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Monday 8th August, 2022


NCC Has Committed Over N500m For Research In Nigerian Varsities- Danbatta



L-R: Mr. Ismail Adedigba, Director, Research and Development, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Dr. Caroline Alenoghena, Director, Entrepreneurship Centre, Federal University of Technology, Minna; Mr. Abdulrahman Ado, Executive Director, 9Mobile; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC; Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC; Prof. Kabiru Bala, Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, during the Regional Roundtable with Academia, Industry and other Stakeholders hosted by the Commission in Kano recently.

In its sustained effort at facilitating research and innovations aimed at promoting developments in the Nigerian telecommunications industry, telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has committed over N500 million to Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions across the country.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, who disclosed this at a two-day Regional Roundtable with Academia, Industry and Other Stakeholders which ended in Kano at the weekend, said the funds have been committed to research grants to universities and tertiary institutions, including professorial chairs in the universities in salient areas to drive technology development.

A release signed by the NCC Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Reuben Muoka quoted Danbatta as saying that the Commission is now focused on supporting the academia in the commercialisation of the prototypes from these innovative researches as this is relevant to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy’s policy towards achieving indigenous technology for sustainable development of the country.

He said the roundtable organized by the Commission was to provide the necessary platform to support the commercialisation of locally- developed telecommunications innovations which NCC has been sponsoring.

“The Commission collaborates with the Academia in maximising the contributions of tertiary institutions to innovations and sustainable development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry as finance is needed to drive the possible success of these endeavours,” Danbatta said.

Danbatta said these efforts have enabled the Commission to contribute to national efforts to ensure overall growth of the industry and create wealth for innovators, saying all these are fundamental to the objective of the NCC’s R&D-oriented programmes.

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On the basis of these, he said ideas, inventions, and improvements that emanate from the academia are required by the industry for improved efficiency and productivity.

Danbatta said appreciable impacts had been achieved since the Commission reinvigorated research grants for telecommunications-based research innovations from Nigerian academics, focusing on the successful commercialisation of locally developed solutions to foster and deepen the uptake of indigenous technology by Nigerians.

NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Engr. Ubale Maska, also disclosed that the Commission has so far awarded 49 telecom-based research grants to the academia out of which 10 prototypes were successfully developed and displayed to industry stakeholders.

Maska said the R&D efforts of the Commission were aimed at actualising some of the 8-point Pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, focusing on Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.

The event, which featured a series of panel session discussions, particularly focusing on sub-themes that addressed the overarching theme of the stakeholders’ forum from different perspectives, drew together participants from the academia, telecoms industry stakeholders, financial services sector and other critical sectors of the economy.

Participants deliberated on understanding commercialisation and entrepreneurial model within the university and industry perspectives as well as brainstormed on investment/ funding opportunities for prototype development, sustainability and the sale of new products in the marketplace.


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Nokia Forecasts 5G Subscriptions To Reach 263 Million In MEA By 2026

Subscribers in South Africa, Nigeria and North African countries will increase adoption following the release of new spectrum, a trend triggered by the increasing use of high-bandwidth consumer applications and industrial use cases.

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A Nokia research forecasts that 5G subscriptions will reach 263 million in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region by 2026.

The 5G subscription growth will primarily be in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Additionally, subscribers in South Africa, Nigeria and North African countries will increase adoption following the release of new spectrum.

This trend is triggered by the increasing use of high-bandwidth consumer applications and industrial use cases.

The Nokia MEA Broadband Index Report – I provides insight, data and analysis on mobile broadband subscribers, coverage, ARPU and traffic growth in the MEA region, as well its respective sub-regions: GCC, Southern Africa, North Africa, Middle East, and Central East West Africa.

The report has been created based on Nokia’s intelligence, as well as data from third-party sources, GlobalData and Tutela.

In GCC countries, the 5G subscriber base is expected to reach 64 per cent of the total and data traffic likely to surpass 70 per cent by 2026, according to the study.

While 4G subscribers in the Southern Africa region are projected to reach 105 million (58 per cent of total subscribers) by 2026, 5G will contribute more than one-fifth of data traffic in the same time frame.

North African operators have seen a high demand for mobile broadband and the region is expected to have a 20 percent increase in total subscribers by 2026, compared to 2022.

In Central East West Africa, more than 60 per cent of the total data traffic is currently carried by 4G. This traffic is expected to grow four times over the next four years.

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At the same time, 5G subscriptions are expected to account for nearly 10 per cent of the total mobile subscribers in this period.

The study also reveals that 5G and 4G together are expected to drive more than 90 per cent of data traffic in MEA. Total data traffic is expected to increase significantly in the next four years with a compound annual growth rate of 35 per cent.

Mikko Lavanti, Head of Mobile Networks, Nokia MEA, said, “Globally, the pace of 5G network rollouts has surpassed 4G/LTE networks. Two years after the first LTE launch there were only 25 million subscriptions across 60 networks, while two years after the first 5G launch, 340 million subscriptions were registered across 155 networks.

“Similarly, in MEA, our MEA Broadband Index Report finds 40 per cent year-on-year growth in 4G data traffic but a huge 350 percent year-on-year growth in 5G data traffic in 2021 alone. This trend in the region clearly indicates that there is a pressing need for the adoption and expansion of 5G networks across the region.”



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NCC Restates Commitment To Research Funding

-Holds a roundtable meeting with varsity teachers, vice-chancellors

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L-R: Prof. Kayode Adebowale, Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan; Prof. Bola Oboh, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics & Research, University of Lagos; Prof. Adeolu Akande, Board Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Ms. Josephine Amuwa, Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC; Prof. Adenike Oladeji, Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure; Prof. Owunari Gengewill, Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt; and Prof. Kolawole Ajanaku, Director, Research, Covenant University, during a two-day Regional Roundtable with the Academia, Industry and other Stakeholders by the NCC which commenced in Lagos on Wednesday.

The Chairman, Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Adeolu Akande, has restated the commitment of the Commission to commit more funds to research and prototypes resulting from the Commission’s grants to academia.

This reassurance is coming on the heels of the recent revelation that the Commission has committed more than N500 million in funding research across Nigerian universities.

Addressing a gathering of vice-chancellors and professors from universities in the southern parts of the country at a roundtable conference at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, Akande said that the Commission acknowledges the importance of working with stakeholders to engender innovations and build indigenous technological capabilities that would strengthen the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) ecosystem.

“We want to use this opportunity to assure you that the Commission will continue to give support to the educational sector in the interest of national development. We will also continue to encourage research and innovation in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.” Akande said.

He explained that the essence of the roundtable was to dialogue with the academia, industry and other stakeholders on how research efforts and prototypes can be transformed into commercially-viable products that solve real-life problems.

“Consequently, the Commission will continue to allocate the requisite resources to research, development and innovations necessary for the industry to continue to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country,” Akande further said.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, represented by the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services of the Commission, Josephine Amuwa, said academia is a key driver of innovation in all spheres of human endeavour.

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He said this is why his leadership at the Commission is determined to not only give grants to the academia but also support the commercialisation of the prototypes developed to deepen the indigenous technological capabilities which would support the overall development of the industry.

NCC Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Ubale Maska, who was represented by Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity at the Commission, Bako Wakil, revealed that the Commission had, so far, awarded a total of 49 telecom-based research grants to the academia out of which 10 prototypes have been successfully developed.

“We are hopeful that these sessions will culminate in the development of a common framework that would facilitate the commercialisation of the existing prototypes and future research outcomes (prototypes) for the benefit of the economy and the industry,” he stated.

Coming shortly after a similar roundtable in Kano for the northern region, the event organised by the research prototypes and Development R&D Department of the Commission, was aimed at bringing together Resources persons, business savvy industry experts, the academia, relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), entrepreneurs and renowned individuals who have successfully commercialised their inventions to brainstorm on the way forward for research output commercialisation.


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MTN Introduces Home Broadband Services

The leading technology company is expanding broadband services to millions of homes across Nigeria.

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L-R: MTN Key Account Director, Huawei Technologies Nigeria Ltd., Joey Wu; General Manager, Fixed Broadband, MTN Nigeria, Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka; Chief Corporate Services Officer, MTN Nigeria, Tobechukwu Okigbo; Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria, Adia Sowho and Key Account Director, ZTE Nigeria Limited, Liu Yunfei at the launch of MTN Home Broadband on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, at MTN Nigeria Headquarters, Lagos Nigeria.

MTN Nigeria Communications PLC has announced its launch of Home Broadband services to accelerate broadband penetration in alignment with the Federal Government’s plan to achieve over 70% broadband penetration by 2025.

With this launch, MTN Home Broadband services will be available to millions of Nigerian households.

DigitalTimesNG can report that with over 200 million people, Nigeria currently boasts of approximately 44.3 per cent internet connectivity, whereas other African countries, such as South Africa, Egypt, and Kenya, are at 68, 74, and 48 per cent internet penetration, respectively.

Global technology statistics closely link internet connectivity to sustainable economic growth rates.

On average, the internet accounts for almost four per cent of GDP across the large economies that make up 70 per cent of global GDP.

UNICEF also projects that nations with low broadband connectivity have the potential to realise up to 20 per cent GDP growth by connecting schools to the internet.

MTN currently connects over 70 million Nigerians (over 7% 4G population and 89.8 per cent coverage nationwide).

With MTN’s Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) and the latest Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) Home Broadband services, millions of Nigerian households, with approximately 50 per cent located in rural areas, will have access to reliable and ultra-fast broadband services.

This would enable them to enjoy unlimited data plans, the ability to connect multiple devices and share data across remote locations for online learning, working from home, streaming, gaming, and smart home solutions among others.

“At MTN, we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life; hence our investment in industry-leading connectivity operations,” noted Hassan Jaber, Chief Operating Officer, MTN Nigeria Communications PLC.

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“Customers now have enhanced access to dedicated 24/7 support and online channels to place orders for MTN Home Broadband with options for home delivery. They can also enjoy truly Unlimited Data bundles, longer tenure data plans with the flexibility to share data with multiple users remotely as well as enhanced data subscription channels including myMTN App,” commented Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, General Manager, Fixed Broadband, MTN Nigeria Communications PLC.


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