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N1.08tn Shortfall Threatens Telecom Service

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  • N1.08tn Shortfall Threatens Telecom Service Quality

The quality of voice calls and data services is expected to worsen this year as telecommunications companies have failed to raise the N1.08tn needed to fill the current infrastructure gap in the sector.

With N40m needed to build a base station, the telecoms firms will need an investment of N1.08tn to build additional 27,000 base stations this year.

Till date, telecoms companies in Nigeria have built about 33,000 base stations against the estimated 60,000 base stations said to be needed in the industry for the operators to provide optimum quality of service to their over 60 million subscribers.

“Going by the strong economic headwinds and the continuous downslide in revenue generation, it has now become very glaring that the telcos cumulatively cannot possibly come up with such funds this year that is needed to build additional 27,000 base stations and strengthen the quality of service,” a top management employee in one of the major telecoms firms said.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source added, “What this implies is that we will not be able to provide best quality of service this year. To be candid with you, the quality of service may even get worse this year if urgent steps are not taken to tackle this challenge.”

The Head, Public Relations and Protocol, MTN Nigeria, Funso Aina, said, “We plan to roll out as many new BTS as possible this year, most especially sites that are fully optimised for 4G coverage. We also intend to consolidate our 3G coverage in many areas too.”

Nigeria’s telecoms investment rose from $500m in 2001, following the licensing of the Global System for Mobile Communications operators, to $15bn in mid-2008; $25bn in 2009 and $32bn in mid-2013.

The figure has increased currently to over $68bn from $38bn in 2014, the Nigerian Communications Commission said.

According to the latest NCC statistics for November 2016, mobile subscription also increased from less than 500,000 in 2001 to over 153 million; teledensity moved up from less than one per cent to over 107 per cent; while mobile Internet subscription has risen from base zero to close to 100 million.

However, industry players stated that aside the dwindling telecoms revenue, the national roaming service was another challenge affecting the raising of funds to build additional 27, 000 base stations.

A telecoms analyst, Mr. Akin Akinbo, said “We expect major telecoms companies such as MTN Nigeria, Airtel, Globacom, Etisalat as well as ntel, among others, to deploy aggressively this year, but we have noted that a policy such as the national roaming service being introduced by the NCC may slow investment in this area.

“This is because an operator that does not have coverage in an area can just agree with an operator with coverage in that area to service the former’s subscribers, thereby foreclosing the desire to invest due to an operator’s ability to leverage on the network of another.”

Despite reservations being expressed in some quarters about the national mobile roaming service, the NCC said it would go ahead with its implementation, saying the policy would not deter investment.

The Head, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC, Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, told our correspondent, “National mobile roaming is a must. It is not a matter of whether or not it will happen. It is already part of the licensing conditions given to the operators.

“So, what we are working on through various stakeholders, especially the service providers, is the framework for launching the service to make life easier for telecoms subscribers. So, whether we like it or not, it is coming soon.”

Sharing Akinloye’s views, the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said the national mobile roaming service was good because it would help subscribers to have network access at all times even if their service providers did not have network in an area.

“National mobile roaming will allow a subscriber, who finds himself in any part of the country where his service provider has no network coverage, to make and receive calls as well as send and receive text messages,” Ojobo stated.

He noted that till date, regulation on national mobile roaming was non-existent in Nigeria, adding, “Only international roaming service between Nigerian telecoms players and their counterparts in other countries is possible.”

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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Nigeria’s Fintech Startups Raised $122 Million in 2019

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Financial Technology Startups in Nigeria Raised $122 Million in 2019

Financial Technology (fintech) startups in Nigeria raised a combined $122 million in 2019, according to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Mr. Olumide Bolumole, the Divisional Head of Listings Business, NSE, disclosed this while speaking on the fintech industry and its growth in recent years.

“The Fintech industry in Nigeria continues to gain increasing popularity after taking the lead in Africa and attracting $122 million in funds in 2019.

“At the exchange, we recognise the opportunity to provide a platform where players in the Fintech landscape can have easier access to right-sized capital to fulfil their organisational objectives.

“The NSE is, therefore, committed to developing multiple solutions to address the needs of the Fintech community in Nigeria such as the provision of the NSE Growth Board.

“The exchange will also prioritise collaborations with organisations such as FinTechNGR to ensure solutions from this webinar are implemented for the benefit of the sector,” he said.

However, with just about 200 fintech companies in Nigeria, the sector is still young and just emerging with room for growth, considering the fact that most Nigerians are still unbanked.

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Fintech Companies Raised $554 Million in Investment Last Week

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Financial Technology Firms Raised $554 Million Investment Capital Last Week

Financial Technology (Fintech) companies raised a combined $554.17 million from investment rounds last week.

A data compiled by Finbold showed the top 25 fintech firms were led by Razorpay and Wealthsimple.

Razorpay, a payment platform, raised $100 million to account for 18.04 percent of the total amount raised during the week. This was followed by Wealthsimple’s $87 million.

Deepwatch came third with $53 million while NYDIG and M1 Finance came fourth and fifth with $50 million and $45 million, respectively.

Other noteable fintechs include Extend $40 million; FOSSA $30.55 million; +Simple $23.75 million; Finexio $23 million; and Sonrai Security $20 million.

On the other hand, Evolve Credit was the last among the 25 companies. It raised $0.025 million while Upside Saving raised the second least fund at $0.42 million. Also, they were the two firms that raised below $1 million in the week under review.

Oliver Scott, a Finbold editor, who spoke on funding in the fintech sector, said “Notably, venture capital is still the primary source of funding for fintech startups. However, new trends indicate a high level of private equity and debt financing. Additionally, more funding activity is concentrated around later funding rounds. The sector is also witnessing a rise in IPOs and acquisitions. Such trends are pointing to a maturing market.”

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Snapchat Adds 39 Million Daily Active Users YoY Representing 18% Growth

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Snapchat Daily Users Increase by 39 Million YoY, a 18 Percent Increase

Data presented by Buy Shares indicates that Snapchat daily active users have grown by 39 million on a Year-Over- Year basis. The addition represents a growth of 18.57%.

Pandemic spurs Snapchat’s DAU growth

During Q3 2019 the daily active users stood at 210 million while the figure was 249 million as of Q3 2020. Between Q3 2018 and Q3 2020 Snapchat’s daily active users have grown by 33.87%.

After witnessing a rise in daily active users the numer slumped between Q1 2018 and Q4 2018 with a percentage drop of 2.61%.

The research also overviewed Snapchat’s number of daily active users based on regions. As of Q3 2020, North America recorded the highest number at 90 million, a growth of about 7% from a similar period last year.

Commenting on the recent surge in Snapchat’s daily active users, Buy Shares researcher Justinas Baltrusaitis said:

After taking a dip in users around 2018 Snapchat began witnessing a steady rise from the end of last year. The platform’s 2020 numbers have been boosted by the coronavirus pandemic.During the health crisis, most people were confined to their homes and turned to social platforms like Snapchat for entertainment.”

Europe has 72 million active daily users as of Q3 2020, a growth of 10% from Q3 2019. Elsewhere during Q3, 2020 the rest of the world had 87 million daily active users.

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