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Telcos Blame Govt for Low Service Quality



  • Telcos Blame Govt for Low Service Quality

Telecoms operators have blamed the government for the poor telecoms services in the country.

The operators, acting under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said the actions of government and its agencies contribute to low service quality.

Its Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo who spoke on the sideline of the last Telecoms Consumer Parliament (TCP) in Lagos, lamented that some state governments have turned telecoms infrastructure to bait with which they extract funds from the telcos.

He cited Ogun State where no fewer than 25 Base Transmission Stations (BTS) had been sealed up by the state government and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where carriers had been denied approval to expand capacity through the building of new BTS.

He said: “We have problem with Ogun State government over site approval payment and also what they call the grant rental payment and what has happened in the last six months is that our members that provide services there have had issue with the planning authority there.

“By last count, 25 sites have been shut down by the government of Ogun State; two of those sites are hub sites providing services to neighbouring states of Oyo and part of Lagos. The impact of that will be bad consumer experience; we are engaging them, and we do hope that the matter will be resolved in matter of days. But more than closure of sites and reopening of sites, what is worrisome is the trend of site closure due to the issue of revenue collection, and I think these are issues that should be clearly separated.

“The government is looking for money; let them do so by other means not by services that will have security implications. For the fact that there are no services in those parts of the state as we speak , the people there are open to all kinds of experiences which they may not be able to report to police and other security agencies.”

According to Adebayo, these developments underscore the need to have tlecoms infrastructure classified as national security and economic infrastructure where nobody at any level of government will have right to shut down.

“We have written a letter to the governor of the state but it sends a very bad signal because the fact that sites are being made as baits to extract money from service providers, is not the right thing to do and we think the level of our development has gone far beyond that,” he had said.

Speaking on carriers’ challenge in Abuja, he said the Federal Capital Territory Development Authority (FCDA) said the masterplan of the FCT did not foresee the emergence of mobile telephony and made no provision for its infrastructure.

“What we were told was that when the masterplan was made, there was no provision for telecoms infrastructure understandably so because 40 years ago, there was no popularity of mobile services. So, we have been engaging with the authority of the FCTDA for the purposes of approval of sites but the fact is that none of that has happened I got information from the director of NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) now that a meeting was held about two weeks ago and the minister had committed to getting something to happen soon but the experience we have in Abuja is a function of the fact that we don’t have sufficient capacity to support subscribers in Abuja,” he said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial market.

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FG Implores Parastatals to Promote the Country’s Digital Economy Initiative



digital economy

FG Tells MDAs to Promote the Country’s Digital Economy

The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under the management of Dr. Isa Pantami, has implored all the federal government parastatals to promote and safeguard the country’s digital economy initiative.

Dr. Isa Pantami, while presenting the keynote address in a virtual forum organised by the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON),  said based on the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for critical data infrastructure and broadband is now high.

The minister urged government parastatals to put in effort to uphold and promote government’s digital economy initiative designed to reduce the effect of the pandemic on the nation. He also disclosed that the interests of all Nigerians would also be protected by the government.

Federal government will continue to develop its digital economy policy for a digital Nigeria. Both the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) that are under the supervision of my ministry, now have special departments that promotes digital economy initiative and I urge them and all other parastatals under my supervision, to ensure that they promote the digital economy initiative of the federal government in order to maintain investor’s confidence and to protect the interest of Nigerians, especially telecoms consumers.

Government on its part will ensure that the interests of telecoms companies and the interest of Nigerians are protected. Government is currently addressing the challenges in the cost of investments such as the issue of vandalisation of telecoms infrastructure, and President Muhammadu Buhari has officially directed all security institutes, through the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), to protect telecoms investments in the country,” Pantami said.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, when making his presentation said “The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly and sharply ravaged the globe, Nigeria is no exception. Governments therefore, faced unprecedented challenges from COVID-19 pandemic. The impact affects most sectors of the global economy, ranging from health, to education, to finance, to trade and investment.

While explaining the Commission’s efforts at resolving consumer-related issues, Danbatta noted that less than 500,000 people activated Do-Not-Disturb (DND) code as at 2015 when the code was introduced by the Commission but presently, over 22,722,366 people line on the code.

He also made it known that the commission has resolved 98 per cent of service-related complaints received from telecoms consumers from January 2019 to April 2020.

according to Danbatta “the Commission has monthly engagements with operators as well as quarterly industry working group on Quality of Service and Short Codes, and is currently monitoring 2G Key Performance Indicators, while the KPIs for 4G are being prepared.

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Union Bank, Awarri Partner to Launch ‘Next Robotics Legend’ Initiative




Union Bank Partners Awarri to Train Kids on Robotics, Artificial Intelligence

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and Awarri, a pan-African technology company, has announced the commencement of the ‘Next Robotics Legend’ initiative.

The training program organised through the banks’ education platform, Edu360, will train students between 11 and 16 years of age in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

Union Bank said the training is in line with its mission to boost education in Nigeria through its Edu360 platform, saying the Next Robotics Legend initiative would identify and nurture young innovators necessary to address some of the challenges confronting the nation and the world at large.

According to the bank, entry for the initiative will start on August 7th, 2020 and closed on August 21st, 2020. Parents and guardians of qualified students are, therefore, advised to register their children on Edu360 website as soon as possible.

It added that the top 25 entries will participate in the intensive 3-month training programme and each of the participants will receive a tablet with preloaded information; a MekaMon, a robot, which offers an unparalleled education experience in advanced robotics as well as access to seasoned tutors for the programme duration.

Participants are required to identify a need in their community, and apply the skills learnt to provide a solution to societal need at the end of the free training programme. Admission for a mentorship program with Awarri awaits the student with the best solution.

Ogochukwu Ekezie- Ekaidem, the Head, Corporate Communications and Marketing at Union Bank, when speaking on the Bank’s partnership with Awarri said, “Edu360 is excited to work with Awarri on this initiative because this links three areas that we are passionate about – Education, Innovation and Talent Development.

Our focus on these three areas stems from the realisation that they are crucial in driving development and sustainable impact in Nigeria.

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Twitter Approaches TikTok for a Possible Merger Deal



TikTok 1

TikTok, Twitter in Merger Talks

Following President Trump’s decision to end TikTok reign in the United States and protect the American people against an ‘unusual or extraordinary threat,’ Twitter has approached ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok to discuss possible merger or acquisition, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Saturday.

President Trump had signed an executive order on Thursday under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a law that allows the president to regulate international commerce in an unusual or extraordinary threat.

Part of the executive order read “The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by one mobile application in particular, TikTok.”

Last week, Trump had given TikTok 45 days to sell off its US operations to an American company or face a complete exit from the world’s largest market. Also, American companies are warned to stop doing business with the Chinese video app and other Chinese owned social media companies like WeChat, saying it “threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

The threat has led to American companies approaching the Chinese short video app for complete acquisition of North American operations.

Microsoft had announced last week that it was in talks with the company to acquire its US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand operations. On Thursday, Financial Times reported that Microsoft has expanded discussions to TikTok entire operations.

However, on Saturday the Wall Street Journal reported that Twitter is in preliminary discussions for a merger with TikTok. A move that would likely allow Twitter to manage the company’s North American operations in line with Trump’s demand.

Trump had accused Chinese owned companies of working with the Chinese government to access American key data and expose the world’s largest economy to security threats. An accusation the companies have denied over and over again.

While it is uncertain how Twitter plans to raise the money for the acquisition or merger, it would be a herculean task given the company’s present financial position when compared with Microsoft.

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