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Truecaller Hits 43 million African Users, Releases a Business Solution

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Truecaller, a caller ID service and phone search engine, has launched an identification solution to help companies prove their legitimacy while calling customers, thus increasing safety and reducing fraud.

Truecaller helps users to see who is calling and automatically screens out spam calls and SMSes.

Truecaller Business Identity, a modern enterprise solution, allows companies to verify their identities using a green checked business badge that accurately displays the company’s profile name, photo, and logo.

“Fraud continues to be a major problem across Africa, and as a company, Truecaller wanted to provide solutions on a business as well as a personal level,” said Zakaria Hersi, Director of Business Development in Africa. “Trust is at the core of everything we do, and because we spend so much of our time on our phones, we need to make sure that our contact takes place in a secure atmosphere, which was also part of the strategy behind our harassment campaign in March this year.”

The new solution increases trust and productivity in business-to-business contact by providing customers with the assurance that the caller is a Truecaller-verified business.

A checked business on Truecaller gets a verified tick mark icon and can lock their brand name and profile picture in addition to the green Caller ID and green Verified Business badge.

Consumers would be able to tell which calls to trust as a result of this.

Importantly, users will continue to see the amount of spam marks as before, and they will have the option of labeling checked phone numbers as spam or blocking them entirely.

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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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Services Tax

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

MTN Gains 5.7m New Subscribers, Reactivates 2.6m Barred SIMs in H1

MTN Nigeria announced it gained 5.7 million new subscribers and activated 2.6 million barred sims in the first half (H1) of 2022.

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MTN Nigeria, Africa’s multinational mobile telecommunications company, announced it gained 5.7 million new subscribers and activated 2.6 million barred sims in the first half (H1) of 2022.

The company reported in its unaudited financial statement published last week.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) mandated all telecommunications companies to block all Subscriber Identity Module (SIMs) not linked with the National Identification Numbers (NINs).

In all, MTN Nigeria blocked a total of 19 million SIMs as of October 2021 when the policy was first implemented, according to Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO. Presently, a total of 11.6 million have been activated.

Speaking on the impact of the directive on MTN Nigeria, the CEO said “Despite the slower growth recorded in Q2 due in large part to the restriction of outgoing calls for approximately 19 million of our subscribers (when initially implemented) in line with the NCC’s directive, we remained largely on track, delivering service revenue growth in line with our medium-term guidance of at least 20 per cent in H1.

“Data revenue rose by 51.6 per cent, maintaining the accelerated growth trajectory through increased subscribers and data usage.”

The MTN boss also confirmed that the firm maintained strong commercial momentum and gained a net addition of 5.7 million mobile subscribers.

Furthermore, he assured that MTN would continue to engage its affected customers and support the NIMC in accelerating NIN enrolment in the country.

MTN Records Notable Achievements following the Directive

Toriola disclosed that the company invested N311.6 billion on its 4G network in a bid to improve its network coverage. He said the company now covers 75.3 percent of the population, a notable increase since 2021.

In addition, he noted that the telco acquired one lot of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz spectrum band from the NCC, which has brought them closer to launching their 5G services across the country.

“We achieved some important strategic milestones in H1 towards delivering our Ambition 2025 strategy. This includes the final approval for our MoMo Payment Service Bank (PSB) and the commencement of commercial operations on May 19, 2022″, he added.

What other Telcos Experienced

While MTN recounted its achievements, especially in customer base, other telcos in the country such as Airtel revealed that it lost about $34m in revenue due to the Federal Government’s directive to bar outgoing calls from SIMs not linked to their NINs.

Airtel confirmed they had lost $34m in revenue following the directive and that data revenue grew by 24.8%.

“Voice revenue grew by 10.8 per cent in constant currency, driven by customer base growth of 12.7 per cent while voice ARPU growth was flat”, Airtel said in a recent report.

However, Globacom and 9mobile did not publicly release their financial reports.

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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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