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Thursday 2nd December, 2021

Telecoms

20 Years Of Digital Revolution: NCC Rakes In More Awards For Its Regulatory Effectiveness

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Prof, Umar Danbatta, NCC Executive Vice Chairman (left)

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been receiving an avalanche of awards from an array of stakeholders for its role in enhancing digital transformation in Nigeria.

It is two decades since the NCC midwifed the birth of the Global System of Mobile Communications (GSM), to herald a new era of public communication in Nigeria.

The new awards were conferred on the Commission and its Management at different fora organised to commemorate 20 years of revolutionary digital communication in Nigeria.

Besides the serial honour of attending the celebrations of two decades of the GSM revolution, the Commission also won awards at annual events organised by strategic stakeholders, including, the Nigerian telecom sector’s equivalent of Oscars, the Nigeria Tech Innovations & Telecoms Awards (NTITA), 2021.

At NTITA, NCC received the ‘Outstanding Telecom Regulator of the Year’ award, while its CEO, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman, was honoured with the ‘Telecoms Industry Leader’ award.

The event took place in Lagos, on 19th November 2021.

A week earlier, at another event organised by the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), in collaboration with Digivation Network, the Commission had received, ‘The Premier African Regulator’ award.

The EVC was also honoured with the ‘Regulatory Excellence Award’, while the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Barrister Adeleke Adewolu, received ‘The Outstanding Digital Impact Personality’ award.

The event tagged 20 Years of Digital Revolution Powered by GSM, took place at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre, Abuja, on 11th November 2021.

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The same day, at yet another event organised by E-Business Life Magazine at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos to mark the 20 years of the birth of GSM, the NCC also received, ‘Technology Transformer Award’.

Additionally, just over the weekend, the NCC also received the ‘Regulator of the Year’ award at the New Telegraph Awards 2021, organised at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, on Friday, November 19, 2021.

Meanwhile, at the event organised at NAF Conference Centre in Abuja, a panel representing shades of stakeholders in the telecom and ICT sector, took a retrospective reflection on the last 20 years of telecom liberalisation under NCC’s supervision.

The panellists agreed that there has been an irreversible, exponential transformation of the sector with a visible impact on all other sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The panellists reminisced on developments in the sector in an inquisitorial manner, asking the audience to measure the dynamism in the telecom sector in terms of digital sophistication and digital literacy in comparison to what it was two decades ago.

The speakers, one after the other, examined in objective contexts, how telecoms service availability, affordability and accessibility have benefited persons of all social strata, especially the disadvantaged segment of the society.

The panel also took stock of the general impact of the digital culture from a historical perspective in order to properly capture the milestones.

As Nigeria prepares for the launch of the Fifth Generation (5G) networks, the panellists agreed that there will be more benefits to harvest from the emerging technologies.

Thus, they urged all stakeholders to heighten the education of citizens and especially telecom consumers, in order to halt the misinformation about 5G.

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The discussants also expressed confidence in the ability of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the NCC to rally stakeholders to deepen engagement at all levels and sectors to focus on the implementation of policies to ensure the attainment of the set targets.

Meanwhile, the Director of Public Affairs at the Commission, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, commended stakeholders, who gathered at various events where the Commission and its leaders were honoured, for their dedicated solidarity.

Adinde also thanked the various stakeholders who recognised the Commission with landmark awards, for the impeccable honours.

He stated that such a number of awards to NCC in a fortnight testified to the strong collaboration between the Commission and the stakeholders and their conviction that NCC is fulfilling its mandate.

Adinde particularly told the audience at the E-Business Life forum that the recognitions coming to NCC will further encourage the Commission’s management led by Prof. Umar Danbatta and his dynamic team to do more to expand the frontiers of opportunities of the digital economy to enable citizens and other investors to enhance their contributions to Nigeria’s growth and development.

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Telecoms

NCC’s “SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU,” Campaign Debuts In Benin

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The Nigerian Communications Commission has once again expressed its commitment to reach all categories of telecom consumers, with the launch in Benin, of a consumer-centric outreach programme tagged, “Shine your eyes, no fall mugu,” which literally translates to, “Be alert, Don’t be a victim of fraudsters.”

The programme, an initiative of the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), is specially conceived and implemented using Nigerian pidgin, and it’s intended for a segment of the telecom consumer population who are more comfortable with localised communication that resonates with their reality.

The two-day programme, implemented in three phases, started with a roadshow that featured local artistes and comedians who displayed musical and other performances to amuse and entertain people to create awareness and sensitise telecom consumers about how cybercriminals may use telecom platforms to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

The last day of the two-day event featured a 20-minute radio talk in Nigerian pidgin, to further create awareness and like the roadshow, to invite telecom consumers to an enlightenment forum where presentations will be made about tricks deployed by cybercriminals to defraud people online.

The presentations also captured measures to be taken by consumers and members of the public in order not to fall victim to fraudsters who may use telecom platforms to perpetrate fraudulent acts.

Additionally, at today’s enlightenment forum, drama, audio narratives and other attractions thematised on the centrality of vigilance, alertness and caution in cyberspace by all users, will be featured.

The programme was facilitated by a local partner who supports NCC, by mobilising critical segments of the public through opinion leaders and social groups to participate in the events, in order for them to be armed with the right information they may require to explore the Internet safely.

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This programme, coming on the heels of NCC’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (which occurred in October), and the annual National Cybersecurity Conference, which took place on 3rd November 2021, is meant to reinforce the messages of cyber awareness, cyber vigilance, and cyber smartness to telecom consumers whenever they are online.

The roadshow commenced at Ekehuan Road, and the procession drove through Airport Road, to State Secretariat, Sapele Road and through the roundabout to Ring Road, to Akpakpava, Dawson Road and back to Ugbowo and Uselu Market.

The motorcade, the music, the displays by artistes and the underlying narration of the message of the outreach in Nigerian pidgin caught the attention of residents and passers-by who patiently listened to the messages.

Information, Communication and Education (IEC) materials were also shared with the public at every neighbourhood the procession stopped to display and educate the public.

 

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Telecoms

Regulator, Licensee Engagement Critical To Industry Growth, Development – Danbatta

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Prof. Umar Danbatta, EVC/CEO, NCC

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has said that the “Talk to the Regulator” Forum organised by the Commission is critical to industry growth and development.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Lagos edition of the “Talk To The Regulator” Forum on Thursday in Lagos, Danbatta said interactions like this sits squarely within the five pillars of the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (2020-2024).

Recall that the NCC’s five pillars of Strategic Management Plan (2020-2024) include Regulatory Excellence, Promotion of Universal Broadband Access, the Development of the Digital Economy, Facilitation of Market Development, and Strategic Partnering.

Danbatta, who was represented at the forum by the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu stated that the forum provides the Commission with a unique opportunity to engage telecom licensees in a collaborative atmosphere which, in turn, enables a joint examination of issues that are negatively affecting licence compliance and industry growth.

“Through regular interactions with our licensees, the Commission is able to gain valuable insights to enhance our regulatory output and drive excellence in consonance with the five pillars of our strategic vision for the industry as encapsulated in the Commission’s Strategic Vision Plan (SVP, 2021-2025),” the EVC said.

He noted that eventhough analysts agree that the industry has continued to show improvements in key indices such as contribution to GDP (which grew to 14.42% in Q2 2021), active internet subscriptions (which reached over 140million at the end of September, 2021), teledensity (which reached 99.98% at the end of September,
2021), and Broadband penetration (which reached 40.01% of the population at the end of September, 201), the Commission is not resting on these achievements.

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“We are very much aware that not all our licensees are doing as well as they ought to be doing. Several licensees are struggling to pay their staff, many are unable to comply with basic licence obligations, several are defaulting in the payment of their Annual Operating Levies (AOL), and the level of interconnect and other inter-licensee indebtedness is still unacceptably high.

“The Commission will continue to roll-out forward-looking and all-inclusive regulatory initiatives to provide market opportunities for all its licensees. We have also committed to the constant review of our licensing framework as well as key regulatory instruments so as to refresh our regulatory frameworks and ensure better service delivery for consumers and efficient attainment of other national interest objectives,” he said.

Danbatta stated further that the industry can only achieve the national interest objectives set out in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) and other policy instruments if most of the licensees are operating at optimal strength.

“We are, therefore, keenly aware of the need to listen to our licensees and address any concerns that may impede the attainment of the relevant policy objectives,” he said.

The EVC assured that the NCC Board and Management are fully committed to take comments on Board and to make necessary adjustments where possible.

“Indeed, the Commission’s leadership restated this commitmen during our recent Board and Management Retreat, and we consider this forum a good place to demonstrate that commitment,” Danbatta said

Themed: ‘Improving Stakeholder Satisfaction’, the two-day forum had in attendance on the opening day, stakeholders in the telecommunications industry including telecoms and Internet service providers across Lagos and members of the public.

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Telecoms

NCC Extends Deadline For Submission Of 3.5GHz Bid To Next Monday

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has extended the deadline for the submission of Bids and Initial Bid Deposit for the 3.5GHz spectrum auction to 5.00 pm on Monday, 29th November, 2021.

Recall that the Commission had earlier scheduled the submission of responses in respect of the 3.5GHz Spectrum Band auction to close on Wednesday, November 24,2021.

The NCC, however, said on Wednesday in.a statement signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde that “due to the challenges posed to air travels as witnessed recently and considering that it may have some impact on intending bidders regarding the submission of their bids, the Commission hereby extends the deadline for submission of bids and Initial Bid Deposits (IBDs) to 5.00 pm on Monday, 29th November, 2021.”

The statemebt however, quoted Adinde as saying that all other events as scheduled in the Information Memorandum remain unchanged.

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