Payment Service Bank (PSB) program in May 2022.

The telecom giant disclosed this in its unaudited report obtained by Investors King.

According to the report, only 2.4 million of the 4.2 million subscribers are presently active on MoMo Payment Service Bank. However, despite the large percentage of inactive customers, the telecoms company said it processed 7 million in transaction volume since it was launched on 16th of May 2022.

The CBN introduced the PSB license to increase financial inclusion and reduce the number of unbanked adults in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria.

This, the apex bank said would help increase the number of people in the tax net, and subsequently boost tax revenue.

While the CBN is looking to use PSB license to deepen the nation’s financial system, MTN Nigeria, Airtel Africa and other licensed companies are looking to expand their revenue generation via PSB business.

Speaking on the significance of the PSB license to MTN Nigeria’s long-term strategy, Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO, said “This is an important milestone for MTN Nigeria in our mission to support the delivery of financial services to everyone in Nigeria. Not just those in urban centers and markets, but also people in the rural and remote areas of the country who remain excluded from the financial system.”

He added “We are grateful to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for their support and guidance through the
process.”

Airtel Africa and MTN Nigeria are now expected to go head to head by leveraging on their broad network to seize a substantial market share of the new PSB space.

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