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Intelsat Secures Extension of Vodacom DRC Ku-band Contract with Managed CellBackhaul Service

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Intelsat operator of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network, has been selected by Vodacom DRC, a leading mobile telecommunication company in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to provide its Ku-band satellite services. Intelsat’s end-to-end managed CellBackhaul service will serve as an alternative backhaul service to certain sites as a component of Vodacom’s Rural Communication Solution (RCS) initiative to bring mobile services to deep rural sites in DRC.

As part of the “Inclusion for All” pillar of their Vision 2025 strategy, Vodacom brings together available transport networks and hybrid power solutions to enhance and upgrade rural communication services. Intelsat’s Ku-band capacity and the CellBackhaul managed service enable Vodacom to extend mobile connectivity to areas where fiber or microwave backhaul networks are not yet available or unfeasible to deploy.

“We are pleased to continue to work with Intelsat on their new Ku-Band managed service as an alternative backhaul solution to support our rural expansion objectives,” said Didier Kabongo, CNO of Vodacom DRC. “Expanding mobile service to the underserved and unserved population of the Democratic Republic of Congo is a key pillar of our Vision 2025 strategy.”

Intelsat CellBackhaul combines the extended reach and resiliency of Intelsat’s largest-of-its-kind global network with network design, installation, and operation services, making it possible for mobile network operators to deploy services in areas where traditional terrestrial backhaul services are unavailable. CellBackhaul DRC extends Intelsat’s portfolio of managed cellular backhaul solutions that includes platforms in Europe, the United States and Japan.

Rhys Morgan, Intelsat’s vice president, and general manager, EMEA Media and Networks Sales said, “CellBackhaul managed services bring together the right capacity, services, and expertise to provide customers economical alternatives to expand into difficult areas. Intelsat is dedicated to this important partnership with Vodacom DRC, helping to deliver solutions that fill gaps where other technologies are unworkable.”

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Telecommunications

NCC Raises Alarm of New Vehicle Hacking Techniques

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)  has issued a warning to the public about a new hacking technique that allows hackers to access and hijack vehicles.

Investors King recalls a similar issue reported some months back on phone and telecom users’ cyberattack schemes that were detected by NCC’s Computer Security Incident Response Team.

Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC’s director of public affairs (DPA), made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

According to Adinde, the newest alert issued by the NCC’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) stated:

“The fact that car remotes were categorized as short-range devices that make use of Radio Frequency (RF) to lock and unlock cars informed the need to alert Nigerians on this emergent danger.

“The vulnerability is a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack or, more specifically, a replay attack in which an attacker intercepts the RF signals normally sent from a remote key fob to the car.

“It manipulates these signals and re-sends them later to unlock the car at will.

“With this latest type of cyber-attack, it is also possible to manipulate the captured commands and re-transmit them to achieve a different outcome altogether.

“Multiple researchers disclosed a vulnerability, which is said to be used by a nearby attacker to unlock some Honda and Acura car models and start their engines wirelessly.

“The attack consists of a threat actor capturing the RF signals sent from your key fob to the car and resending these signals to take control of your car’s remote keyless entry system,” the advisory stated.

He did say, however, that the NCC-CSIRT has suggested certain preventative measures or solutions in the warning that car owners may use to avoid becoming victims.

The only way to avoid being affected, according to the commission’s cyber-alert unit, is to reset your key fob at the dealership.

“Besides, the affected car manufacturer may provide a security mechanism that will generate fresh codes for each authentication request, this makes it difficult for an attacker to ‘replay’ the codes thereafter.

“Additionally, vulnerable car users should store their key fobs in signal-blocking ’Faraday pouches’ when not in use.”

He urged automobile owners in these categories to choose Passive Keyless Entry (PKE) rather than Remote Keyless Entry (RKE), which would make it more difficult for an attacker to read the signal because crooks would need to be within close range to commit their crimes.

He further explained that the PKE is a vehicular safety feature that opens a door on approach or when the door handle is pulled when the user is in direct range to the car.

He further stated that when walking away or exiting the automobile, the user locks it.

He went on to say that the RKE system, on the other hand, is the industry standard for remotely enabling or disabling a vehicle’s doors and storage area.

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About 60 Million Subscribers Have Linked Their NIN – MTN

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MTN Nigeria - Investors King

Telecommunication giant, MTN has revealed that about 60 million users, representing 85% of its subscribers, have linked their National Identification Number (NIN) to their SIM as of April 25th.

This is not the first time MTN is bouncing back and swaying through the tide. Recall that Investors King reported that MTN gnashed a whopping N298.7 billion profit despite subscribers declining by 8 million to 68.5 million in 2021.

MTN claims that 19 million of its users were affected when the government ordered telecoms to prohibit outgoing calls on phone lines that were not yet linked on April 4, 2022.

However, as of April 25, 8.7 million people who were previously restricted, had submitted their NINs for verification, with about 1.2 million of them being reinstated.

In its first-quarter financial results, MTN reported that its subscribers had increased to 70.2 million as of March 30, 2022.

However, as of April, nearly 10 million of its subscribers had not yet linked their NIN.

MTN stated: “Following the NCC’s directive on 4 April 2022 that all operators should restrict outgoing calls for subscribers whose SIMs are not associated with NINs, we implemented the directive on approximately 19 million of our affected subscribers at that date.

“However, subscribers whose outgoing calls were restricted for non-submission of their NINs require their NINs to be verified before being reactivated. As at 25 April 2022, about 8.7 million of those restricted submitted their NINs for verification, of which approximately 1.2 million have been reactivated, many of whom are high-value customers.

“Outgoing voice revenue from the subscribers who are yet to be reactivated therefore contributed approximately 7.8% of total service revenue based on FY 2021. In terms of how general traffic trends have evolved since the implementation of the directive, we have seen a drop off in traffic following our compliance with the directive”.

However, the company added that it has begun to witness a slow recovery as affected users are reconnected and voice conversations are resumed.

“As MTN Nigeria, we continue to engage our affected subscribers while providing hardware support for the National Identity Management Commission to accelerate the verification of NINs submitted. We have taken significant steps to help drive NIN enrolment for subscribers who do not yet have a NIN, deploying over 4,200 points of enrolment across the country. We have also provided multiple channels to enable our customers to submit their NIN for verification and linkage,” the company stated.

 

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CBN Issues Airtel Africa Full Super Agent Licence

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Airtel Financial Results - Investors King

The Central Bank of Nigeria has finally granted Airtel Mobile Commerce Nigeria Ltd, a subsidiary of Airtel Africa a full super-agent licence, the telecommunications company announced on Tuesday.

The final approval came a few months after approval-in-principle was granted in November 2021. Approval-in-principle is a temporary approval that is subject to meeting specific requirements over the next six months.

Six months down the line, Airtel Africa has met all the requirements and finally received a full super-agent licence to expand its agency network across Nigeria.

“The licence allows us to create an agency network that can service the customers of licenced Nigerian banks, payment service banks and licenced mobile money operators in Nigeria,” Airtel Africa stated in a statement obtained by Investors King.

The approval is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s strategy at deepening financial inclusion by taking financial services to the unbanked and underbanked across the country.

A recent study has shown that 34.9 million, or 39.7% of the adult population in Africa’s largest economy are excluded from financial services due to inaccessibility and other structural constraints. Only 28.6 million adults were documented in the banking system, representing 32.5% of the adult population.

The huge numbers of the unbanked and underserviced are the reason the CBN launched super agents, payment service providers and other licences to increase the number of people captured in the financial system, and subsequently, the internal revenue generation.

 

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