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Thursday 2nd December, 2021

Telecoms

Regulator, Licensee Engagement Critical To Industry Growth, Development – Danbatta

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Prof. Umar Danbatta, EVC/CEO, NCC

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has said that the “Talk to the Regulator” Forum organised by the Commission is critical to industry growth and development.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Lagos edition of the “Talk To The Regulator” Forum on Thursday in Lagos, Danbatta said interactions like this sits squarely within the five pillars of the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (2020-2024).

Recall that the NCC’s five pillars of Strategic Management Plan (2020-2024) include Regulatory Excellence, Promotion of Universal Broadband Access, the Development of the Digital Economy, Facilitation of Market Development, and Strategic Partnering.

Danbatta, who was represented at the forum by the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu stated that the forum provides the Commission with a unique opportunity to engage telecom licensees in a collaborative atmosphere which, in turn, enables a joint examination of issues that are negatively affecting licence compliance and industry growth.

“Through regular interactions with our licensees, the Commission is able to gain valuable insights to enhance our regulatory output and drive excellence in consonance with the five pillars of our strategic vision for the industry as encapsulated in the Commission’s Strategic Vision Plan (SVP, 2021-2025),” the EVC said.

He noted that eventhough analysts agree that the industry has continued to show improvements in key indices such as contribution to GDP (which grew to 14.42% in Q2 2021), active internet subscriptions (which reached over 140million at the end of September, 2021), teledensity (which reached 99.98% at the end of September,
2021), and Broadband penetration (which reached 40.01% of the population at the end of September, 201), the Commission is not resting on these achievements.

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“We are very much aware that not all our licensees are doing as well as they ought to be doing. Several licensees are struggling to pay their staff, many are unable to comply with basic licence obligations, several are defaulting in the payment of their Annual Operating Levies (AOL), and the level of interconnect and other inter-licensee indebtedness is still unacceptably high.

“The Commission will continue to roll-out forward-looking and all-inclusive regulatory initiatives to provide market opportunities for all its licensees. We have also committed to the constant review of our licensing framework as well as key regulatory instruments so as to refresh our regulatory frameworks and ensure better service delivery for consumers and efficient attainment of other national interest objectives,” he said.

Danbatta stated further that the industry can only achieve the national interest objectives set out in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) and other policy instruments if most of the licensees are operating at optimal strength.

“We are, therefore, keenly aware of the need to listen to our licensees and address any concerns that may impede the attainment of the relevant policy objectives,” he said.

The EVC assured that the NCC Board and Management are fully committed to take comments on Board and to make necessary adjustments where possible.

“Indeed, the Commission’s leadership restated this commitmen during our recent Board and Management Retreat, and we consider this forum a good place to demonstrate that commitment,” Danbatta said

Themed: ‘Improving Stakeholder Satisfaction’, the two-day forum had in attendance on the opening day, stakeholders in the telecommunications industry including telecoms and Internet service providers across Lagos and members of the public.

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Telecoms

NCC’s “SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU,” Campaign Debuts In Benin

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The Nigerian Communications Commission has once again expressed its commitment to reach all categories of telecom consumers, with the launch in Benin, of a consumer-centric outreach programme tagged, “Shine your eyes, no fall mugu,” which literally translates to, “Be alert, Don’t be a victim of fraudsters.”

The programme, an initiative of the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), is specially conceived and implemented using Nigerian pidgin, and it’s intended for a segment of the telecom consumer population who are more comfortable with localised communication that resonates with their reality.

The two-day programme, implemented in three phases, started with a roadshow that featured local artistes and comedians who displayed musical and other performances to amuse and entertain people to create awareness and sensitise telecom consumers about how cybercriminals may use telecom platforms to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

The last day of the two-day event featured a 20-minute radio talk in Nigerian pidgin, to further create awareness and like the roadshow, to invite telecom consumers to an enlightenment forum where presentations will be made about tricks deployed by cybercriminals to defraud people online.

The presentations also captured measures to be taken by consumers and members of the public in order not to fall victim to fraudsters who may use telecom platforms to perpetrate fraudulent acts.

Additionally, at today’s enlightenment forum, drama, audio narratives and other attractions thematised on the centrality of vigilance, alertness and caution in cyberspace by all users, will be featured.

The programme was facilitated by a local partner who supports NCC, by mobilising critical segments of the public through opinion leaders and social groups to participate in the events, in order for them to be armed with the right information they may require to explore the Internet safely.

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This programme, coming on the heels of NCC’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (which occurred in October), and the annual National Cybersecurity Conference, which took place on 3rd November 2021, is meant to reinforce the messages of cyber awareness, cyber vigilance, and cyber smartness to telecom consumers whenever they are online.

The roadshow commenced at Ekehuan Road, and the procession drove through Airport Road, to State Secretariat, Sapele Road and through the roundabout to Ring Road, to Akpakpava, Dawson Road and back to Ugbowo and Uselu Market.

The motorcade, the music, the displays by artistes and the underlying narration of the message of the outreach in Nigerian pidgin caught the attention of residents and passers-by who patiently listened to the messages.

Information, Communication and Education (IEC) materials were also shared with the public at every neighbourhood the procession stopped to display and educate the public.

 

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Telecoms

NCC Extends Deadline For Submission Of 3.5GHz Bid To Next Monday

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has extended the deadline for the submission of Bids and Initial Bid Deposit for the 3.5GHz spectrum auction to 5.00 pm on Monday, 29th November, 2021.

Recall that the Commission had earlier scheduled the submission of responses in respect of the 3.5GHz Spectrum Band auction to close on Wednesday, November 24,2021.

The NCC, however, said on Wednesday in.a statement signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde that “due to the challenges posed to air travels as witnessed recently and considering that it may have some impact on intending bidders regarding the submission of their bids, the Commission hereby extends the deadline for submission of bids and Initial Bid Deposits (IBDs) to 5.00 pm on Monday, 29th November, 2021.”

The statemebt however, quoted Adinde as saying that all other events as scheduled in the Information Memorandum remain unchanged.

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Telecoms

Danbatta Reveals How NCC Has Committed Over N200m To Research & Development

…As Students Win Over N1m at NCC’s 2021 National Essay Competition

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Prof, Umar Danbatta, NCC Executive Vice Chairman

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it has committed over N200 million into the promotion of research and development (R&D) in order to drive innovation in the country’s telecommunications sector.

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta stated this during the prize presentation ceremony of the 2021 NCC National Essay Competition held on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at the Conference Room of the Commission’s Head Office in Abuja.

At the event which marked the 3rd edition of the annual competition organised by the NCC, the EVC said the Commission has invested modestly in research grants, instituted professorial chairs in universities across the country, supported tech startups, and sponsored national essay competitions and many more social investments in order to ensure synergy and linkages among industry, the academia and the youth.

DigitalTimesNG understands that over 2,000 entries were received from 97 public and private tertiary institutions for the competition in which Esther Oluwabukola Gbeja, a 600-Level student of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Ilorin, was declared the overall winner.

Gbeja received a cash prize of N500,000.00, a laptop, and a printer; while the first runner-up, Moses Nosa Edosa, a final year student of Accounting at the University of Port Harcourt, received a cash prize of N300,000.00 only.

Two second runners-up emerged from the competition to pick the third prize.

MarcPatrick Efevuriri Efeni, a 200-Level student of Cybersecurity at the Airforce Institute of Technology, Kaduna; and Nasiru Abdul Karim, a 400-Level student of Computer Engineering at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, both came third having scored the same number of points. They both received cash prizes of N200,000 each.

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The EVC said NCC gladly accommodated the additional prize due to the tie in the third place, as a mark of encouragement.

Danbatta said the topic for this year’s essay competition, “5G Technology: Opportunities & challenges”, was carefully chosen to ensure that the youths have a good understanding of the new technology.

He said Nigeria’s vibrant youth populace stands to benefit massively from the deployment of 5G technology, which the Commission is set to launch in 2022.

Danbatta said the Commission initiated and has maintained the annual essay competition to stimulate the interest of Nigerians especially the young people, to contribute to efforts in driving innovation in the technological ecosystem of Nigeria.

“It is on this premise that NCC took the step to encourage Nigerian students to remain pro-active and partake in the national competition that challenges students to be competitive and engage their best efforts,” he said.

While emphasising the critical importance of communications as the foundation for the technological development of society and its role in the provision of vital infrastructure for national security, the EVC highlighted the need to invest in research programmes as observed in advanced nations, where a lot of resources are channelled into R&D.

Prof. Danbatta seized the opportunity provided by the event to reiterate the assurances of the Commission to Nigerians that 5G technology will expand the mobile ecosystem into a new realm and the impact will be felt in various sectors of the economy.

Edoyemi Ogoh, Chairman of the 3rd NCC National Essay Competition Committee, who is also a Deputy Director in the Commission’s Technical Standards and Network Integrity Department, commended the EVC’s effort in recognising academia as a key stakeholder in the development of the communications sector, and in encouraging that critical sector to have a natural connection with the industry.

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Ogoh further said that the Commission “knows the importance of innovative thinking in the growing ICT industry in Nigeria and as such, this has made the Commission to engage youths in various tertiary institutions across the nation to compete in essay writing on 5G technology.”

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs at the NCC, said the essay competition is one of the most important initiatives of the Commission and expressed his delight at the ability of the winners who have demonstrated vast knowledge on the subject matter during their presentation.

Adinde also emphasised the influence of the competition in the stimulation of the minds of the target audience and the creation of positive awareness to debunk misconceptions about the 5G technologies.

He said the outcome of the competition is an encouragement to the NCC Management to continue to support the national essay competition while ensuring that the Commission sustains such a programme.

Adinde stated that the results are evident today as the NCC has, through the essay contest, produced four ambassadors of 5G.

“These youths can go out and engage their peers about 5G, its benefits, opportunities and address the negative preconceptions about the 5G network,” Adinde said.

DigitalTimesNG recalls that the essay competition was initiated by the NCC to deepen awareness and knowledge of telecommunications stakeholders in the country, especially the young people.

Interestingly, every successive year, the competition is marked by massive responses in the number of essays submitted by students.

Though the Commission has been able to organise three of such national essay competitions, the resultant social and emotional equity has had impressive and quantifiable values on the Commission as a leading Nigerian public sector brand.

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