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Wednesday 18th May, 2022

Telecoms

NCC Urges Consumers To Protect Telecom Infrastructure, Others

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has emphasised that telecommunications consumers in Nigeria have a major role to play in complementing efforts being put in place to ensure the effective protection of telecommunications infrastructure.

The Commission said this is important to sustain and improve the quality of service delivery by the service providers.

This request and assertion were made recently by the Commission at a sensitization programme it organized at Wannune, Tarka Local Government Area of Benue State.

It said that aside from the role of the law enforcement agencies in protecting telecom infrastructure, the consumers, who are the subscribers and ultimate users of telecom services, have an obligation to do everything to protect telecoms infrastructure in their environment.

These include the base transceiver stations (BTS), the underground fibre optic cable, as well as associated infrastructure.

Addressing the audience at the programme, the Director, Zonal Operations, NCC, Amina Shehu, decried the problem of vandalism caused to telecom infrastructure which often results in poor quality of service delivery to the end-users.

“One of the major challenges to quality of service that an operator provides to you, is vandalism of telecom infrastructure, such as Base Transceiver Stations (BTS). Others are theft, and hostility from some host communities, which have continued to pose a major setback to the industry.

“Therefore, it is imperative for the public to regard telecom facilities as collectively-owned infrastructures that are crucial and essential for the provision of efficient and acceptable telecom services. The more reason these facilities need to be adequately protected,” she urged.

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While imploring the indigenes of Tarka Local Government Area of Benue State to ensure that they protect telecom facilities in their community, Shehu, who was represented at the event by an Assistant Director, Zonal Operations, NCC, Abubakar Usman, further enjoined the consumers to always alert law enforcement agencies close to them once they suspect any act of vandalism, theft or other suspicious activities directed at telecom infrastructure because such nefarious activities have implications for quality of service delivery in the communities.

Shehu underscored the centrality of the telecommunications sector to the economy and also informed the audience that in the last 15 years, telecom has been a major contributor to the nation’s economic growth and development.

The Director of Zonal Operations said the Commission will continue to collaborate with relevant agencies and keep sensitising the consumers on their role in ensuring the security of telecom infrastructure.

One issue Shehu discussed in her speech was the misinformation about Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) radiation emanating from telecommunications infrastructure which she asserted was not harmful according to studies conducted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

Shehu stated that the overall objective of the event is to sensitize members of the public on the need to protect telecommunication infrastructure, and more importantly, to correct the misconception people have about the effect of radio magnetic waves on human health.

“So, the Commission is saying again to you that there is no scientific evidence yet that shows that radiation from telecom masts constitute health hazards to human and we want you to help spread this information to those that are not here,” she said.

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During the event, participants were also enlightened on the illegality of pre-registered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards, the imperatives of proper SIM registration, and the importance of the National Identification Number, NIN-SIM linkage exercise.

The consumers were also informed about facilities provided by the Commission which they can use to improve their telecom experience and quality of life in general.

These include the NCC Toll-free Number (622); the 112 National Emergency Number; and the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 shortcode for managing cases of unsolicited text messages, amongst others.

Meanwhile, the Paramount Ruler of Wannune, Chief Gandeorun Orokaa, who attended the event, thanked the Commission on behalf of the participants for bringing the sensitization programme to the Community to educate the consumers on sensitive consumer-related issues as well as correcting wrong notions and clarifying misconceptions.

He also called on the indigenes to support NCC in protecting telecoms infrastructure so as to ensure that the quality of service improves in the areas.

The event ended with an audience session, where questions and answers were asked, and observations and recommendations were also made on many aspects of telecom services.

In attendance at the event were Local Government workers, Village Heads, Community leaders, Students, Women leaders, and Staff of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

 

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Telecoms

Danbatta Congratulates Pantami On His Appointment As WISIS Chair

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Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy [left] and Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has been congratulated by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, on his appointment as the Chairman of the 2022 World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Forum by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Danbatta described the choice of the Minister as chair of the Forum as a worthy recognition of Nigeria’s leadership role in the global digital economy ecosystem, noting that Nigeria has continued to hold a front-row seat in the promotion of information and communication technology (ICT) as a driving force for national development since the assumption of office of the Minister.

“On behalf of the Board, Management, and Staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission, I want to express our profound delight and congratulations to the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, on his well-deserved appointment by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to chair this year’s WSIS Forum,” Danbatta stated.

“The appointment did not surprise us at NCC, given the important role the Hon. Minister has been playing in driving fundamental digital economy policies, being implemented by agencies under his supervision, in order to boost the diversification policy of the Federal Government,” the EVC said.

“We are, therefore, happy to associate with the Minister on this feat, as it means greater recognition for Nigeria. The appointment is an indication that the world has continued to take notice of the giant strides of Nigeria’s digital economy under the supervision of the Minister.

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“The NCC will continue to do everything within its regulatory mandate to further support the Federal Government’s drive for ubiquitous, affordable, and accessible digital services across all nooks and crannies of the country,” Danbatta said.

Recall that following consultations with various stakeholders, the ITU recently notified the Minister via a letter, of his appointment as the 2022 WSIS Chairman.

The ITU is organising the WSIS 2022 Forum in collaboration with other agencies with the United Nations with a focus on “ICTs for Well-Being, Inclusion, and Resilience: WSIS Cooperation for Accelerating Progress on the SDGs.”

As has been noted elsewhere, the appointment of Prof. Pantami has given Nigeria, and indeed, the African continent, the unique role of coordinating the activities of the WSIS in its 20th year, following the WSIS Phase 1 meeting which took place in 2003.

The WSIS Forum 2022, which will be attended by several high-level stakeholders, including Cabinet Ministers from ITU countries, will serve as a key platform to discuss the role of ICTs as a means to bolster the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals targets.

The discourse will take place in the context of the mechanism for follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UNGA Resolution A/70/1).

The WSIS Forum also provides an opportunity to track the achievements of WSIS Action Lines in collaboration with the UN Agencies involved and provides information and analysis on the implementation of WSIS Action Lines since 2005.

The Forum aims at enhancing cooperation, partnership, innovation, exchange of experiences, and good practices in ICTs for sustainable development across the world.

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Telecoms

NCC, FIRS Set Up Joint Committee To Enhance National Revenues In Telecoms Sector

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In furtherance of their existing collaboration, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have set up a Joint Committee of senior and management staff of the two agencies for the implementation of inter-agency strategies for enhancing national revenues in the telecommunications sector.

NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, inaugurated the 17-member committee on behalf of the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, and the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, at the NCC’s Board Room in Abuja on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

The inauguration of the committee, comprising six officials of NCC and eleven officials of FIRS, was carried out with senior officials of NCC and those of the tax agency led by its Coordinating Director for Compliance Support Group, Dr. Dick Irri, who represented the FIRS’ Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami at the event.

Adewolu stated that the terms of reference (ToR) of the Committee include: Review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the NCC and the FIRS on June 9, 2020; and carrying out inter-agency interaction on the implementation of the NCC’s Revenue Assurance System (RAS), to ensure that it incorporates the needs of FIRS to the extent that RAS can remain the sole interface with telecom service providers’ networks vis-à-vis the Tax Authority’s information needs from the telecoms sector.

Given the Committee’s composition and the extensive experience and commitment of its members – which had informed their selection by the agencies – Adewolu stated that the management of NCC and the FIRS expected no less than an excellent output from the Committee, tasking them to work together harmoniously and in the overall national interest.

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In his comments, Dr. Dick Irri, who led the FIRS delegation to the inauguration, advised the Committee to take the assignments very seriously.

“I would like to task you to take this assignment as a national matter as we expect the two agencies to work in harmony, collaborate effectively and have a warm handshake that will make this synergy between the two agencies a great example of collaboration between Federal Government agencies towards enhancing fiscal governance in Nigeria,” he said.

The decision to set up the Committee was one of the major outcomes of the meeting between the FIRS and the NCC on March 8, 2022, organised at the instance of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, to discuss the request by the FIRS for data and documents from the telecoms industry for enhancing national revenues from the sector.

The inauguration is a significant achievement, as it deepens the strategic collaboration between the two government agencies in the pursuit of their statutory objectives.

It also vindicates the emphasis placed on achieving mutually-sustainable relationships with relevant stakeholders as detailed in both the NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP), 2020-2024 and the Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVP 2020-2025) as well as FIRS’ strategic framework.

The activities of the NCC and the FIRS are acknowledged as pivotal to the achievement of sustainable revenue and growth projections of the Federal Government. In this regard, the telecoms sector has sustained a relatively high contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the years – ending the fourth quarter of 2021 at 12.6 per cent.

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Besides, the FIRS recently acknowledged that some telecom licensees contribute a significantly high percentage of total national tax revenue.

It is expected that the Joint Committee will enable both organisations to further optimise revenues for the Federal Government from the telecoms, digital economy and adjacent sectors of the economy.

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BROADBAND

Smile Nigeria Excites Customers With More Data, Same Price Plans

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The internet broadband market in the country is once again set to explode as the leading Broadband Service Provider, Smile Nigeria has revamped some of its data plans, thereby giving its numerous customers more value for their money.

Abdul Hafeez, Chief Marketing Officer, Smile Nigeria, noted that the revamped data plans are amazing as they benefit both the low-end users and heavy users.

Included in the data plans are most of the Bigga plans and the Unlimted plans, with the apparent icing on the cake being the introduction of a new Jumbo plan.

Hafeez enthused that Smile will stop at nothing in always availing its customers of the best data plans in the market.

He explained that the quartet in the Bigga plans series have been padded with more data while their prices remain the same with the same 30 days validity.

These are the 8GB Bigga now 10GB Bigga, 12GB Bigga now 15GB Bigga, 15GB Bigga now 20GB Bigga and 20GB Bigga now 25GB Bigga.

For the old 8GB Bigga at N3,000, the customer will get 10GB Bigga thus getting an additional 2GB of data.

The former 12GB Bigga is now 15GB Bigga, a 3GB more data at the same N4,000.

The then 15GB Bigga now comes with an additional 5GB to peak at 20GB Bigga for the same old price of N5,000.

Any new purchase of the old 20GB Bigga will ensure for the buyer an additional 5GB of data, being 25GB Bigga at the same old price of N6,000.

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Hafeez further disclosed that the Unlimited plans have had their FUPs significantly increased with a very small increase to the cost while still retaining the 30 days validity period.

The plans affected under this category are the UnlimitedLite and the UnlimitedEssential.

For the UnlimitedLite plan, the customer will now enjoy 40GB of data at N12,000 as against the previous 35GB data at N10,000. This means that at an additional cost of N2,000, a corresponding 5GB data is at the customers’ disposal.

The new UnlimitedEssential plan now goes for N18,000 with a 100GB data bundle as against the 70GB. This offers the customer an additional 30GB of data at an additional cost of just N3,000.

To cap it all, a new plan has been introduced in the Jumbo family. The latest addition is the 400GB Jumbo which is very cost-effective at only N50,000 and valid for 6 months.

Market watchers believe that this newest Jumbo family plan comes with a lot of value for the customer.

An innovative company, Smile, launched the first 4G LTE network in West Africa in Nigeria in 2014 revolutionising the way Nigerians access the internet.

The company 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.

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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