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Tizeti Launches NeXTGEN Connectivity Solutions to Address Post-Pandemic ‘New Normal’

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To enable more Africans to take advantage of digital offerings in a new world defined by the Covid-19 pandemic, West Africa’s pioneer solar-based internet and voice service provider, Tizeti, has launched new connectivity offerings.

The new products encompass the company’s commitment to widening the broadband envelope in Nigeria with more robust internet plans, expanding coverage, especially in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, and a focus on accelerating internet availability across the continent with a new venture fund. The products also reiterate the company’s focus on delivering a simpler and more convenient technology offering with a smart customer care operation and integrated Customer Relationship Management systems.

Speaking at the company’s annual conference, Tizeti NeXTGEN, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Kendall Ananyi said the company reflected on digital interaction and transformation more seamless and intuitive for its stakeholders, especially during the wake of the disrupting global pandemic.

“The global pandemic expedited the need for technology to be more agile, faster, more intuitive, and easier to understand, irrespective of the peculiarities of its users. Many people were unable to quickly adapt to the new normal of working, connecting to family and colleagues remotely, and accessing various educational, occupational, entertainment, and other services virtually. Many firms took an unnecessarily long time to adjust to the constraints the pandemic brought, and this resulted in declined productivity, ineffective transformation, and lost revenue. Technology is only useful when it is creating solutions to problems and we believe that as a leader in the digital space in West Africa, we have a role to build the technology platforms that will allow our user base to be agile and relevant in the coming years. We saw the transition from physical everything to the work-from-home model overnight and knew that we had to help people and businesses change the way they work and play”.

Ananyi continued “This is why we have launched new voice and data service for residential, small, medium, and enterprise organizations within Nigeria. Our brand-new Turbo 100MBps Unlimited Internet Plans in Lagos will guarantee 100Mbps unlimited plans (which is 50 times faster than the existing plans in the market), with a free three months pilot to the first 100 signups in the Lekki area.”

Ananyi also talked up the company’s desire to empower more Nigerians, stimulate economic activities and provide unlimited access to affordable and reliable broadband services by widening the broadband envelope to 10 new cities in Nigeria. “We are expanding our unlimited internet plans, currently available in cities in Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and Edo States, to Abuja, Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano, Warri/Asaba, Eket/Uyo, Onitsha, Aba, Enugu, and Calabar. We are building brand-new, solar-powered, 4G-capable towers in these cities and leveraging expansive fiber-networks built by some of our partners, to enable us to roll out our low-cost broadband service, and bring millions of people online, who can now take advantage of the life-changing socio-economic opportunities that access to the Internet provides.”

The company announced it’s partnership with a $5m venture fund focused on startup ISPs that are expanding internet access across Africa. According to the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Ifeanyi Okonkwo, the company will leverage its proprietary OS technology, global partnerships with equipment vendors, submarine cable companies, payment providers, and Venture firms to provide the resources for these startup ISPs to accelerate the availability of unlimited internet across the continent. Successful startups will participate in a 3-months programme with at Tizeti’s location in Nigeria or Ghana where they are expected to gain the knowledge and expertise to rapidly launch affordable internet services in their respective countries.

Tizeti has also simplified its customer experience with a Smart Interactive Voice Response Service that extends its existing Wi-Fi Voice APIs and authenticates callers into their call centers using their phone numbers. This smart IVR reduces wait times and the need to talk to customer service agents by providing tailored information on account holders while on the phone call. The company also extended this innovation to its Integration to major Customer Relationship Management systems such as Freshdesk, Zoho, and Bitrix 24. This new feature allows businesses to make and receive calls directly from their CRM applications using Wificall.ng at local call rates.

“Tizeti was built to tackle poor internet connectivity not only in Nigeria but on the continent as a whole, by developing a cost-effective solution from inception to delivery, for reliable and uncapped internet access for potentially millions of Africans”, said Ananyi. “Over the past years, we have been able to roll out our superfast broadband services in Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, and Edo state to address the huge demand for reliable unlimited internet service. This move to expand rapidly to 10 other states builds on the successes and allows us to expand quickly to Tier 2 and Tier 3 locations outside the unlimited broadband internet envelope. We also have our eyes on accelerating our expansion in other West African countries, over the next few years”, he said.

Other speakers at Tizeti NeXTGEN include Yinka Adewale, co-founder/Chief Executive Officer, Kudi; Akin Jones, co-founder/Chief Executive Officer, Aella App; Dr. Femi Kuti, Chief Executive Officer, Reliance Health, Eniola Campbell, Country Managing Director, Nokia Nigeria, and Olubunmi Ogun, Deputy General Manager, Nigeria Sales, MainOne.

For many countries in Africa, there is still a huge digital divide. Tizeti is playing a significant role in addressing this digital infrastructure deficit in Africa with innovative technology and capabilities, to improve development outcomes for millions of people, with better outcomes for employment, education, family and social life, and access to information.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Telecommunications

Nokia and African Telecommunications Union (ATU) to Speed up Digital Transformation and the Knowledge Economy in Africa

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Collaboration to leverage the power of ICT including 5G for Industry 4.0 (IR 4.0), connecting the unconnected and transforming lives; Both organizations reiterate commitment to shape policy, develop talent, and promote inclusion and diversity in Africa.

Nokia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) to drive digital transformation and the knowledge economy for socio-economic development across the continent. The two parties will leverage the power of telecommunications, including 5G networks, to connect the unconnected and identify innovative use cases, as well as business models. In addition, the MoU will lay ground for both organizations to better help governments shape telecom policy, develop talent and promote inclusion and diversity. This includes women, as well as the underprivileged in both rural and urban areas.

The MoU was signed in Nairobi, Kenya, by John OMO, Secretary General at ATU and Rajiv Aggarwal, Nokia Representative and Head of Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia.

Announcing the partnership, Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia, said: “We remain keen on supporting Africa’s digital transformation journey and by collaborating with the ATU, we strengthen this commitment. We will leverage our global technology expertise and insights on policy matters to positively impact the universal socio-economic development in the continent.”

Co-signing the MoU with Mr. Rajiv, John OMO, Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), said: “Our vision is to make Africa a full and active participant in the global information and knowledge society by enabling universal access to ICT systems and services across Africa. Collaboration with a global industry leader such as Nokia is therefore crucial in this regard and will help us accelerate towards a digital transformation and knowledge economy.”

The MoU framework is guided by six tenets designed to facilitate this acceleration. These are:

  • Sharing of best practices on telecom technology trends and developments
  • Identification of innovative industrial use cases toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Recommendation on implementation of emerging technologies and business models
  • Promotion of connecting the unconnected with broadband
  • Development of emerging talent for digital innovation
  • Promotion of inclusion and diversity

Nokia has a long history of collaboration with international organizations and bodies across the globe. Regionally in MEA, Nokia recently partnered with UN Women to promote inclusion and diversity in Middle East and Africa. Nokia is also working with UNICEF as part of a shared-value partnership in Kenya to connect schools with broadband and empower children in rural as well as disadvantaged urban areas. In November 2020, Nokia supported the Forge Academy in South-Africa with the launch of a fully inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory to help students to become entrepreneurs in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the global digital economy.

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Broadband Penetration in Need of a Leg-up – Coronation Merchant Bank

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Digital technologies can promote growth in an economy partly due to their capacity to reduce costs and improve the quality of delivery. However, to achieve this, highspeed and reliable internet and broadband are required. The latest data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator, show that internet subscriptions stood at 139.4 million in July, representing a y/y decline of -5%. Furthermore, we noticed a m/m decline of c.431,000 in subscriptions.

The decline in subscriptions can be partly attributed to the temporary suspension of SIM card sales to ensure the achievement of the National Identification Number (NIN) registration exercise. Additionally, based on our channel checks, the stress associated with the NIN-SIM linkage has resulted in customers abandoning SIMs of devices that are not their primary source for communication or internet connectivity.

MTN Nigeria (MTNN) accounted for the largest share (42%) of total subscriptions though down -1.0% m/m in July ‘21. Airtel (-0.5%) and Glo (-0.9%) also recorded m/m decreases.

Over the past year, there has been a visible shift to fibre broadband internet plans which do not necessarily need SIM cards to function. We note that some residential estates are increasingly using this service given the heavy reliance on internet services at home due to the newly adopted work-from-home approach.

In November ‘19, President Buhari launched the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy. The strategy is hinged on eight critical pillars. One of the critical pillars is developing a solid infrastructure by deploying fixed and mobile broadband infrastructure to deepen broadband penetration and drive an inclusive and vibrant digital economy.

Similarly, in September ‘21, the FGN approved the national policy for the fifth-generation (5G) network to boost the country’s digital economy. The national broadband plan set a target for the country to attain 70% broadband penetration at a price of N390 per 1GB of data (i.e. 1.3% of minimum wage).

The latest national accounts show that Information and Communications Technology sector grew by 5.6% y/y and contributed 17.9% to the total GDP in Q2 ’21. This is slightly higher than its contributions in Q2 ’20 (17.8%) and Q1 ’21 (14.9%). It also showed that telecommunications grew by 5.9% y/y in Q2 ‘21 compared with 7.7% in Q1 ‘21 and 18.1% in Q2 ‘20.

We note that investments into the sector have declined steadily. Capital importation into the telecommunications sector declined by 138.2% from USD944.1m in ’14 to USD417.5m in ’20. This can be linked to the infrastructure deficit in the telecommunications sector, the high cost of services and access devices, low digital literacy, poor perception of broadband value, among others.

Clear policy and regulatory guidance are fundamental to the optimal distribution and uptake of broadband services. The evolving work conditions, travel restrictions due to covid-19, the rise of e-commerce, and integration of technology in daily activities show that the rollout of broadband services has the potential to address various socio-economic challenges, grow the economy and create jobs.

Industry sources suggest that a 10% increase in broadband penetration can increase the GDP of an economy by 1.8 – 2.0%

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Telecommunications

Foreigners to Activate SIMs Every Six Months, Says NCC

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Foreigners exempted from enrolling for the National Identity Number will have to request for Subscriber Identity Module activation every six months up to a period of two years.

The Nigerian Communications Commission disclosed this in its new draft for ‘Business Rules and Operational Processes for Implementation of the National Policy for SIM activation, Replacement and Other Key Telecommunications Operational Processes.

The report said, “SIM activations for foreigners exempted from enrolling for NIN shall be configured for a period of six months in the first instance and can be renewed further upon request and where the visa is not for a stay of two years and above.”

It added, “Foreigners validly transiting through Nigeria or are employed in or reside in Nigeria for less than 24 months are exempted from the mandatory use of NIN requirement. Persons in this category need to provide justification that they will be residing in Nigeria for less than two years.”

It said if such foreigner failed to request for SIM activation at the end of the six-month period, the SIM would be deactivated.

For foreigners staying in the country for more than two years, it is required for them to register for NIN as well as fully register their SIMs.

“NIN is mandatory for foreigners with legal residency status or those living in Nigeria for two years and above. For those who do not already have a NIN, mobile network operators shall capture the resident’s details for NIN issuance as part of the NIN enrolment process, upon presentation of resident’s permits,” it stated.

The Punch had earlier reported that foreigners not staying in Nigeria for up to two years do not need a NIN to register SIM cards, according to the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.

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