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NCC To Restructure International Termination Rate

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Nigerian Communications Commission

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.

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Telecommunications

Orange CEO Convicted for Misuse of Funds, Puts Fate in Hands of Board

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Orange - Investors King

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of France’s largest telecommunication company Orange, Stephane Richard has been handed a one-year suspended sentence after an appeal court in Paris convicted him of complicity of the misuse of funds.

In a statement, Richard said that he would appeal the verdict of the court, saying that the one-year suspended sentence given to him was very unfair.

Stephane Richard, who was acquitted in an initial trial said that he had placed his company authority in the hands of Orange’s board of directors.

The French Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire has frequently said that the position of the government concerning matters like this is that the bosses of companies owned by the state must quit their positions if ever convicted of a crime. A statement made by the finance ministry acknowledged the verdict, saying that the ministry was paying close attention to the appropriate operation of the company.

Orange is due to hold a board meeting where the matter will undoubtedly be discussed, according to a company spokesman. Two different sources who are particularly close to the situation said that Richard – who has denied any offences – will find it difficult to keep his job as the Chairman and CEO of Orange.

Richard also had a 50,000 euro fine slapped on him, but was cleared of the charge of complicity of fraud. He however refused to make any comment when reporters asked whether he would resign as CEO after the verdict was given. He hurriedly left the court, followed by the head of communications at Orange, Béatrice Mandine.

Richard, who is a former civil servant, had previously told French media that he would not be looking to stay as CEO at the end of his third term (each one lasting four years) in May 2022. He however said that he would love to remain as the Chairman.

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Telecommunications

Oppo to Launch Foldable Phone Next Month

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foldable phone

Following the success of Samsung’s foldable mobile phones (Samsung Galaxy Fold & Samsung Galaxy Flip), Chinese mobile communications company Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp. Ltd. – popularly known as Oppo – will launch its own foldable phone next month.

According to a post on the Chinese Forum site Weibo, the foldable device which has been codenamed ‘Peacock’ is widely expected to launch in December. The Oppo ‘Peacock’ is rumoured to be powered by the Snapdragon 888 processor, the same processor used by phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, the Samsung Galaxy Flip 3, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, and the Asus ROG 5 series.

Gizmo China reports that the Peacock will sport an inward folding design, similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Huawei Mate X2.  Gizmo China reports that the smartphone will be accompanied by an 8-inch, 2K OLED display with a 120 hertz refresh rate. There is not a lot of information regarding the phone’s rear camera, but there is the expectation that the phone will possess a Sony IMX766 primary camera with 50 megapixels.

The report from Gizmo China goes ahead to state that the phone will come with a 4,500 mAh battery, 500 less than the Oppo A56 which is expected to hit markets this month. It will also come with 65W fast charging technology. Apart from the 50-megapixel rear camera, the Peacock will also be followed by a front camera of 32 megapixels. However, it is not yet sure how many rear cameras the Peacock will hold.

The announcement comes alongside the company’s announcement to launch a new flagship phone in 2022. The new flagship will be referred to as ‘Butterfly,’ set to release early next year. While the Peacock will be powered by the Snapdragon 888 processor, the Butterfly will be powered by the Snapdragon 898.

The official release date for the Peacock has not been released, but it is expected to launch sometime in December.

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Airtel Africa Sells Minority Stake in Airtel Money for US$500 Million

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airtel africa - Investors King

Airtel Africa, a leading telecommunications and mobile money service provider in Africa, announced that it has received a combined $500 million as proceeds from the minority stake sales in Airtel Money from TPG’s The Rise Fund, Mastercard and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

The telecoms giant disclosed in a statement seen by Investors King.

The latest investment was in addition to the first closing announced by the Group on 18 March 2021, 1 April 2021 and 30 July 2021, respectively.

TPG and QIA, after meeting the conditions for second closing, invested an additional $50 million each while Mastercard added $25 million in the secondary purchase of shares in AMC BV from a subsidiary of Airtel Africa.

Airtel plans to use the proceeds from the secondary stake sale to reduce debt and expand its network and sales infrastructure in operating countries.

“With the conditions for second closing having now been met, TPG and QIA have each invested a further $50m, and Mastercard a further $25m, in the secondary purchase of shares in AMC BV from a subsidiary of Airtel Africa.

“Both QIA and TPG each appointed a director to the board of AMC BV upon the first closings. With these second closings, Airtel Africa will have received a total of $500m cumulative proceeds from the minority stake sales in Airtel Money from the three investors.

“As previously reported, the proceeds from these secondary stake sale transactions will be used to reduce Group debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in the respective operating countries.”

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