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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.

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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Google Plans to Invest $1 Billion in Airtel

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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.

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FG Launches National Policy on 5G, Assures Protection of Data

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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.

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MTN Nigeria Paid $273.6 Million for 3.5GHz Spectrum Licence to Facilitate 5G Rollout

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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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