Connect with us

Wednesday 12th May, 2021


NCC Actively Involved In Actualisation Of FG’s Financial Inclusion Target- Danbatta



Prof, Umar Danbatta, NCC Executive Vice Chairman

Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has said that the Commission has been actively involved in the actualisation of the Federal Government’s financial inclusion target of 20% exclusion or 80% inclusion by the year 2020. 

However,  the EVC recalled that a recent report by EFInA, a financial sector development organisation, indicates that even though its data showed that more people have become financially included, the financial inclusion pace was, however, not matching the country’s population growth rate.

Danbatta spoke as a guest lecturer at the 5th Annual ‘The Bullion Lecture’ organised by the Centre for Financial Journalism On Thursday, March 11, 2021.

Focusing on the theme “Driving Pervasive Broadband Penetration to Deepen Digital Financial Inclusion for Nigeria’s Socio-economic Transformation,” the EVC noted that to achieve an accelerated financial inclusion target that Nigeria desires, technology and more importantly, broadband, has to play a massive significant role.

“What I see technology doing in terms of Nigeria’s financial inclusion is actually to democratize access.  In doing this, the NCC embarked on various regulatory initiatives that have continued to increase access to telephone lines and improve access to high-speed Internet or broadband,” he said.

Danbatta stated that the various regulatory initiatives are in line with the Commission’s mandate of ensuring universal access to telecoms services in the country consistent with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)’s goal of achieving digital inclusion, globally.

“Foremost amongst these regulatory initiatives, is the implementation of the Open Access Model for infrastructure deployment through the competitively selected Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) called the InfraCo Project.

“The InfraCo initiative is expected to provide, at a minimum, broadband fibre and connectivity to every Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the Federation, totalling 774 fibre Points of Access (PoAs) with a minimum speed of 10 Gbps which will translate to, at least, 38,296km of Optic Fibre Cable (OFC) to the Transmission over the next years.

“So far, the Commission has licensed six of the seven InfraCos to implement this project and it is intended that the presence of fibre point of access in each LGA will not only spur development, lower cost of entry for telcos and bring about innovative services and applications, but also, improve the conditions of living in the rural, urban and semi-urban areas, especially with respect to access to financial services.

“The InfraCo Project can be considered as the beginning of the “Next Level” journey towards achieving the 120,000km target of fibre connectivity set by the current administration. We have recently begun a process to strategically review the InfraCo framework and its funding options towards ensuring effective implementation of the national fibre project. When fully implemented, it will ensure robust and pervasive broadband infrastructure to drive availability, accessibility and affordability of financial services,” Danbatta further stated.

The EVC noted that the NCC also provided the requisite infrastructure, connectivity and capacity to interconnect four Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Kano in order to localise some of the internet traffic in Nigeria and encourage the creation, hosting and interchange of data within Nigeria.

This, according to him,  has enabled the local hosting of companies like Google, Facebook, Vodacom, China Telecom, Akamai, Juniper Solutions etc. alongside all major Nigerian Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Mobile Network Operators, Sub-Marine Cable Operators as well as major tier 1 to 3 Data Centers.

“This has not only reduced cost, which is key to digital financial inclusion and conserved foreign exchange but also has drastically reduced latency thus, ensuring the sustainability of digital financial services,” he said.

Danbatta said that as telecommunication services and infrastructure became more accessible in the country, the banks identified the Unstructured Supplementary Data Service (USSD) channel as a cost-efficient way of delivering financial services to their customers, explaining why the banks subsequently applied for and were granted USSD shortcodes by the Commission to deliver financial services to Nigerians.

“The banks, Other Financial Institutions (OFI) and mobile money operators licensed by the CBN are now leveraging a large number of mobile subscriptions in the country to provide mobile-based financial transactions to Nigerians, leveraging the USSD platform on Mobile Network Operators (MNOs),” he said.

The EVC said the NCC has actively engaged and collaborated with the CBN, through the signing of a momentous Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ensure mobile money licenses are also issued to telecoms operators that will operate as Payment Service Bank (PSB).

“This is based on the recognition of the fact that, since the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) own the over 204 million mobile subscribers- scattered in rural and urban settings- on their networks, allowing these operators to offer direct digital financial services to their customers would produce better financial inclusion traction.”

The Commission he said has been partnering with relevant organisations and stakeholders and lately with a foremost international organization, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), to ensure better cooperation between telecommunications and the banking sectors towards advancing the frontiers of financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Share Post


We Are Keen On Balancing Healthy Competition With Disruptive Technologies- NCC



L-R: Consultant to SpaceX, Levin Born; Director, Spectrum Administration, NCC, Oluwatoyin Asaju; Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska; SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director for Africa, Ryan Goodnight and Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, during the SpaceX’s presentation to the Commission in Abuja…..Thursday

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it is keen on balancing healthy competition with the entry of disruptive technologies to ensure sustainable telecoms industry growth and development in Nigeria, in the light of disruption in the technology world.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, stated this during a presentation to the Commission by a delegation from SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportations services company, in Abuja on Thursday.

NCC said in a statement on Friday signed by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs at the Commission that SpaceX is in the process of launching a low-earth orbiting (LOE) constellation of satellites to provide low latency, high bandwidths Internet to all corners of the globe and has identified Nigeria as a critical market.

DigitalTimesNG learnt that SpaceX has been in discussion with NCC virtually over the past several months to begin the process of pursuing all necessary licenses to bring Starlink, its satellite-based broadband services to Nigeria.

Having made substantial progress in the discussion, the Commission granted SpaceX’s request for a face-to-face discussion to gain better insights on the prospects of their proposal.

The company which was led by SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director for Africa, Ryan Goodnight and supported by the company’s consultant, Levin Born, provided an overview of its plans, expectations, licensing requests and deployment phases during the meeting.

Executive Commissioner, Technical Services at the NCC, Ubale Maska, who stood in for the EVC, said NCC will work on necessary modalities to ensure that it balances the need for healthy competition vis-a-vis the entry of new technologies, in order to protect all industry stakeholders.

“As the regulator of a highly dynamic sector in Nigeria, the Commission is conscious of the need to ensure that our regulatory actions are anchored on national interest. We have listened to your presentation and we will review it vis-à-vis our regulatory direction of ensuring an effective and sustainable telecoms ecosystem where a licensee’s operational model does not dampen healthy competition among other licensees,” Maska told the SpaceX delegation.

He further stated that the Commission is interested in making necessary regulatory efforts to drive the coverage of rural, unserved and underserved areas of the country through the accomplishments of the lofty targets contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025.

Maska noted that the plan’s target of 70 per cent broadband penetration, covering 90 per cent of the population by 2025 is also in line with government expectations in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2010-2030.

Other Senior Management staff of the Commission at the briefing includes the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu; Director, Licensing and Authorisation, Mohammed Babajika; Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Bako Wakil; Director, New Media and Information Security, Dr. Haru Alhassan and Director, Spectrum Administration, Oluwatoyin Asaju, among others.

DigitalTimesNG understands that Section 70 (2) of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003, empowers the Commission to regulate the provision and use of all satellite communications services and networks, in whole or in part within Nigeria or on a ship or aircraft registered in Nigeria.

This is for the purpose of ensuring a well-developed and organised satellite communications market with the appropriate legal framework that meets international best practices, encourages innovation, promotes competition and guarantees public safety in the rendering of commercial satellite services.

Share Post
Continue Reading


Nigeria Inches Closer To 5G Deployment, As NCC, NigComSat Sign Historic MoU



L-R: Dr. Abimbola Alale, Managing Director of NigComSat and Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC of the NCC during the MoU signing ceremony in Abuja…Wednesday…..Photo Credit: NigComSat Twitter page

The Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will facilitate the release of contiguous bandwidth in one of the most suitable Frequency Spectrum bands for early deployment of 5G (Fifth Generation) Network services in Nigeria.

Speaking at the historic event, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said amongst the Frequency Spectrum bands allocated to 5G by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU, the C-band (3.4GHz-3.9GHz) stands out because of its balancing point between coverage and capacity which provides the perfect environment for 5G connectivity.

“The C-band is most suitable and appropriate for immediate deployment of 5G services taking into consideration availability of device ecosystem with 60-70% of global commercial 5G network deployment currently in the band, thus the importance of this Spectrum for early deployment of 5G services in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.

“For optimal 5G service performance, an average of contiguous 100 MHz of spectrum in the C-band is required by an Operator. However in Nigeria, only 120 MHz of the band (3.4–3.52) GHz is available for mobile services while the remaining 680 MHz (3.52–4.2) GHz of the band is used by NigComSat (NG-1R) satellites,” Danbatta said.

L-R: Engr. Oluwatoyin Asaju, Dir, Spectrum Admin, NCC; Mr. Hadi Muhammad, ED, Finance and Accounts, NigComSat; Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, EC, Stakeholder Management, NCC; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC/CEO, NCC; Chief Uche Onwude, Member, NCC Board of Commissioners; Dr. Abimbola Alale, MD, NigComSat; Prof Abdu Bambale, ED, Technical, NigComSat, and Engr. Ubale Maska, EC, Technical Services, NCC, during the signing of MoU on Wednesday in Abuja.

The EVC disclosed that the NCC initiated a negotiation with NIGCOMSAT whom in its (NCC) estimate could make some adjustment to its satellite operation and release part of its Spectrum holding in the band to facilitate the deployment of 5G in Nigeria, adding that the impeccable team at NigComSat proved the Commission right.

“The two agencies have been in discussions on how to relocate the operations of NG-1R to the standard C-band 300MHz (3.9GHz– 4.2GHz) portion of the band, which is more suitable in terms of Satellite service offering because end-user terminals are cheaper there while leaving the non-standard C-band 400MHz (3.5GHz–3.9GHz) portion of the band for 5G use,” he said.

Danbatta further stated that the cost of relocating the NG-1R is expected to be offset from the proceeds of the auction of the 5G Spectrum, noting that both the NigComSat and the NCC have developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing all the aspects of this undertaking.

The EVC of the NCC the Management of the NigComSat under the leadership of Dr. Abimbola Alale for demonstrating that the interest of the country is paramount to the agencies’ organizational or personal interest.

L-R: Dr. Abimbola Alale, Managing Director of NigComSat and Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC of the NCC during the MoU signing ceremony in Abuja…Wednesday…..Photo Credit: NigComSat Twitter page

Danbatta hoped that the impact of this decision knows no bounds and will not only strengthen the relationship between both agencies but would also go a long way in making a positive impact on the Nigerian economy.

Earlier in his speech, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande recalled that in recent times, several administrations have begun to license Spectrum for commercial deployment of 5G, noting that as it stands today, 5G services have already been deployed in the United States of America, South Korea, United Kingdom, China, South Africa, Kenya and many more.

“Telecommunication evolution from inception to date has led to improvement in user experience witnessed from 2G, 3G and later 4G. The global impact of 4G brought about increases in mobile usage and network performance. 5G will build on this momentum, bringing substantial network improvements, including higher connection speeds, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.

“In doing so, it enables new use cases and applications that will positively impact different sectors and improve efforts towards achieving Digital Economies. It does not only offer enhanced broadband and ultra-low, ultra-reliable latency communications but also provides massive machine-type communications, where a lot of devices will seamlessly connect and independently interact with the internet without human intervention,” he said.

Prof. Akande stated that Spectrum plays a critical role in realising the full extent of these new capabilities, adding that 5G’s full socio-economic impact is dependent on access to a variety of spectrum resources.

“These Spectrums will play a key role in meeting the demand for many enhanced mobile data services as well as new wireless broadband use cases such as remote object manipulation, industrial automation, virtual and augmented reality and next-generation connectivity for vehicles. These use cases will continue to increase the impact that mobile services have on societies and economies.

“In China, UAE, Europe, Africa, India, Brazil and Australia, the 3.5GHz band glaringly featured amongst the spectrum that has been prioritized for 5G with prospects for early deployment.”

Akande expressed delight that the Management of NigComSat and NCC has taken a bold step in the right direction to release contagious quantum of Spectrum in the 3.5GHz band for early deployment of 5G, noting that this type of collaboration seeks to ensure synergy amongst agencies under the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

He commended the efforts of the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and his counterpart at NigComSat, Dr. Abimbola Alale for making an informed decision in the national interest which will consequently foster the deployment of 5G and enable Nigeria to tap its full potential.

Managing Director of NigComSat, Dr. Abimbola Alale thanked the NCC for collaborating with her company in order to advance the course of the digital economy of the Federal Government.

Share Post
Continue Reading


Airtel Nigeria Names Surendran As New Chief Executive Officer



Airtel Nigeria has announced the appointment of Mr. C. Surendran as the new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer with effect from August 1, 2021.

Surendran would be replacing the outgoing Managing Director and Chief Executive of Airtel Nigeria, Olusegun Ogunsanya, recently appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa Plc with effect from October 1, 2021.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that this announcement is contained in a statement issued by Airtel Nigeria on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Lagos.

The statement noted that Surendran would also be appointed to the Executive Committee (ExCo) as Regional Operating Director, reporting to the CEO of Airtel Africa plc, and onto the Board of Airtel Networks (Nigeria) Limited.

According to Airtel, “Surendran has been with Bharti Airtel since 2003 and has contributed immensely in various roles across customer experience, sales and business operations.

“He was the Chief Executive Officer of Karnataka, which is the largest circle in Airtel India, with over one billion dollars in revenue.

“Surendran delivered an exceptional performance with significant movement in Revenue Market Share (RMS) over the last few years, currently at 54 per cent. He has over 30 years of business experience, including 15 years at Xerox.”

The telecom giant said that Surendran would transition into his new role from June 1, 2021, and spend the time onboarding into the business until July 31, 2021.

Recall that a few days ago, Airtel Africa Plc, announced the appointment of Mr Olusegun Ogunsanya as the new Chief Executive Officer, following the notice of retirement given by the current Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Raghunath Mandava, to the Board.

In the notification sent by Airtel Africa to the Nigerian Exchange, Ogunsanya is expected to join the board of Airtel Africa with effect from October 1, 2021.

Share Post
Continue Reading
BANKING16 hours ago

Bank Wars: Access Bank, Standard Chartered, FCMB Off To Winning Start

BANKING17 hours ago

Wema Bank Unveils Hackaholic 2.0 Bootcamp Winners

Fintech2 days ago

Econet, Mastercard Collaborate On Fintech Solutions For COVID-19 Response In Africa

Business2 days ago

Vista Bank Taps Radar Payments To Drive Its Digital Payment Plans In West Africa

TechExtra2 days ago

NITDA, Cloudflex, Rackcentre Throw Weight Behind NITRA Technology Forum 2021

Opinion2 days ago

Pantami: The Alternative Conversation

Telecoms4 days ago

We Are Keen On Balancing Healthy Competition With Disruptive Technologies- NCC


IPOB: NBC Fines Channels TV, Inspiration FM N5m Each For Infractions

TechExtra5 days ago

Buhari Launches National Policy For Indigenous Content Promotion In Telecoms, SIM Registration

Business5 days ago

Vulnerable Households In Yobe State To Benefit From Mercy Corps, MoMo Agent Partnership

TechExtra5 days ago

MassChallenge, NITDA Unveil ‘Bridge To MassChallenge Nigeria’ To Support Startup Community

BANKING6 days ago

Trustbank Selects ICS BANKS Islamic From ICSFS

Telecoms6 days ago

Nigeria Inches Closer To 5G Deployment, As NCC, NigComSat Sign Historic MoU

Telecoms6 days ago

Airtel Nigeria Names Surendran As New Chief Executive Officer

Business6 days ago

8 Banks Go To War At Tech Experience Centre

SOCIAL7 days ago

Ayoba, African Messaging App Celebrates Second Birthday With 5.5m Users

Business7 days ago

Okonjo-Iweala Names Four WTO Deputy Directors-General

Business7 days ago

BudgIT Says 2021 Budget Contains 316 Duplicated Projects Worth N39.5bn

TechExtra1 week ago

Lagos Govt Lays Over 3,000km Fibre Optic Cables For Smart City Project

Business1 week ago

Verizon Sells Yahoo, AOL Businesses To Apollo For $5billion

BROADCASTING12 months ago

ENTERTAINMENT: ‘Turn Up Friday With Pepsi’ Premieres On Africa Magic Channels

Telecoms10 months ago

(APPLY): NCC Invites Proposals For Telecoms-Based Research Innovation 2020

BROADCASTING10 months ago

StarTimes Announces Subscription Price Increase, Addition Of New Channels

Business10 months ago

Samsung May Not Include Chargers With Some Phones Starting 2021

BROADCASTING10 months ago

MultiChoice Now Offers Auto-Renewal On Subscriptions To DStv & GOtv Customers

BIG STORY9 months ago

One Year As NITDA’s DG: How Kashifu Abdullahi Is Transforming Nigeria’s IT Landscape (Part 1)

Innovation1 year ago

NITDA Pledges Full Support To Nigeria’s Tech Community For Innovation Against COVID-19

Business10 months ago

BREAKING: Crowdyvest Holdings Changes Name To EMFATO Holdings

Opinion9 months ago

Africa In Motion: Accelerating Africa’s Digital Future

BROADCASTING10 months ago

MultiChoice Adds ESPN To Dstv And Gotv Sports Offering

Opinion9 months ago

One Year At NITDA: Kashifu As A Vindication Of Youth Excellence In Governance

BROADCASTING12 months ago

Group Rejects MultiChoice Proposed Tariff Hike In DStv, GOtv Services

BROADBAND10 months ago

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

BROADCASTING11 months ago

MultiChoice Begins Broadcast Of uLesson Educational Content On DStv, GOtv

Business1 year ago

After Okada Ban, Opay Confirms Shift To Delivery, Puts Motorcycles Up For Sale

HOME1 year ago

Girls In ICT Day: NITDA Highlights The Need To Promote Career In Information Technology For Girls And Women In Nigeria

BROADCASTING10 months ago

Watch The English FA Cup Final Live On GOtv Max As Arsenal And Chelsea Trade Tackles

Business1 year ago

Konga Inks Partnership With Unilever, Offers Household Products With Free Delivery Nationwide

BROADCASTING11 months ago

MultiChoice To Add Netflix And Amazon Prime Video To Its Stable

BIG STORY9 months ago

One Year As NITDA’s DG: How Kashifu Abdullahi Is Transforming Nigeria’s IT Landscape (Part 2)