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Tuesday 15th June, 2021


Maska, NCC’s Executive Commissioner Chairs Ministerial Broadband Implementation Steering Committee



Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC and Chairman, Broadband Implementation Steering Committee

The Federal Government has placed the responsibility of leading the team that will ensure effective monitoring and steering of the overall implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020-2025 on the shoulders of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Engr. Ubale Maska has been designated as the Chairman of the newly-inaugurated Broadband Implementation Steering Committee (BISC) by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

DigitalTimesNG learnt that at the inauguration of the inter-agency and multi-sectoral committee in Abuja on Thursday, Dr Pantami said the central responsibility and mandate of the Committee, which will have its secretariat in NCC, is to ensure “effective monitoring for implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP), 2020- 2025.”

The Minister said the inauguration of the committee was part of the ongoing journey for a Digital Nigeria, which had received a boost since his assumption of office in August 2019.

Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy (centre) during the inauguration of the Committee in Abuja

“The journey started with the approval for the transformation of the ministry and its parastatals in October 2019 from mere ICT institutions to digital economy institutions by the President.

“This was followed by the unveiling of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) in November 2019 and the development of a new NBP 2020-2025, which was launched by the President on March 19, 2020,” he said.

Dr Pantami further explained that all the efforts were meant to put Nigeria on the global digital economy map, supported by robust broadband infrastructure, and noted that under the NDEPS, Solid Infrastructure components which are the 3rd pillar will provide the bedrock for the realization of the country’s digital economy vision.

“In the new National Broadband Plan, there are many targets principal of which are to cover 90 per cent of the Nigerian population with broadband access and 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025.

Prof. Danbatta, EVC NCC at the event

“We also plan to achieve a broadband speed of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) in urban areas and 10 Mbps in rural areas by the end of the implementation of the new Broadband plan,” Pantami said.

While noting that the implementation of the new NBP had started fully and is resulting in the increase in broadband penetration currently at 40.18 per cent, up from 35.10 per cent in August 2019, the Minister said the ICT industry contributed 14.07 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2020, noting that increased broadband penetration will help Nigeria to achieve increased GDP growth.

The Minister, however, explained that problems of Right of Way, protection for telecom infrastructure and multiple taxations, which are critical to fast-track broadband infrastructure deployment and penetration are being addressed from all fronts.

He added that the efforts are already yielding positive results with the engagement of relevant stakeholders including state government and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).

The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, had earlier in his remarks, commended the Minister for the inauguration of the committee and promised the support of the Commission towards the realisation of the mandate of the Committee.

L-R: Prof. Umar Danbatta, EVC/CEO, NCC; Dr. Abimbola Alale, MD/CEO, NigComSat; Kashifu Abdullahi, DG, NITDA and Prof. Mohammed Abubakar, CEO, Galaxy Backbone Limited during the inauguration

The Chairman of the Committee, Engr. Ubale Maska also assured the Minister of the Committee members’ readiness to deliver on the assignment.

Present at the inauguration were the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mr Kashifu Abdullahi; Managing Director, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), Dr Abimbola Alale and Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammed Abubakar.

DigitalTimesNG understands that the Committee draws its membership from the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and agencies under its supervision, including the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), the World Bank, Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), among others.

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umlaut Ranks Airtel Nigeria Best In Broadband Coverage, Speed



Airtel Nigeria has been declared the ‘Best in Test’ following a nationwide broadband assessment by umlaut, an international, full-service, cross-industry, end-to-end company that offers advisory and fulfilment services to clients globally.

Hakan Ekmen, CEO of Telecommunications at umlaut, said Airtel achieved the best-rated broadband coverage and user download speed among other mobile network operators, scoring the highest with 697 points, while MTN emerged second with 663 points, 9mobile with 591 and Glo with 486 points.

The tests were carried out with umlaut’s crowdsourcing methodology, used to evaluate the mobile networks in Nigeria.

Consequently, an extensive analysis revealed two-hundred and sixty-three thousand (263,000) users have contributed 707.4-million samples in 24 weeks from October 2020 until early April 2021.

Speaking on the metrics of the assessment, Ekmen stated that over 80% of urban build-up and population areas were tested to arrive at the results.

He went on to laud Airtel for emerging the best-rated, citing it as a remarkable feat and a positive step towards attaining digital equality in Africa.

“In our nationwide assessment, 82.8% of the urban build-up area and 83.9% of the Population area were tested. We concluded that Airtel Nigeria is Best in Test, achieving the highest umlaut score with 697 points.

“Airtel achieved the best-rated broadband coverage and user download speed. This is remarkable in one of the largest telecommunications communities on the African continent, a positive step towards Digital Equality”, he stated.

Ekmen went on to state that umlaut’s sophisticated methodology enables the results to be comparable across network operators globally, emphasizing the transparency it provides in not only boosting network quality and performance but also improving the experience for every customer.

He further stated that while the results in Nigeria are quite impressive, there is still room for improvement in global comparison, however, the competition in Nigeria’s telecoms landscape is working favourably for consumers in the country.

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Smile Brings Smiles To Customers With Double Data Delight



Smile, West Africa’s pioneer 4G LTE broadband service provider, will, beginning tomorrow, be offering its teeming customers a 100% bonus on recharge on any of its Bigga data plans.

This bonus offer, fondly dubbed ‘Double Data Offer’, will last for fourteen days from the date of purchase.

In essence, Smile customers will enjoy double data on the range of Smile’s Bigga data plans that include several packages such as 130GB, 100GB, 75GB, 60GB, 40GB, 30GB, 20GB, 15GB, 12GB, 10GB, 8GB, 6.5GB, 5GB, 3GB, 2GB and 1.5GB plans.

But for this specific double data offer, the bonus will be valid for fourteen days from purchase. Vitally, the 100% bonus on recharge to subscribers purchasing any Bigga data plan will be used before the paid bundle.

Abdul Hafeez, Smile Nigeria’s Chief Marketing Officer said the 100% bonus offer is one of the many ways that Smile utilizes to smoothen for its customers the apparent rough patches occasioned by the current inclement economic situation in the country.

With the 100% bonus offer, Abdul Hafeez opined that Smile is offering its loyal customers double data as a thank you gift for their continuous support and patronage and therefore, urged the customers to ensure that they maximize the benefits of this too good to be missed offer while it lasts.

Smile said in a statement Tuesday morning that customers desirous to benefit from the double data offer will have to utilize the numerous Smile recharge platforms that include Shops, Kiosks, Field Sales Representatives and Authorised Smile dealers.

Other avenues available to the customers are 3rd Party Online channels like Banks, Quickteller, Paystack, Jumia Pay, etc. Subscribers can also recharge directly through their MySmile App and MySmile Portal online.

Ashade Abdurraheem, an Ikeja based IT entrepreneur, noted that this double data offer could not have come at a better time than at the twilight of the Ramadan period with the consequent Sallah holidays.

He surmised that with the coming Sallah festivities, the 100% bonus offer would further enable many Nigerians to easily access broadband service from Smile and enjoy the best internet experience in Nigeria.

Renowned for its customer-centric bent, Smile is reputed to have berthed more customer-focused and pocket-friendly products than any of its peers in line with the company’s philosophy of deploying broadband to make Nigerians enjoy the best internet experience.

Indeed, Smile was the first to launch VoLTE on its network and has continued with its innovation, having introduced SmileVoice, which is a free mobile app that enables customers with any Android or Apple iPhone device (including those which are not VoLTE-enabled) to make SuperClear voice calls over Smile’s 4G LTE network.

Smile was also the first to introduce an Unlimited offering, which enables SuperFast data and SuperClear voice, all on one bundle.


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Smile Nigeria Explains Recent Network Outage, Compensates Customers



Smile Nigeria, one of Nigeria’s leading telecommunication services providers, has explained the recent network outage experienced by its customers.

The company said in a statement issued in Lagos on Monday that it regretted the inconvenience the outage may have caused its customers.

Smile disclosed that the outage was due to network upgrade and modernization activities as well as the maintenance upgrade that it embarked upon to strengthen its network infrastructure.

The telecom firm also disclosed that most customers affected by the outage have been compensated and that others yet to be compensated will surely get their bounties in due course.

The statement noted that as a customer-focused company, Smile has taken appropriate steps to forestall a recurrence of such an outage and to ensure that all the customers affected by the outage are compensated.

Smile, therefore, urged its customers to go ahead and enjoy the superfast internet access for which the company is known, and which has become its hallmark.

Renowned as the first 4G LTE network in West Africa having first launched VoLTE on its network, Smile has continued with its innovation by introducing SmileVoice, which is a free mobile app that enables customers with any Android or Apple iPhone device (including those which are not VoLTE-enabled) to make SuperClear voice calls over Smile’s 4G LTE network.

It was also the first to introduce an unlimited offering, which enables SuperFast data and SuperClear voice, all on one bundle.

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