Editions 326 - 330



 Cyberschuulnews 330 

SIM Card registration takes off 2010 

Nigeria’s phone regulator, NCC, has prescribed that carriers of telephone SIM cards and indeed all phone users must be properly identified and registered with their network operators by January 2010. The National Assembly has also indicated desire to back the prescription up with legislation.  

This emerged during the week when the House of Representatives Committee on communications held session with a cross-section of industry players. NCC’s boss, Ernest Ndukwe listed the lack of identity management system as a major huddle in the public phone management process but that arrangements have been reached with the National Identity Management Commission to leverage and support the process of registration that would make it possible for the registration of SIM cards to be implemented even in the rural areas.


Rollout frustration hits Glo in Ghana 

GloMobile in Ghana says the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, is slowing down it’s roll out of services by withholding permit for more than 500 applications which it filed to be allowed to erect telecommunication masts.


More phones, less pay, more video on line 

The European Commission said in a report during the week that phones are now more than people in Europe. Infact the ratio is 1.19 phones to every person. That access to broadband is costing less and that the telecommunications sector is growing faster than other sectors of the economy. Not surprising you would say!! 

But wait a minute. 

Average cell phone bills have fallen by more than a third during the past five years and monthly charges for broadband access declined by at least a fifth from 2007 to 2008. That doesn’t also trip you? 

What about the fact that this has been brought about by a deliberate attempt at increasing competition and that increasing use of cell phones and the Internet would help shield telecommunications companies from recession. That is to say "In times of economic crisis, consumers, in Europe, think twice or three times before they buy a new car but they continue to utilize communication and they even increase their utilization.” True, false? The reports prove the statement true.


23% of European population has broadband, 2megabits for sure, internet subscriptions via fixed telephone lines meaning those that can do video streaming are that many..


Yahoo goes for more ubiquity  

Yahoo Incorporation has indicated desire to partner with more than 70 telecom operators all over the world to launch yahoo mobile. It is however not using the giant brands as vendors in reaching out but  going through a combination of yahoo website, telecom carriers, phone terminal makers, free application downloads and by words of mouth. It is believed that there are more than 4 billion phone terminals world wide and yahoo believes it can reach them. 

In recent time, yahoo users have tended to start mounting again after a seeming detour of registrants to gmail and some think there must have been a working strategy to this. In emerging markets in particular, local experiences in bear this out.

Confirmed Leke Laja who edits  it, 70% of Cyberschuulnews subscriptions have always been yahoo users and  recent figures suggest that the number is rising to 76 just as virtually everybody who subscribes now ‘is a yahoo’  997 of the 1024 who came in March till now are of the domain. 'Infact if for whatever reason we have trouble reaching our yahoo folks then we aren’t reaching some 46,000 of our crowd'.


NCC opens frequency bands for new technologies 

The Nigerian Communications Commission announced recently that it has opened up the band 5.2 – 5.9 GHz for services in the urban and rural areas of the country and has developed guidelines for deployment of Wireless Access System in the band.  

“Wireless Access Systems (WAS) are defined by ITU as end-user radio connections to public or private core networks”. “Technologies in use today for implementing wireless access is also noted by ITU to include cellular, cordless telecommunication, and wireless local area network systems”. 

Powerful implementation of various wireless access technologies like Wi-Fi and Wimax sprang up in 2005 alone. These technologies are able to operate not only on the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) bands of 2.4 and 5.8 GHz bands but other bands like 2.0, 3.5, 5.0, 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 GHz etc. Each of these promises access to broadband internet services at cheap and affordable rates.  

This band can be deployed to provide WiMAX, Wi-Fi, Campus Local Area Network, public access, mass market and other related services. 

Consequent upon the above, the NCC has issued regulatory guidelines to facilitate access to spectrum in the 5.2 – 5.9 GHz band for the implementation of these new and innovative wireless services in urban and rural areas of the country


THE CYBERSCHUUL announces 2nd Quarter Training programs 

Telecom training institute THE CYBERSCHUUL has posted new timetable for its programs which shall run in June/July editions of its standard courses. It recently concluded the first edition of Crossover Telecommunications Training  at the end of which the ten participants gave an overall rating of above 90%. It expresses regret that it could not accommodate private candidates for its First Quarter sessions of Basic and Advanced Telecommunications Training programs as the two slots were block-booked by client firms for purpose built training of their staff. 

Highlight of the recurring content of all the programs is the recent addition of materials on emerging technologies such as WiMax and LTE's and a focus on industry management issues of co-location, number portability and convergence. 


Cyberschuulnews 329 

18 Universities get Campus Radio Licenses 

Coming after University of Lagos, which pioneered campus radio broadcasting, 18 other universities may soon beam amateur radio signals within their campuses and environ as they were recently given licenses to undertake non-commercial campus community broadcasting by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC. The campuses are located in Abuja, Akure, Enugu, Ibadan, Ikot Osurua, Ilisan-Remo, Ilorin, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Minna, Ogoja, Okada, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, and Uyo.  

The license requires that apart from paying a token One million Naira and pledging not to install a transmitter whose capacity is in excess of 50 watts, 60% of the program content must be local while 80% of the music content must also be African.  

Community radio advocates see the development as a major plus for Nigeria’s emerging democracy and a boost to education and grass root mobilization.  

NCC appoints Detecon, PWHC for interconnect study
....collaborates with Telecom Answers Associates  on
Co-location and infrastructure sharing review

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, said during the week that with the growth of the nation’s subscriber base, and changes experienced in the operating environment, it has become necessary to review the interconnect rates so as to be in tune with current realities. It has therefore appointed Detecon International and PriceWaterHouseCoopers, as consultants and advisors to the Commission for the review of current interconnection rates among the Nigerian telecom service providers.  

The Commission has also gone into collaboration with Telecom Answers Associates to  undertake a high level industry  consultation and Stakeholders’ Forum on co-location and infrastructure sharing among service providers. 

MTN aims at 25% growth in Nigeria 

Report in various publications this weekend indicates that MTN, Nigeria’s largest operator by subscriber base, is aiming to strengthen it business via organic growth and also by acquisitions. Akinwale Goodluck, senior executive in charge of corporate services, in Lagos gave a hint that his company may still rake in 6 million lines, a quarter of its present strength even before the turn of 2009. 

 MTN is known to have been working at making an inroad into mobile banking. It has just signed a deal of close to $10m with Fundamo, a South Africa-based mobile banking and payment solutions group, to provide mobile banking facilities for un-banked customers.


There goes another lawsuit against MS 

Microsoft has, again, got another lawsuit filed against it, this time by BackWeb Technologies Ltd.   

Charges: the usual stereotypes; patent infringement. 

 Specifically BackWeb says Microsoft's Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), Windows Update and other products infringe four patents owned by it covering methods for transmitting information between a remote network and a local computer and distributed client-based data caching systems. The March 20 court papers posted on the web by Backweb catalogues various patents which in its opinion Microsoft has infringed on.  

Microsoft is familiar with and probably has a ready answer to deals of this nature. 


Cyberschuulnews 328 

The world celebrates as WWW is 20 years old.  

There are three interesting things about the world wide web, (www). 

One is that it is not the internet. Two; its founder, Sir Tim Berners-Lee is still very much around leading its further development. And three; that it is twenty years old this March.  

Some guys present the as what the internet is all about. They are wrong of course. WWW is the sharing of information through a global database of linked pages. The Internet on the other hand describes the global network of connected computers in a manner that makes it an open platform. What is common about them is the radical change they have both made on our lives; one on research and development, the other on business, pleasure, religion and sports. 


Top predictions for a future of the WEB  

As the world celebrates 2 decades of the web, some notable predictions have been made by industry analysts. Bronwen Kausch, a vice-chairperson at Isoc-Za says: “Regulatory harmonisation is something that is becoming increasingly important as more and more business- and mission-critical operations are delivered over the Web. Cohesive and collective policy-making is also essential when looking at social upliftment across borders and trading zones.”  

On the other side, Richard Hurst who is programme manager for communications at IDC says “The next crucial stage of WWW development will be the harnessing of the mobile platforms, which users will increasingly seek out. In essence, mobile will be a key facet of Internet development in the near future.”  


Industry feelers favour grand regional market
High level talks planned for Lagos, Abuja and Accra

An indication has been given that in the next 24 months, talks at very high levels  would have been coordinated by a joint effort of all the principal players to discuss the prospects of recent and emerging industry subjects such as Wimax, Co-location and sharing of infrastructure, Number Portability, Convergence of technologies and quality of service.  

Telecom Answers Associates, a Nigerian consultancy which executed the largest chunk of industry studies for the local market since deregulation in 1993 has indicated that its next pursuit will be to synergize with industry regulators, major industry players and other consultancies to engage emerging technologies in a manner that investment can be protected and the market can be widened.  

According to recent results of consultation with players, it is desirable that local markets in West Africa should be motivated to start planning their business and commercial strategies to make the sub region one total market. The challenges of divergent economies, politics, and language can be conquered and even exploited if discussions continue at the highest levels of government and business. And considering that an initiative such as the existence of WATRA is an indication that the problem is half solved.  

The revelation was made when what seemed to be an industry review was made recently at the opening of telecommunications training by the firm’s boss in Lagos.  

Titi Omo-Ettu, Managing Consultant of the firm said a good case study is that with much of the mobile world yet to migrate to 3G mobile communications, European researchers are already working on a new technology able to deliver data wirelessly up to 12.5Gb/s. 'The point really is that the technology, called microwave photonics, has commercial applications not just in telecommunications but also in instrumentation, radar, security, radio astronomy and other fields. ‘That is convergence in its true meaning and that if appreciated early enough by market builders may mean that an advantage has been taken of the subject of convergence in technology, not just as we say it in class but as we exploit it in the market place'. 

 Cyberschuulnews 327


Commonwealth Telecoms Organisation, CTO, prescribes e-Governance criteria

As the deadline for achieving all eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) draws near, many governments are scaling up efforts to improve the delivery of services that will have a significant impact on the lives of citizens. Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) can play a huge role in public service delivery. In light of this fact, the need to unleash their potential through effective e-governance has become critical. That being said, evidence suggests successful e-governance projects, which result in effective and efficient service delivery, are few and far between. The use of inappropriate ICTs, unsustainable business models and a lack of local content that most users can identify with are just some of the reason why. 

The CTO is intent on improving the record of e-governance in developing countries. Its latest report presents the findings of research undertaken in Ghana, India and South Africa on the demand and supply factors impacting on the delivery of public services through local e-content. In keeping with a project which examined issues such as local content creation and public service delivery, the findings draw on primary evidence collected during consultations with stakeholders in each of the research countries. In addition to more than 80 in-depth interviews with policy makers, regulators, officials of ICT operating companies and civil society organisations, the research team conducted more than 930 in-depth questionnaires with urban and rural users of telecommunications. 

The report provides evidence on which technology may be most effective for stimulating the demand and supply of public services through local e-content, which roles key stakeholders must play in the process, as well as the priorities and attitudes of end-users in respect to their information needs and e-content services delivered though the mobile phone and internet. It is hoped that these important findings will help stakeholders move towards more effective e-governance. 

Key findings: 

Mobile phones have the potential to be the most effective technology in a broad range of contexts due to their:

    -  growing subscriber base

    -  interactivity which enables user to demand services

    -  increasing ability to give people an Internet experience

    -  proven track record in delivering value added services (VAS)

    -  increasing convergence which has seen mobile phones incorporate ICTs such as the radio 

Currently, few users are using the mobile phone or the Internet to access the services and information they believe are most important. Therefore, the provision of public services through mobile channels remains an untapped opportunity for policymakers, the private sector and civil society.  

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are essential for stimulating the supply of public services through local e-content because it is government that currently possesses the content and the private sector that owns the expertise and infrastructure to develop and disseminate the content as a service. Where necessary, more must be done to improve the relationship between these two important stakeholders.  

The most important types of information for users are related to news, education, health and training. Similarly, when it comes to e-content services delivered through the mobile phone and internet, users identified those related to education, health and income generation as the most important to them. These priority types of information and e-content services provide direction for those intent on creating and delivering public services through ICTs. 

This repot is taken from CTO's website


Cyberschuulnews 326 

Nigerian Telecom industry dares global recession 

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC mid last week invited top players in the Nigerian telecom industry to discuss the impact of global economic recession on the Nigerian telecom industry and rose with a consensus that the recession might not constitute serious worry for the telecommunication sector. The meeting also reviewed the policy and regulatory environment on how to sustain and consolidate on the growth that has been witnessed in the industry in recent years.  

Global economic recession quite apart, there had been a lull in the telecom industry for some time occasioned largely by a meltdown in vibrancy of overall economic activities since mid-2007. Serial interjections by the federal legislature on day to day issues just as major operators have been battling to reverse their overplay of product marketing to the detriment of quality of service. Operators and NCC however both concluded during  a joint session with the Senate on previous Monday that there had been significant improvement in quality of service in 2008. Same was attested to by the Senate Committee Chairman on Communications, Senator Sylvester Anyanwu, who commended all players for a noticeable improvement. Senator Anyanwu admonished the operators to strive for the best for Nigerian consumers whose understanding in the face of frustrating services had also been commendable. 

Nigerians are expecting legislative review of the operating Act of parliament in a manner that regulatory interventions can move faster than the Act currently allows. It is strange what scripts legislators act out as they often make pronouncements which show them not to have studied the law that is their major instrument of industry oversight. They accuse the regulator of being slow, too friendly with operators, too compromising in evoking sanctions, and other sundry populist but largely uninformed complaints when in fact those really are the wordings and spirit of the current law. Two years into the life of the current legislature, it is becoming overdue that the law which is known to be good but sluggish in keeping pace with the march of information technology be refined to support an acclaimed regulator which has kept very professionally to the terms of the law. 


Obama takes on Broadband frontally with $7.2 billion  

USA President Barrack Obama is reported to have signed an economic-stimulus package which includes $7.2 billion aimed at facilitating telecom related projects, specifically broadband development. $4.7million goes to the Commerce Department and the remainder is meant to deliver broadband services to rural areas to boost agriculture.  

The emergence of 3G and 4G (WiMAX and LTE) technologies may be making access to rural  communities a little more viable and government’s financial support is extra stimulant for  several startups to sprout and  widen reach at lower costs.


Nigeria's Omatek Computers makes wave in Ghana 

World class Nigerian assembly line in computer manufacturing, Omatek Computers, has spread its coverage to Ghana and told Ghanaian authorities that it is ready to facilitate rapid acquisition of computers by Ghanaian businessmen,  workers, and students. Mrs. Florence Seriki, Chief Executive of Omatek appealed to Ghanaian Government through Vice -President John Mahama to consider establishing policies that would make computers more affordable to educational and government institutions. 

Mrs. Seriki was accompanied to Government House by Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro. 

The immediate past Governments in Nigeria and in Ghana had since endorsed Omatek Computers as one of government preferred brands. And Mr. John Mahama said the current government is pursuing the policies of the expired regime in the area of information technology. 


Beyond 3G:
Things may happen even too fast in the foreseeable future

titi omo-ettu 

Please let’s fasten our seat belts!!  

Technology is now unarguably paving the way to a truly wireless world, Notable efforts by ITU and Research entities to define the requirements and specifications for the cutting-edge systems known as IMT-Advanced, which will take the world beyond 3G is known to be going round industries across the world. Emerging markets also are known to be showing that there is business to do everywhere. How many of us saw the Nigerian scenario coming? These systems will enable a salad of different wireless access technologies to be used alongside and to complement each other, helping achieve a universal, streamlined connectivity and a common and flexible service platform for different services and applications. By the time we are done, content-rich, higher-mobility applications and an Internet that’s well and truly mobile is what we shall see thrown on our laps.  

Some guys now say we are ‘going green’, you’ll wonder what they mean. What is being promoted by cultivating mobile services is an environmentally responsible way of promoting energy-efficient devices and networks, as well as supporting the development of corresponding technical standards to limit and reduce the power requirements of ICT equipment and services.   

Ultimately, we shall all be motivated to find ways to use mobile technologies to help people live more environmentally friendly lives. Barrack Obama did not just put $6.9billion to ICT projects that ultimately is aimed at bringing agriculture to the centre stage for nothing!. Can you beat that? 

An abridged version of a keynote speech by titi omo-ettu, telecom engineer, in Lagos last week 

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