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.
Google Plans to Invest $1 Billion in Airtel
The world’s leading search engine, Google will invest $1 billion in Airtel, Indian leading telecom operator with operations in 14 African countries, including Nigeria.
The investment is part of a $10 billion commitment to India, the world’s second-largest internet market.
Detailing its investment plans, Google said it will use $700 million to acquire a 1.28 percent stake in Airtel, the preferred network for over 300 million subscribers. Another $300 million will be used to explore multi-year commercial agreements with Airtel.
Google and Airtel will now work to expand Airtel products to cover a wide range of Android-enabled devices to consumers via “innovative affordability programs,” they said. The two companies also plan to work with smartphone manufacturers to produce more affordable smartphones for users in India and across the company’s operating markets.
The announcement came at a period when Airtel and Vodafone are struggling to repay billions of dollars owed to the Indian government. Earlier this month, Vodafone gave up more than 35 percent in equity to New Delhi, making the Indian government the company’s largest shareholder.
“Airtel is a leading pioneer shaping India’s digital future, and we are proud to partner on a shared vision for expanding connectivity and ensuring equitable access to the Internet for more Indians,” said Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google and Alphabet, in a statement.
“Our commercial and equity investment in Airtel is a continuation of our Google for India Digitization Fund’s efforts to increase access to smartphones, enhance connectivity to support new business models, and help companies on their digital transformation journey.”
Airtel will now be going head to head with Jio Platforms, run by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.
In 2020, Google invested $4.5 billion in Jio Platforms, and since then, the company has amassed 400 million subscribers in India, thanks to its lower rates on voice calls and data offerings. Facebook and other leading global investors are also backing Jio Platforms.
FG Launches National Policy on 5G, Assures Protection of Data
In a bid to improve Nigeria’s digital economy, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, inaugurated the national policy on Fifth Generation Networks (5G).
Investors King recalls that the 5G network was earlier approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on September 8, 2021.
The 5G technology was put in place to promote transparency which will help tackle insecurity and create more job opportunities.
President Buhari stated that the benefits of the 5G networks would be fully harnessed to improve the national economy, security and the general welfare of the citizens.
He explained that the issues surrounding the 5G network have been extensively discussed including health safety which has made the federal government come up with a suitable policy.
Speaking on the treasures to be mined in the 5G technology, Buhari mentioned that the network will aid the growth of all sectors, adding that it is faster than the previous technologies available.
In his words, “The 5G technologies can support virtually every sector of the economy, including enhanced connectivity, improved healthcare, support for education while fostering smart cities, and boosting agriculture, among other advantages.
”5G technology is significantly faster than earlier digital technologies and it provides near real-time communication. This can play a key role in boosting our efforts towards enhancing security across the nation.
”It will enable our security institutions to effectively deploy robotics, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality to address any security challenges that we face.”
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, during the launch opined that the 5G technology will greatly help in curbing insecurity in the nation.
Enumerating the goals of the 5G network national policy, the minister said it will secure the ecosystem and ensure protection of data with international standards.
He added that the 5G network will open up opportunities to explore broad information to solve security issues in the country.
“The 5G Network will enhance transparency and economic development as its potential for job creation is unprecedented.
“It is viable platform for security institutions to leverage on, in tackling the security challenges that have bedevilled the country, by harnessing the potential of digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Robotics etc. which explore real-time information for maximum efficiency,” he said.
The federal government affirmed that it would continually make the country friendly for investors to successfully build their businesses.
MTN Nigeria Paid $273.6 Million for 3.5GHz Spectrum Licence to Facilitate 5G Rollout
MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has emerged as one of the winners for 3.5GHz spectrum licence bids organised by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Three companies, MTN Nigeria, Mafab Communications and Airtel Networks Limited, participated in the bid for the 3.5GHz spectrum auction needed for the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) internet. MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications emerged as the two winners in the keenly contested bid.
Airtel Networks Limited dropped out of the bid after the 11th round at $270 million. Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, therefore announced MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications Limited as the two winners.
Each of the winners will now pay $273.6 million for the spectrum. However, MTN Nigeria will pay an additional $15,900,000 to get lot one of the spectrum, while Mafab will pay $11,120,000 to get lot two.
The two winners are now expected to make full payment by February 24, 2022. To qualify for the bid, each of the bidders had paid a non-refundable N7.5 billion, a 10 percent of N750 billion or $197.4 million starting amount for the bidding.
Mr. Karl Toriola, MTN Chief Executive Officer represented MTN at the bidding. Airtel Networks was represented by its Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Sreeddhar Krishna Menon, and Mafab Communications Limited was represented by its Chairman, Alhaji Musibau Bashir.
Commenting on the success of the bidding, MTN Nigeria CEO, Karl Toriola, said “5G is the future of network technology and offers incredible possibilities for new and enhanced services for our customers. Our successful bid presents an opportunity to be at the forefront of delivering these technological advancements to as many Nigerians as possible.
“The benefits of 5G are multi-faceted, and they hold the key to unlocking new avenues for the nation’s growth and development. It is far more than high-speed internet or faster-streaming speeds; 5G has implications for improved service delivery across every sector. It has the potential to transform our nation’s economy and make a difference in the daily lives of every Nigerian. We thank the NCC for organising a transparent auction which will transport us into the ‘tomorrow’ we desire.”
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