- MTN Restrategises, Raises Investment on Data in 2018
MTN Nigeria, the largest network operator by subscriber number said it has since redirected its focus on capital expenditure (CAPEX), to investing more on data facilities rather than voice.
The telecom company said it took the decision because it observed that Nigerian subscribers are fast shifting from voice communication to data communication.
The telecoms company made the disclosure in Lagos shortly after it signed the documents through which it secured a N200 billion loan facility from 12 banks for network expansion, part of which it said, would be spent on.
The General Manager, Corporate Treasury Finances at MTN, Mr. Ishmael Nwokocha, who made the disclosure, revealed that out of the N180 billion the company earmarked for CAPEX this year, large chunk of the money was spent on network expansion, upgrade and optimisation for data, in order to meet the growing demand of its customers for data services.
According to him, MTN had a legacy network that was built to provide voice services but decided to redirect its focus from voice to data and invest heavily in data service offering because of the shift from voice to data, which has become a global phenomenon.
“In 2016 we spent N192 billion on CAPEX, in 2017 we spent N225 billion on CAPEX and in 2018, we earmarked N180 billion on CAPEX, and a large chunk of the 2018 budget was directed to network expansion, upgrade and optimisation to meet the growing demand of our subscribers for data services,” Nwokocha said.
“We are currently experiencing more demand for data services from social media like WhatsApp. As we transit from call-centric to data-centric, we need to improve our infrastructure for data service offering, and we have to prepare for the future, if a large part of our revenue will be coming from data, hence our new focus and energy are on data and how to invest more in our data facilities,” Nwokocha added.
Addressing the status of MTN Nigeria in rolling out its Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, Nwokocha said, “MTN is not in the process of acquiring LTE technology for its broadband internet penetration, because we have already invested in LTE and we have the technology running.
“For every telecom company, the foundation is always about the frequency, because the more frequency they have the better services they can offer, and this is what we had long invested in, to further boost coverage in underserved and unserved communities of Nigeria. If we have sufficient frequency, our data coverage will be much better.
“We already have LTE services, what we are doing is expanding our LTE services in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and we are currently in nine cities, even though we have cities that are still not on 4G.
“This is part of the reasons why we are interested as the biggest telecoms operator in the county, to expand our capital expenditure to cover full data service offerings.”
“In the last two years, our focus as a telecoms company had been on increasing customers’ experience through our network expansion and we will continue to invest until that is achieved,” he said.
Responding to questions on the general rollout of 5G technology, Nwokocha said there was need for operators to exhaust 3G and 4G network rollout before embarking on 5G network rollout.
According to him, 3G and 4G smartphone penetration has remained low.
“We can talk of 3G and 4G smartphones and network rollout in in cities like Lagos and Abuja where we have better penetration, but this is not so in the rest of Nigeria,” he added.
“MTN has tested 5G rollout in South Africa, we are going to conduct a test in Nigeria also, but for us to push up this, we have to make sure that the 5G compliant smartphones are in the market and that the smartphones are in the right preference,” Nwokocha said.
Jeff Bezos Sets a New Record as Net Worth Hits $172bn
Jeff Bezos Breaks His Own Record, Now Worth $172bn
Jeff Bezos, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Amazon Inc, on Wednesday broke his own record to set a new all-time record of $172 billion net worth.
Bezos’s previous record was $167.7 billion attained in September 2018. However, the billionaire broke the record on Wednesday after Amazon shares gained 4.4 percent to close at $2,878.80 per share.
This is despite the billionaire parting with 19.7 million Amazon shares in July 2019 as part of his divorce settlement to his wife, Mackenzie Bezos.
Mackenzie Bezos’s 19.7 million shares now worth around $56.9 billion, making her the second richest woman and the thirteenth richest person in the world.
Jeff Bezos’s net worth has now risen by $57.4 billion from the year-to-date, according to Bloomberg Billionaire Index.
Opay Pauses Some Business Operations as COVID-19 Bites
OPay Halts Some Business Units Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Opay, a seamless mobile money service provider, has announced it would be putting some of its business units on hold as COVID-19 pandemic bites.
In a statement released by the Chinese owned mobile money start-up on its official twitter page @OPay_NG, the company said “We can confirm that some of our business units including the ride-hailing services, ORide, OCar as well as our logistics service OExpress will be put on pause.”
This, it said was largely due to the tough business environment brought about by COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown and government ban of motorbikes in Lagos.
The statement read “Globally, ride-sharing businesses have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. But several months ago, foreseeing this issue, OPay had already taken preemptive steps to restructure our business focus away from rides. It is worth to note that this final restructuring has minimal impact on OPay as a whole business.”
“It is important to clarify that ride-sharing had always been only one part, and not a major part of OPay’s diversified business in Nigeria. In fact, OPay had been investing more and seeing accelerated growth in its commitment to Nigeria’s financial and technology inclusion.
“During the pandemic, we have seen continued demand for our offline mobile money agency, and online digital payment, which remains the core of our business.
“From January to April 2020 for example, we witnessed a 44% growth of offline and online transaction value even in the midst of pandemic and lockdown. This is a testament to the high demand for flexible and easy financial services by Nigerians. OPay remains one of the most well-funded and profitable mobile money platforms in Nigeria, and we will continue to do more for our customers.”
Below is the company’s official statement as published on Twitter.
Facebook, Google Earn 80% of Annual Digital Ads Spend – Report
Facebook, Google Earn 80% of the £14bn Spent on Digital Ads in 2019
A recent report from the United Kingdom’s competition watchdog has shown that Facebook and Google earned 80 percent of all the money spent by advertisers on digital platforms in 2019.
In the 440-page report, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), UK said Google and Facebook market positions are having a “profound impact” on newspapers that now receive almost 40 percent of all visits to their sites through the two platforms.
“This dependency potentially squeezes their share of digital advertising revenues, undermining their ability to produce valuable content,” the watchdog said.
This is coming two weeks after Investors King called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to protect Small and Medium businesses against Facebook and Google activities or watch the nation’s SMEs die. Investors King had posited that “Nigerian startups can not compete with Facebook and the recent tax announced by the Federal Government through the ministry of finance would not be enough to stop these giant tech companies from taking advantage of Nigeria’s young growing market.”
According to the CMA report, out of the £14 billion spent on digital advertising in the United Kingdom in 2019, Google with more than 90 percent share of market search earned £7.3 billon while Facebook with more than 50 percent of display market earned £5.5 billion. Representing 80 percent of the total digital ads spent in 2019.
While the report admits that the two platforms help small businesses reach customers and are valued by users, it also said they have “developed such unassailable market positions that rivals can no longer compete on equal terms”.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive at CMA, said: “What we have found is concerning – if the market power of these firms goes unchecked, people and businesses will lose out.
“People will carry on handing over more of their personal data than necessary, a lack of competition could mean higher prices for goods and services bought online and we could all miss out on the benefits of the next innovative digital platform.
“Our clear recommendation to government is that a new pro-competitive regulatory regime be established to address the concerns we have identified and regulate a sector which is central to all our lives.”
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