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NCC to Monitor Revenues Generated in Telecom Industry With IT Solution

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has concluded plans to forestall financial leakages in the telecommunication industry.

This is as the commission unveiled its IT solution, Revenue Assurance Solution (RAS) to monitor the revenue generated by its licensees.

The executive vice-chairman of the NCC, Umar Danbatta made the disclosure in Abuja on Friday during a virtual interactive session with the industry’s stakeholders.

Danbatta explained that RAS will be used to look into the annual operating levy (AOL) payable to the federal government of each telecom operator and detect the exact amount of revenue generated yearly.

“The financial burden of deployment will be on the operators. This project relieves the commission of the initial financial burden that will be required for the deployment of the RAS project.

“It will also ensure that accurate revenue generated by the licensed network operators are tracked, analysed and utilised for the benefit of the industry. Beyond revenue assurance, when deployed, the NCC RAS will bring a lot of solutions to the industry,” the vice-chairman stated.

Danbatta noted that the IT solution is designed to effectively monitor and regulate the licensees in the industry.

This, according to him, will enable NCC to validate the information, records and data supplied to it from time to time but the operators.

Stressing the need to block loopholes in the industry’s compilation of data, Danbatta pointed that the annual operating levy is a very vital tool in the regulation of the telecommunications industry.

“AOL can be described as the tap root of an efficient and effective telecommunications regulatory environment. The mechanisms for collection and computation of AOL, are of interest and important to both the regulator, and the operating networks.

“In Nigeria, the importance of AOL is well expressed in the Nigerian Communications Act 2003. Some of the objectives of the AOL regulations, as provided in part 1 (2) of the AOL Regulations 2014, are to “create and provide a regulatory framework for the effective and efficient administration by the Commission of the Annual Operating Levy regime and all matters related thereto;

“Stipulate the mode and methods of assessment of Annual Operating Levy and the payment modes thereof; specify guiding standards and principles for the administration by the Commission of the Annual Operating Levy regime,” he stated.

The Commission’s helmsman maintained that the size of the nation’s telecommunications industry made the revenue assurance solutions a necessity for accuracy.

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Telecommunications

MTN Nigeria Boosts Tax Contribution to N549.3bn, Expands Network Nationwide

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MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has announced a significant contribution of N549.3 billion in taxes and levies to the Nigerian government for the year 2023.

This milestone, detailed in the company’s 2023 Sustainability Report filed with the Nigeria Exchange Limited, underscores MTN Nigeria’s role as a key player in the nation’s economic and technological advancement.

The report highlights MTN Nigeria’s expansive growth in connectivity, reaching 79.7 million people and achieving a remarkable 92.9 percent nationwide coverage.

This expansion is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to bridge the digital divide and enhance communication infrastructure across Nigeria.

“We are proud of the progress we have made so far, expanding connectivity to 79.7 million people, achieving 92.9 percent nationwide coverage, and investing N2.6 billion in corporate social investment programs that have impacted over 58,000 lives through the MTN Foundation,” the telecom giant stated.

In addition to its tax contributions, MTN Nigeria’s capital expenditure rose to N571.0 billion in 2023, reflecting a 13.2 percent increase from the previous year.

This substantial investment was directed towards enhancing infrastructure and service delivery, reinforcing MTN’s commitment to improving customer experience and expanding digital solutions across the country.

Karl Toriola, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, expressed pride in the company’s progress and reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability and community impact.

“We remain steadfast in our pursuit of excellence and committed to continuously improving our sustainability practices while striving for an even greater impact in the communities we serve,” he said.

MTN Nigeria’s comprehensive approach to sustainability and growth is evident in its corporate social investment programs.

The MTN Foundation, which received N2.6 billion in funding, has positively affected over 58,000 lives through various initiatives aimed at education, health, and economic empowerment.

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Broadband Penetration Rises to 43.53% in Nigeria, Says NCC

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has released its latest statistics, revealing a steady increase in broadband penetration across the country.

The data shows that Nigeria’s broadband penetration rose to 43.53% in March 2024, a significant recovery from previous declines.

According to the NCC, the total number of active internet subscriptions grew from 158.2 million in April 2023 to 164.4 million in March 2024.

This increase in internet users has been accompanied by a rise in broadband penetration, which saw a consistent upward trend over six consecutive months.

The report highlighted that broadband penetration had dropped from 48.28% in May 2022 to as low as 40.85% in September 2022.

However, it began to climb again in October 2023, reaching 41.01%, and continued to improve each month thereafter, peaking at 43.53% in March 2024.

Monthly Breakdown of Active Internet Subscriptions:

  • April 2023: 158.2 million
  • May 2023: 159.6 million
  • June 2023: 159.5 million
  • July 2023: 159.5 million
  • August 2023: 159.1 million
  • September 2023: 160.1 million
  • October 2023: 161.1 million
  • November 2023: 162 million
  • December 2023: 163.8 million
  • January 2024: 161.9 million
  • February 2024: 163.3 million
  • March 2024: 164.4 million

The report attributes the accumulation of active internet subscriptions to various technologies, including Mobile GSM, Mobile Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Fixed Wired, Wired and Wireless, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Monthly Breakdown of Broadband Penetration:

  • November 2023: 41.87%
  • December 2023: 43.71%
  • January 2024: 42.53%
  • February 2024: 43.08%
  • March 2024: 43.53%

Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, commended the NCC for its regulatory efforts, which he said played a crucial role in the gradual rise in broadband penetration.

Adebayo noted that the federal government’s previous ban on SIM activation had significantly impacted broadband penetration across networks.

However, he praised the NCC for its effective regulation and called for the government to grant the NCC full regulatory independence to address key issues affecting telecom operations in Nigeria.

“The NCC’s management has done an excellent job in stabilizing and improving broadband penetration in the country,” Adebayo stated. “We hope the government will continue to support the commission’s efforts by ensuring it has the necessary autonomy to implement policies that will further enhance telecom operations in Nigeria.”

The NCC’s recent statistics provide a positive outlook for the country’s digital landscape, reflecting ongoing efforts to expand internet access and improve connectivity for millions of Nigerians.

As the country continues to recover from the post-COVID economic challenges, these gains in internet and broadband usage are seen as vital for driving economic growth and technological advancement.

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Ethio Telecom Sale to Foreign Bidders Halted; Local Investors to Get Priority

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Ethiopia has decided to halt the sale of its state-owned telecommunications operator, Ethio Telecom, to foreign investors.

Instead, the government will prioritize domestic retail investors before listing the company on the nation’s upcoming securities exchange.

Originally, the Ethiopian government planned to sell 45% of Ethio Telecom to foreign investors. This approach was abandoned in November after Orange SA, a major contender, withdrew from the bidding process.

Emirates Telecommunications Group Co. was also rumored to have considered a bid but did not proceed.

“There were bidders, but each one of them has left the process at one point,” said Abdurehman Eid, CEO of Ethiopian Investment Holdings, which is overseeing the sale along with the finance ministry. “At the end, we felt it’s probably better to halt the process.”

Eid explained that foreign interest did not meet Ethiopia’s expectations. “The priority now is to expedite the sale of 10% to retail investors, who are showing a huge appetite,” he noted during an interview at a sovereign wealth fund conference in Mauritius.

The focus on foreign investors will resume after Ethio Telecom is listed on the Ethiopian Securities Exchange (ESX), set to commence operations in October.

Ethio Telecom, the largest telecommunications operator in Africa’s second most-populous country, had a monopoly for decades. By January, the company boasted 74.6 million subscribers and recorded a profit of 11 billion birr ($191.6 million) for the first half of the fiscal year.

The shift in strategy underscores Ethiopia’s intention to leverage domestic investment capacity. The decision to prioritize local investors aligns with broader economic goals, aiming to stimulate local participation in major economic sectors.

This move is part of a larger plan to list five other state-owned companies on the ESX. According to Eid, proceeds from these divestitures will be utilized to reduce public debt.

Over the years, enterprises controlled by the government have accumulated substantial debt, leading to financial struggles.

The Liability Asset Management Corp., established three years ago, currently manages close to 780 billion birr in debt.

By redirecting the sale of Ethio Telecom shares to local investors, Ethiopia is fostering a more inclusive investment environment and setting a precedent for future listings.

The new strategy is expected to enhance domestic capital markets and provide more opportunities for Ethiopian citizens to invest in the country’s economic future.

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