Nigeria gears towards the deployment of 5G communications technology on Wednesday as the Nigerian Communications Commission and Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the use of C-Band spectrum on Nigerian communications satellite for 5G services.
The C-Band spectrum is expected to play a critical role in helping the nation achieve enhanced broadband and ultra-reliable latency communication.
Chairman, Board of Commissioners, at NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande, said at the event in recent times, several administrations had begun to license spectrum for commercial deployment of 5G.
He said, “Today, 5G services have already been deployed in United States of America, South Korea, and many more countries.
“Fifth Generation will build on this momentum, bringing substantial network improvements, including higher connection speeds, mobility, and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.”
Nigeria hopes to be one of the leading nations in 5G deployment. The NCC disclosed this much in a document, ‘Deployment of Fifth Generation Mobile Technology in Nigeria’ available on its website on Wednesday.
The document said, “Fifth Generation represents the fifth generation in mobile communications evolution and incremental deployment is expected over the following decade.
“It is designed to be a system of systems that will bring flexibility to mobile, fixed, and broadcast networks and support more extensive data requirements.
“The technology will impact on the way interactions are done by enabling in some cases unforeseen business models, enhanced lifestyles all resulting in increased productivity.
“Some of the technologies already being touted include automated cars and advanced manufacturing, Internet of things (IoT) which will enable thousands of connected devices, such as smart energy meters, to work together and share information. These changes and innovation have enormous economic benefits.”
It added that IHS Economics estimated that 5G would enable $12.3tn of global economic output in 2035.
Executive Vice Chairman at NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the C-band was most suitable for immediate deployment of 5G services taking into consideration the availability of the device ecosystem with 60-70 percent of global commercial 5G network deployment currently in the band.
He said, “Amongst the Frequency Spectrum bands allocated to 5G by the International Telecommunications Union stands out because its balancing point between coverage and capacity provides the perfect environment for 5G connectivity.”
Telecommunications Staff To Embark On 3 Days Warning Strike
Data and call services may face disruption from Wednesday as the Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria on Monday insisted on a three-day warning strike.
The General Secretary of the association, Okonu Abdullahi, told the media in an interview on Monday that its members were embarking on the strike to protest the arbitrary sack of workers and casualization.
He said subcontracting or outsourcing which had bedeviled the industry could no longer be allowed to continue as it had shortchanged workers.
He said, “As we speak, all indications are that we should be going on a three-day warning of industrial action on Wednesday, 16th June 2021, as none of our demands have been met.
“We have tried speaking to the telecommunications companies at different times, but we met with a brick wall.”
The union had in a statement issued on Sunday said that it would mobilise its members for a three-day warning industrial action beginning midnight on Tuesday (today).
PTECSSAN in the statement had alleged breach of freedom of association, right of workers to organise, victimization of union members, poor and discriminatory remuneration, abuse of expatriate quota, intimidation, harassment, and verbal assaults of employees among other anti-labor practices.
Justifying the strike threat, human rights activist and legal practitioner, Ayo Ademiluyi, said, “This would be the first nationwide strike of the only union in the telecommunications industry.
“The industry is performing on the back of pains and anguish of many telecoms workers. Most of the workers are contract staff. The big telecom companies put their workers on temporary pay. Casualisation in the industry must stop.
“Less than five percent of the telecoms workers are permanent workers in the industry. The big telcos don’t have permanent staff; they only have managerial staff who are being laid off on the excuse of COVID-19.”
He said that most big telcos did not allow trade unionism, adding that there were many cases in the industrial court seeking to enforce workers’ rights to collective bargaining as enshrined in International Labour Conventions.
NCC To Restructure International Termination Rate
The Nigerian Communications Commission intends to restructure and roll out a new international termination rate.
The commission made this known in a statement on Thursday after it said it had finalised the process for determining the cost-based price of Mobile International Termination Rate.
This move would ensure healthy competition on traffic handling for voice services between local and international operators in Nigeria.
Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, noted that the cost-based study became imperative, as there was a need to find the optimum price for the termination of international voice services that will be beneficial to all relevant industry stakeholders.
Danbatta said, “overriding need for regulatory options and intervention in relation to the international termination rate in the voice market segment is predicated on some intractable challenges, most common with economies with severe macroeconomic volatility such as ours.”
ITR is the rate paid to local operators by international operators to terminate calls in Nigeria as contrasted with MTR, which is the rate local operators pay to another local operator to terminate calls within the country.
He further explained how Nigeria’s ITR’s rate was below that of most countries with which it made and received calls. And this made Nigerian operators perpetual net players.
“The obvious implication of this is seen in the attendant undue pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves, which continue to get depleted by associated net transfers to foreign operators on account of this lopsidedness,” Danbatta added.
The vice-chairman further stated that regulating the ITR was imperative for developing countries, such as Nigeria, with volatile currencies in order to prevent or mitigate the imbalance of payments with international operators.
In 2013, the NCC issued a Determination stating that mobile Termination Rates (MTR) are the same irrespective of where the call originated. Although, operators at that time thought it meant that ITR should be the same rate as the MTR, consequently ignoring the international cost portion.
The Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, NCC, Yetunde Akinloye, noted that the process was intended to complement and consolidate the initial work done by the Commission which had also culminated in an MTR Determination published in June 2018.
Glo Lunches ALWAYS ON To Retain Subscribers’ Lines For A Year
Globacom, one of the leading telecom operators in Nigeria, has introduced a remedy that solves the problem associated with the disconnection of network users from the Glo network after 90 days as a result of inactivity.
This was disclosed yesterday by the national phone operator when it unveiled its new prepaid tariff, tagged: ALWAYS ON, which allows subscribers to retain their phone numbers for one full year even if they do not use the lines during the period.
In a statement released in Lagos yesterday, Globacom said its subscribers no longer need to worry about their lines getting suspended or disconnected even if they have not made or received calls, used data, or sent or received SMS in one year.
According to the brand, with a token payment of just N500, “the customer will enjoy the assurance of 365 days of continuous service, even if the customer does not make or receive calls, text or browse”.
“ALWAYS ON is available to all existing and new prepaid Glo subscribers and is especially beneficial to customers who travel out of the country for long periods of time without access to the network or customers whose handsets get stolen or whose SIMs get damaged but do not have immediate means of replacement. They can now be rest assured that their lines will not be disconnected due to inactivity,” Globacom explained.
To enjoy the innovative offering, subscribers are required to simply dial *777# and select ALWAYS ON from the menu. “Upon confirmation, a one-time fee of N500 will be deducted from the customer’s main account after which he or she will be subscribed to the plan and given 365 days of uninterrupted access to the network,” the company added.
The customer can make and receive calls at any time during the 365 days as long as he or she has sufficient airtime balance in the account. There is no need to visit any Gloworld or to contact customer care for the line to be reactivated.
ALWAYS ON customers can still purchase any Glo products and services they wish and they can also subscribe to any other GLO tariff plan at any time via *777# or via Glo Café.
Towards the expiration of the ALWAYS ON subscription, Globacom explained, the subscriber will receive SMS and email reminders (where applicable) for him or her to re-subscribe to the ALWAYS ON plan.
“With this new and exciting value proposition, we have again established ourselves as the brand that gives customers the most value for money,” Globacom concluded.
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