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Wednesday 7th December, 2022

Telecoms

Pursuit Of Better Quality Of Life Drives 5G Auction Efforts By NCC – Danbatta

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L – R: Gbolahan Thomas, Senior Manager, Regulatory Services, Airtel; Josephine Amuwa, Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NCC; Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC; Ikenna Ikeme, General Manager, Regulatory Services, MTN Communications Plc, at the Stakeholders' Forum on the Draft Information Memorandum on 3.5 Spectrum Auction hosted by the Commission in Lagos on Tuesday (15th November 2022).

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, said in Lagos on Tuesday, that the efforts by the Commission to timely auction available spectrum for 5G services in Nigeria, is primarily driven by the pursuit to join the global community to advance digital services and enhance quality communications infrastructure for the benefit of the citizenry, contrary to insinuations in some quarters that it was meant to attract revenue for the government.

Danbatta, who spoke to a cross-section of industry players at the Marriott Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, during the Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum on the Draft Information Memorandum for the 3.5GHz Spectrum Auction hosted by the Commission, said there is a need for stakeholders to understand the genuine vision of the Commission to equip the nation with the latest technologies and services which is the focus of the efforts to deploy 5G services nationwide.

“I want to disabuse the mind of those who feel that the objective of the NCC to auction the first and the second rounds of the 5G spectrum bands is to generate money for the Federal Government; this is not correct.

“The overriding consideration is not to generate money for the Federal Government but principally to ensure deployment of 5G services that enhance better life for Nigerians and the growth of the nation’s economy as a whole through provision of qualitative high-speed Internet services that increase productivity and efficiency across sectors.

“For those who are conversant with developments in the industry, the proactive regulatory approach of the Commission in transiting Nigeria from 1G, to 2G, 3G, 4G and now to 5G has brought remarkable socio-economic developments, transforming lives and businesses.

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“This clarification is very important at this stage to put to rest the insinuations and misconceptions being bandied in certain quarters. Our intent is purely to digitally transform Nigeria and Nigerians towards becoming a leading digital economy not only in Africa but globally and where telecoms continue to be a major enabler and contributor to the nation’s economic growth,” the EVC said.

Danbatta also explained the rationale behind the need to conduct an auction on the second round of the 5G spectrum sale, stating that following the successful auction of the initial two lots of the 5G spectrum in December 2021, the Commission had received requests to administratively license the remaining lots at the exact fee the initial two lots were auctioned.

However, the Commission, in the exercise of its powers under the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, has decided to license the available lots in the 3.5GHz band through the Auction Method which is a transparent and efficient approach that can open opportunities for new entrants as well as deepen competition in the industry.

“The Commission has committed enormous resources to ensure that harmonized Spectrum is secured and released in a timely manner for present and future rollout of services that will unleash the potentials of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), including International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT-2020) services.

“We have kept ourselves abreast of developments at international fora, including ITU-R Study Groups to enable the allocation of strategic Spectrum to IMT services especially the IMT-2020 which has been on the front burner in the last two ITU-R Study Cycles,” the EVC explained.

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“Hence, it is important that we ensure the timely release of the Spectrum bands necessary for 5G deployment to the industry to enable us to reap the immediate and envisioned benefits of 5G technology and facilitate the development of Nigeria’s Digital Economy to foster national growth,” he said.

Representatives of telecom companies, media and other stakeholders made additional inputs into the Draft IM in addition to the comments and inputs already received via correspondence before the forum commenced.

The NCC’s Executive Commissioner Technical Services, Engr. Ubale Maska, who is also the Auction Adviser, also reminded stakeholders at the forum that the Commission will still take comments up to the close of business on 17th November 2022 just before the final IM that will guide the auction process is published on 18th November 2022.

Digital TimesNG recalls that the Commission had developed a draft Information Memorandum (IM) for the Auction of the 3.5GHz band which has been published on its website on 21st October 2022, to enable stakeholders to review and make inputs and comments.

The Tuesday, November 15, 2022, forum in Lagos, was to deliberate on the draft document and take contributions from stakeholders to enrich the quality of the document for the auction process and towards the efficient management and utilization of this important spectrum resource in line with global best practices.

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MTN Named Most Compliant Listed Company On The NGX

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L-R: Modupe Kadri, Chief Financial Officer, MTN Nigeria; Ishmael Nwokocha, General Manager, Corporate Treasury, MTN Nigeria; Funmi Willoughby, Deputy Company Secretary, MTN Nigeria; Chief Financial Officer, MTN Nigeria and Adia Sowho, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria at the Nigerian Exchange Made of Africa Awards held on 6th December 2022 where MTN was awarded the most compliant listed company.

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has been named the Most Compliant Listed Company at the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) Made of Africa Awards, held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos on 6 December 2022.

The award recognises the listed company with the highest levels of compliance with the Rules of The Exchange and other applicable laws and regulations.

Accepting the award, Chief Financial Officer, MTN Nigeria, Modupe Kadri said: “Since MTN Nigeria’s listing on the NGX in 2019, we have been very deliberate in the way we have approached our compliance with the rules and regulations of The Exchange, which are designed to ensure that the market operates credibly and transparently; two principles we believe are essential to the functioning of a world-class exchange.

“We hope that by continuing to demonstrate the highest levels of compliance, we can help bolster the reputation of The Exchange.”

Commenting on the award, MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola said: “I am extremely pleased with this significant achievement, which recognises the hard work our team has done over the last few years. Compliance is at the heart of our business and embedded in the strategic priorities that underpin our Ambition 2025 strategy. Achieving this accolade early in that journey indicates that we are on the right track.”

The award for legal and regulatory compliance from the NGX further demonstrates MTN Nigeria’s track record of compliance and contribution to Nigeria’s tax revenue, which have both been recognised and acknowledged recently.

In March 2022, MTN Nigeria was recognised as one of the most tax-compliant organisations and a top 20 taxpayer in Nigeria by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

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In November 2022, the FIRS appointed MTN Nigeria to withhold or collect value-added tax (VAT) on its behalf, demonstrating its faith in the Company.

 

 

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NCC-CSIRT Warns Of Potential Harm In TikTok Challenge Participation

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The Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) has warned about the potential harm of taking part in the Invisible Challenge on short-form video hosting service, TikTok, revealing that it exposes devices to Information-Stealing Malware.

A recent NCC-CSIRT advisory said threat actors have taken advantage of a viral TikTok challenge, known as the Invisible Challenge, to disseminate an information-stealing malware known as the WASP (or W4SP) stealer.

The WASP stealer, which is high in probability with critical damage potential, is a persistent malware hosted on discord that its developer claim is undetectable.

The advisory said “The Invisible Challenge involves wrapping a somewhat transparent body contouring filter around a presumed naked individual. Attackers are uploading videos to TikTok with a link to software that they claim can reverse the filter’s effects.

“Those who click on the link and attempt to download the software, known as “unfilter,” are infected with the WASP stealer. Suspended accounts had amassed over a million views after initially posting the videos with a link. Following the link leads to the “Space Unfilter” Discord server, which had 32,000 members at its peak but has since been removed by its creators.

“Successful installation will allow the malware to harvest keystrokes, screenshots, network activity, and other information from devices where it is installed. It may also covertly monitor user behaviour and harvest Personally Identifiable Information (PII), including names and passwords, keystrokes from emails, chat programs, websites visited, and financial activity.

“This malware may be capable of covertly collecting screenshots, video recordings, or the ability to activate any connected camera or microphone,” it explained.

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The Team said some ways to forestall such an attack include avoiding clicking on suspicious links, using anti-malware software on your devices, checking the app tray and removing any apps that you do not remember installing or that are dormant and embracing healthy password hygiene practices such as using a password manager.

The CSIRT is the telecom sector’s cyber security incidence centre set up by the NCC to focus on incidents in the telecom sector and as they may affect telecom consumers and citizens at large.

The CSIRT also works collaboratively with Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), established by the Federal Government to reduce the volume of future computer risk incidents by preparing, protecting, and securing Nigerian cyberspace to forestall attacks, and problems or related events.

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NCC Pledges Support To Blood Management Agency

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L-R: Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, Head, Media Relations, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Tunji Jimoh, Head, Administration, NCC; Hafsat Lawal, Head, Human Capital; Usman Malah, Director, Human Capital and Administration; Dr. Omale Amedu, Ag. Director General, National Blood Service Commission (NBSC); Dr. Adaeze Oreh, Head, Planning Research and Statistics, NBSC and Dr. Ayoola Abiodun, Deputy Director, Hospital Linkage Programme, NBSC during a courtesy visit by the blood commission to NCC in Abuja recently.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it is willing and ready to offer any support required by the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) to enable the latter to achieve its mandate of regulating, coordinating, and ensuring “the provision of safe, quality blood and blood products” to all persons who may need such in Nigeria.

NCC’s Director, Human Capital and Administration (DHCA), Usman Malah, who led the NCC team to receive the NBSC delegation on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made the commitment recently when the Director General of the NBSC, Dr. Omale Amedu, led a delegation to the NCC on a courtesy visit.

Amedu said the visit was to share information with NCC about the mandate of NBSC, established under the National Blood Service Commission Act of 2021, to reduce the prevalence of diseases transmitted through blood, enhance public awareness of blood safety and voluntary non-remunerated blood donation, and rally a committed team of voluntary blood donors, and thereby build a national strategic safe blood reserve.

The Chief Executive of NBSC also said that while 14 June had long been designated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as Blood Donor Day, Nigeria has additionally declared December 8 to show commitment to building sufficient blood reserve, considering the significance of blood to human survival and the centrality of blood and blood products among resources used in the production of cancer management drugs.

The NBSC CEO emphasised that NBSC considered NCC as a leading MDA in Nigeria, hence the decision to visit NCC as part of NBSC’s sensitization of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other stakeholders to the need for regular blood donation.

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Dr. Amedu commended NCC for its strides in ensuring improved connectivity and remarkable contribution to the digital economy agenda of government as well as to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Responding further, the DHCA thanked Amedu and his team for the visit, the kind words on the strides of the NCC, and NBSC’s collaborative spirit which he noted aligned substantially with a strategic objective focus of NCC that speaks to partnership and collaboration with stakeholders.

Malah said the staff of the NCC are public-spirited, and many would be willing to donate blood voluntarily while also promising that recommendations would be made to Management on the need to institute a special in-house sensitization programme to further explore how to deepen support for the NBSC to enable it to achieve its mandate.

On the request hitherto made by NBSC to NCC to explore the use of telecom platforms to disseminate information about activities of NBSC, the DHCA said there are rules governing the telecom sector and the Commission would not want to breach such extant rules, policies, and directions.

Malah recommended that NBSC reach out to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to agree on how the networks can be used to support the accomplishment of its mandate, which he described as laudable and central to human existence and sustenance.

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