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NCC Urges Telecommunications Operators to Respect Licensing Requirements, Addresses Stakeholder Engagement

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Telecommunications - Investors King

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has encouraged telecoms licences across different areas of the telecommunications sector to strictly follow their licensing obligations, in order to ensure the adequate provision of services to their consumers.

This call was made by the Chairman of the NCC’s Board of Commissioners, Prof. Adeolu Akande at the third edition of the Commission’s Talk to The Regulator (TTR) Forum, which took place in Port Harcourt, Rivers state. The theme of the programme was: ‘Improving Stakeholder Satisfaction’.

According to Akande, the essence of conducting the forum across the country’s geo-political zones was to show the Commission’s licensees that responsibility does not end with receiving licenses, but with working closely with the licensing authority to address matters affecting regular operations.

Even past the issuance of licenses to the operators, Akande announced in a statement that the Commission is truly concerned with setting own the necessary regulatory frameworks as well as initiatives that can encourage the smooth execution of licence conditions.

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC & CEO) of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, when speaking on the centrality of stakeholder engagement to the Commission’s regulatory activities said that the Commission takes feedback from stakeholders’ engagement initiatives as vital to building a robust licensing era in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.

The EVC – represented at the forum by the Executive Commissioner of Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu – emphasised the Commission’s commitment to stakeholder engagement as a way to solidify collaboration with licencees, identify concerns and jointly develop and execute practical solutions.

Danbatta stated that the focus of discussion for the stakeholder meetings had been on licensing processes, procedures and policies all working towards improving stakeholder satisfaction. He emphasised the need to gather insights from every geo-political zone in order to encourage mutually beneficial relationships and boost understanding between the Commission and its important stakeholders.

Danbatta stated that notable successes have been recorded due to the Commission’s focus on giving stakeholders top priority. He stated that contributions to the country’s GDP grew to 14.42% in Q2 2021, active internet subscriptions surpassed 140 million, teledensity reached 99.98%, and broadband penetration hit 40.01% as at the end of September 2021.

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Telecommunications

TELCOS Decry Government’s Decision on Telephone Tax

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MTN

The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has said the recent move by the Federal Government to add a one kobo per second tax on phone calls is a misplaced priority. 

Investors King recalls that the Federal Government of Nigeria had, on Monday, said it will implement a one kobo per second tax on phone calls in the nation to fund free healthcare for the vulnerable. 

ALTON said it is a “bad fate” on the part of the Government and it is badly intended. “This is because when we came out that the government should look at our cost of operations and give us room to review tariffs, everybody treated us like an outcast. 

“The same government is now coming in a matter of days to say they are introducing new taxes. So, when they were saying to us that we cannot increase tariff because it is insensitive to the plight of the people and now, they brought another tax thing through the back door, we think it is bad fate and badly intended. So if we cannot review based on the impact it will have on subscribers, why are they bringing in another tax, still on subscribers. 

“Government cannot act in one way and say another thing”, ALTON said.

According to ALTON, this will affect subscribers because they get less value for what they pay for.

“It means now that when you buy a 100 recharge card, the percentage will be deducted from it and paid to the government. So it is shortchanging the people. What will happen is that operators will be mandated to collect this tax on their behalf and remit it to the government”, the association noted.

ALTON suggested that although the motive for the tax rate is understandable, the government should have looked elsewhere to source it.

It said: “Not telecoms subscribers whom the government has said its suffering because of living lately 

“We will not complain as operators because we will definitely remit, it is the subscribers that will bear the brunt”.

A Lagos State resident, Taiwo Popoola, in a conversation with Investors King, said the decision to increase the tax rate will be too hard for an average Nigerian to bear if implemented. According to him, only the upper class of the society will conveniently afford it. 

“On the part of the users, buying airtime will drastically reduce. People would resolve to use social media channels to reach each other and may, in turn, reduce the income of these telecommunication companies,” Taiwo said. 

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Airtel Commences Financial Operations, Activates Smartcash Payment Service Bank in Nigeria

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Airtel Africa - Investors King

Airtel has announced that it has officially commenced the operation of its Financial Technology (Fintech) subsidiary, Smartcash Payment Service Bank in Nigeria. 

While reassuring its commitment to providing financial solutions to Nigerians, Airtel Africa said the new payment solution will start gradually and subsequently expand to other parts of the country. 

Investors King recalls that in November last year, Airtel received approval in principle from the Central bank of Nigeria to operate the subsidiary payment service in Nigeria. 

In an official statement made available to Investors King  and signed by the Airtel Group Secretary, Simon O’Hara, the company noted that SmartCash Payment Service Bank Limited (‘SmartCash PSB’) Services will initially be available at selected retail touchpoints, and operations will be expanded gradually across the country over the next few months. 

“I am very excited to announce our commencement of operations for financial services in Nigeria through SmartCash PSB. This is the beginning of our journey to revolutionise the financial services landscape in the country.

“To help further digitise the economy, and most importantly to help bank the unbanked by reaching the millions of Nigerians who do not currently have access to financial services by delivering current and savings accounts, payment and remittance services, debit and prepayment cards and more sophisticated services”, Airtel Group Chief Executive Officer, Segun Ogunsanya said.

Airtel Africa is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, in 14 countries across Africa, today announces that its subsidiary has commenced operations in Nigeria. 

 

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Telecommunications

Canadian Government to Restrict Chinese Huawei, ZTE from its 5G Networks

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Huawei 5G

Canada has said it will ban two of China’s biggest telecom equipment makers from working on its 5G mobile-phone networks.

The Canadian Industry Minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne disclosed the restriction against Huawei and ZTE on Thursday. He said the move will improve Canada’s mobile internet services and “protect the safety and security of Canadians.”

“This is about providing a framework to protect our infrastructure. In a 5G world, at a time where we rely more and more in our daily lives [on] our network, this is the right decision,” Mr Champagne said while speaking to reporters in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. 

Investors King has it that this decision by Canada has been widely expected, as its allies had already barred Huawei and ZTE from their own high-speed networks.

This means that telecoms firms in the country will no longer be allowed to use equipment made by Huawei and ZTE.

“Companies that have already installed the equipment made by the Chinese manufacturers must now remove it,” Mr. Champagne added.

Four nations had already placed the same restriction on the companies. They include the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Canada with these other five countries make up an intelligence-sharing arrangement named ‘Five Eyes’ which evolved during the Cold War as a tool for monitoring the Soviet Union and sharing classified information

The Fifth Generation network is the next upgrade to mobile internet networks, offering much faster data download and upload speeds.

It also allows more devices to simultaneously access the internet. It comes as data usage is soaring, as the popularity of video and music streaming grows. This is pushing governments and mobile phone network operators to improve their telecommunications infrastructures.

Canada first announced a review of Huawei equipment in September 2018. The Chinese embassy in Ottawa, Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond at the time of publication.

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