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SpaceX In Talk With NCC To Bring Its Satellite Internet Into Nigeria

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SpaceX- Investors King

American space company, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is in advanced talks with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to bring its Starlink satellite internet into Nigeria.

Starlink’s Market Access Director for Africa, Ryan Goodnight along with SpaceX consultant, Levin paid a visit to the NCC where they discussed the possibility and process of obtaining licenses to operate the satellite internet in the country.

SpaceX is launching a low-earth orbiting (LOE) constellation of satellites to provide low latency, high bandwidths Internet to all corners of the world. The company has identified Nigeria as a critical market in Africa.

Nigeria’s internet penetration currently stands at 50 percent, with the federal government targeting 70 percent penetration by 2025, the country needs every help it can get. With regular telcos still battling with states over Right of Way (RoW), Starlink’s low latency, high bandwidths satellite internet could present a very viable alternative.

There are about 1,500 Starlink satellites in orbit today. In 2021 alone, the company has launched 610 satellites into orbit. Following the American communications regulator’s approval of a license modification for SpaceX in April, SpaceX is now looking to increase the number of its satellites to 2,814.

The space company has been in virtual discussions with the Nigerian regulator, the NCC, over the past several months with the aim of kickstarting the process of pursuing all necessary licenses to bring Starlink broadband services to Nigeria

With substantial progress been made in the discussion, the Commission granted SpaceX’s request for a face-to-face discussion to gain better insights on the prospects of their proposal.

At the meeting, SpaceX representatives provided an overview of its plans, expectations, licensing requests and deployment phases. However, the NCC noted the need to ensure there’s healthy competition to protect other players in the telecoms space especially with the introduction of new technologies.

“We have listened to your presentation and we will review it vis-à-vis our regulatory direction of ensuring effective and a sustainable telecoms ecosystem where a licensee’s operational model does not dampen healthy competition among other licensees,” NCC.

The NCC further stated its interest in making necessary regulatory efforts to drive the coverage of rural, unserved and underserved areas of the country through the accomplishments of the lofty targets contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025.

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Telecommunications

Nokia Launches Next-generation AirScale 5G Portfolio Powered by ReefShark Technology

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Nokia today announced the global launch of its latest range of industry-leading AirScale 5G products covering baseband, remote radio heads, and massive MIMO active antennas with digital beamforming. The innovative solutions are powered by the latest generation of Nokia’s ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC) chipsets and deliver the highest capacity and network performance while enabling efficient deployments and operation. The rollout of the new products is already underway.

Nokia introduces its new generation of ReefShark-powered AirScale massive MIMO antennas with both 32TRX and 64TRX products, as well as 8T8R remote radio head solutions. The 32TRX is the industry’s lightest, at 17kg, simplifying and speeding up site deployments. Notably, this low weight is achieved at the same time as supporting high radio frequency bandwidth (200 MHz occupied bandwidth and 400 MHz instantaneous bandwidth) and delivering high radio frequency power output, without compromise. Both the new 32TRX and the new 64TRX massive MIMO antennas support both fragmented spectrum and network sharing cases.

Nokia also introduces its new SoC-based baseband plug-in cards to boost the capacity of the AirScale System Module. The new ReefShark-powered plug-in cards deliver up to eight times more throughput and serve up to eight times more cells compared to previous generations. They are easily installed and simplify the upgrade and extended operation of all AirScale deployments. Nokia’s baseband module can support 90,000 connected users simultaneously and has 84 Gbps throughput. The highly efficient ReefShark powered plug-in cards also reduce power consumption by up to 75 percent. Nokia’s modular AirScale baseband enables mobile operators to scale capacity flexibly and efficiently and as their 5G business evolves.

Nokia Single RAN software now includes 5G, accelerating 5G rollouts and cutting overall radio access network TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), by unlocking network efficiencies with common transport, common operability, common software delivery, and increased hardware sharing. The combination of Nokia’s Single RAN software and the new baseband plug-in cards offer multi-mode (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) and multi-band and supports the latest fronthaul interfaces (eCPRI) on a single baseband platform, simplifying the network and lowering costs.

Nokia’s AirScale baseband architecture is designed to be future-proof and support the increasing demands for wireless traffic. By keeping the L1 and L2 (Layer 1 and Layer 2) computing separate from L3 (Layer 3) and Transport baseband plug-in units, capacity can be added when and where it is needed in the network. Network modernization can be simply achieved either by software upgrade or by adding new plug-in units into the existing baseband.

Nokia’s ReefShark chipsets will also play a critical role in future Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities. Nokia has already introduced AI/ML features in areas such as predictive load balancing, anomaly detection, and intelligent traffic steering. All Nokia ReefShark platforms are AI/ML ready and Nokia is carrying out proof of concepts with customers this year in innovative areas such as Massive MIMO beam pattern optimization, energy-saving, advanced traffic steering, advanced packet scheduling, and alarm pattern discovery.

Patrick Filkins, Senior Research Analyst, IoT and Mobile Network Infrastructure, IDC, commented: “5G networks are absolutely critical for improving network capacity and performance, particularly when higher bandwidth is in demand. Nokia’s new portfolio addresses these concerns by enabling mobile operators to flexibly scale capacity while helping to smoothly transition to 5G from existing technologies easily and cost-effectively. The integration of Nokia’s ReefShark SoCs across both radio and baseband boosts performance and capacity and the new massive MIMO antennas set a new benchmark for low weight without compromising on performance. These solutions will help mobile operators to address the increasingly dynamic mobile services space that urgently requires more capacity.”

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks, Nokia, said: “Our new generation of ReefShark-powered AirScale radio and baseband products is evidence of the successful transformation of our business and ability to deliver market-leading products to our global customers. Nokia’s new portfolio enables communication service providers to offer both consumer and enterprise customers with cutting-edge 5G experiences with premium speeds, capacity, and connectivity underpinned by seamless, simple, and efficient ‘plug-in’ deployment. Our new AirScale products are O-RAN ready. They consume less energy and highlight our commitment to climate change. We’re excited to see our customers deploying these products and see the transformative impact of 5G technology.”

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Global Credit Ratings (GCR) Assigned MTN Nigeria Highest Possible Credit Ratings

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Karl O Toriola - Investorsking.com

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has been assigned the highest credit ratings of AAA by Global Credit Ratings (GCR).

GCR affirmed MTN Nigeria’s national scale short-term rating of A1+, with a stable outlook.

Also, GCR upgraded the national scale long-term rating of the recently concluded N110 billion Series 1 Senior Unsecured Bond to AAA with a stable outlook.

These represent the highest possible long-term and short-term ratings on GCR’s national rating scale, and MTN Nigeria is the first mobile network operator in Africa to be accorded such ratings by GCR.

According to GCR, “the ratings accorded to MTN Nigeria reflect its very strong competitive position as the leading provider of telecommunications services in Nigeria, as well as its strong earnings and cash flow which has supported a robust financial profile.”

Commenting on the rating, Karl Toriola, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, said, “We are delighted with the outcome of the GCR rating. This demonstrates the resilience of our business and positions MTN Nigeria as the benchmark of reference for the information and communications technology sector for long-dated, fixed-term instruments. As we continue to invest in our network and strengthen our risk management processes, we remain focused on sustaining and accelerating growth in line with our Ambition 2025 strategy“.

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Truecaller Launches Smart SMS Feature in Africa

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Truecaller, the world’s most trusted and accurate Caller ID and telephone search engine, is rolling out a new feature to further augment the user experience.

The new feature Smart SMS has been introduced based on user feedback and is designed to cater to the evolving needs of our consumers. It offers a host of new services to make day-to-day communication a lot more convenient.

Smart SMS is powered by state-of-the-art machine learning models that adapt based on the feedback you give it. It supports users with important messages from banks, billers, travel companies, delivery companies and so much more.

Smart SMS also helps users stay protected from spam and fraud. Only the essential information within an SMS is highlighted and all SMS messages are categorised and easily accessible. From keeping track of your expenses to last-minute changes to your travel, Smart SMS is the future of SMS that will make life a whole lot easier.

Commenting on the new addition, Zakaria Abdulkadir Hersi, Director of Business Development & Partnerships Africa at Truecaller said: “Roughly 80% of SMSes one receives daily are from businesses, disengaging users from important/useful messages. To combat that, SMS apps need to become smarter by filtering out spam and categorising useful information.

“At Truecaller, we constantly strive to offer the best user experience by adding unique features that fit in with our core mission: to make communication safer and more efficient for everyone. Truecaller has evolved into a powerful communication hub and for the people who wish to use the app to its fullest, we want to streamline the experience as much as possible for an efficient calling and messaging experience for our end user.”

Truecaller uses the same powerful algorithms used to identify spam callers in SMS as well. The SMS intelligence is built into the app itself and it can work offline – nothing leaves your device, including all OTPs, bank SMSes and financial information.

The feature also offers a Smart Inbox that identifies unknown SMS sender numbers and SMS sender IDs are resolved to business names with logos.

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