Broadband for Nigeria Forum for Abuja June 28
Word came out of the ICT Forum of Partnership
Institutions which has been championing the
production of a Framework for Nigeria’s broadband
initiative that it is now ready to put a draft
document out for stakeholders input and
According to Dr
Ibrahim Aminu, Convenor of the forum, the aim is to
produce a Framework Document that will guide the
provision of broadband internet access to all
Nigerians. This document will then be presented to
the Federal Government of Nigeria and key
stakeholder groups for inclusion in relevant
policies and to guide broadband implementation.
Towards that end, the project has received some
support from the Partnership for Higher Education in
Africa (PHEA) through the Association for
Progressive Communications (APC) of South Africa, to
initiate the process and convene a Stakeholders’
There has also been
support to the initiative from Association of
Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON),
Fantsuam Foundation, and Telecom Answers Associates.
Known as the
BB4NG Project, the stakeholders
invited to contribute to the work include consumer
advocacy groups, internet service
and infrastructure providers, regional
and national regulators, National Government
Institutions and Agencies, Regional Governmental
Institutions, multilateral institutions, donor
organizations, financial institutions, civil
society, telecom operators, submarine fibre consortia,
research and education institutions,
libraries and library associations, the armed forces,
and the general public.
NIGCOMSAT-1 Replacement at
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Communications
Satellite (NIGCOMSAT), Mr. Ahmed Rufai has said that
the replacement to NIGCOMSAT 1, which malfunctioned
in 2008 and had to be de-orbited, was presently at
60 percent completion, and would be ready for launch
Minister of Science and Technology
Professor Mohammed Abubakar, commended the fact that
the new ground station antennae was assembled
entirely by Nigerian technicians,
and expressed the wish that someday in the near
future, Nigeria will be able to launch its
satellites from its own territory. NIGCOMSAT is to
be re-launched in China, where it was assembled.
The Honorable Minister further announced during his visit to the NIGCOMSAT offices,
that Nigeria will be putting two earth observation
satellites in orbit later in the year, in October.
"The cumulative benefits of domesticating the
production of these research and development
products include increased job creation, faster
economic growth, enhanced export and GDP, while
conserving foreign exchange.”
Intel refutes scaling back
In response to a report fresh out of Taiwan, the
chipmaker Intel - a strong player at the forefront
of expanding global connectivity -has denied it is
scaling back its commitment to the WiMax wireless
standard by shutting the office it had set up to
promote the development of WiMAX-related
Intel says on the contrary it is working towards
further expansion and support of WiMAX through
technology advancements providing great coverage and
reliable connectivity while consuming minimal power.
It said people
who use the technology and its super-fast and wide
coverage are loving the new norm it creates in
socializing, entertaining and communicating on its
laptops and other devices
The company also refutes the report that it has shut
down its 4G WiMAX Program office and is backing off
the standard saying that
WiMax has evolved since the office was set up and
the re-organisation in the company is nothing
unusual. It says it has a handful of them
around the corporation and by definition, these
offices are temporary. The
claim they set up these offices to support WiFi, but
are dissolved once the technology had matured.
Intel spokesman Bill Kircos said in a blog post,
‘The mission of getting WiMax off the ground and in
the market is accomplished. The folks working in the
program office merely are being housed under our
existing Intel business groups.’
There are 500 WiMax networks in 147 countries as it
continues to expand and could cover as 800M
potential users by the end of the year. Nigeria’s
inaugural WiMAX forum 2010 hosted by Telecoms
Answers Associates took place in Lagos on June 15
Blackberry maker takes a slight hit on first quarter
Contrary to popular perception that almost everyone
owns a Blackberry, its makers Research in Motion
(RIM) announced lower than expected first quarter
results today. In its first quarter ending 29 May.
While the numbers may appear pretty impressive,
(earnings per share increased 41% on the same period
in 2009, to $1.38, and quarterly profit was up 19%
to $769m) the announcement precipitated a small hit
on its stock value down 1.8% in New York for missing
Wall Street's expectations slightly. Investors
attributed this at least in part to the timing of
the Blackberry Bold 9650 and Pearl 3G rollouts,
which happened a little later than RIM had initially
planned due to a slight delay in testing and
RIM's share of the worldwide smartphone market in
the first quarter fell to 19.4%, from 20.6% a year
earlier. Though its reported first-quarter sales
grew The slightly less-than-expected figure comes
sharper into focus when one does a comparative
analysis with Apple whose share in the first quarter
rose to 15.4% from 10.5%, according to Gartner. The
number of new subscribers was also at the bottom end
of RIM's estimate of between 4.9 million and 5.2
million, in contrast to rival Apple, which said it
took a record 600,000 orders for its iPhone 4 on the
RIM's Co-CEO Jim Balsillie, clearly happy about
their adoption in international markets, which now
constitutes some 40% of their growth, seemed very
optimistic about RIM's opportunities in the future.
He iterated that RIM has a lot of good things coming
(including some surprises) and they will work hard
to keep innovating and to execute.
Regulator, Operators get orders of Minister
At a gathering which included top executives of the
Nigerian Communications Commission, Nigerian Lottery
Regulatory Commission, representatives of telephone
operators and the media in Abuja on Thursday,
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and
Communications, Prof Dora Akunyili, read out what
can best be described as a list of demands to which
the industry must conform or else ….
Issues in contention include quality of service, SIM
Card Registration, telephone tariff, Number
portability, promotional lotteries, telephone masts,
consumer education and convergence.
The Minister charged that telephone operators were
flouting the orders of government on its direction
on each of the issues and warned them to desist. She
read out a four page text which left orders for the
NCC to submit within two weeks, a plan of action on
implementation modalities on her directives. She
wanted implementation completed in six months.
to access the Minister’s address.
Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, President, Association of
Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, who
spoke on behalf of telephone operators, expressed
the respect of telephone operators to the laws of
the land by agreeing with all the concerns expressed
by the minister in her speech. According to him ‘No
sensible person nor a responsible investor would
have anything to quarrel with in the spirit behind
the honourable ministers concerns since it is
desired at ensuring a good and improved market for
all of us‘
He however expressed surprise at the Ministers
observation since there was no reason to suggest
that any of the laws of the land or any Directions
of the regulator had been flouted or resisted. He
admonished the Minister to evoke sanction on any
erring operators who broke the laws. He pledged the
continued effort of industry players to make the
quality of service better than what it was.
Minister got it all wrong - ATCON
Shortly after the meeting of the Minister of
Information and Communications, Prof Dora Akunyili,
with telephone operators on Thursday, newshounds had
a full interview with Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, President
Mr. Omo-Ettu said his members would respect the
orders of the minister by carrying them out and
keeping to the laws of the land. ‘Her concern is
about protecting our investments and making sure
that telephone consumers get value for their money.
That is good and that is also what we want. The
Minister may have however got her facts wrong
because there was no basis for her allegations and
choice of words’
He gave several examples of how a little more of
listening and communication would help the industry
to continue to run well. ‘If you have 78 million SIM
cards to register God helps you if you are able to
do 1 million registrations in 1 week. If you are
able to register 1 million in one week, then you
require 78 weeks to get through it. So if somebody
tells you you must complete it in 3 months does it
not make sense you request that person to kindly
listen to you?’
He also debunked the argument that operators are not
co-locating. ‘Of course they are co-locating. Not
less than 13 firms have been licensed by NCC for
co-location and a few of them are known to be doing
very good business. How could they have been doing
well if nobody is co-locating?’ he asked.
A reporter also asked ‘if they are co-locating then
why is tariff not coming down (sic)”
He replied ‘A child abuses the Iroko Tree and
expects to be struck by the Iroko immediately. It
takes time for the Iroko Tree to strike. And in any
case who ever said that co-location is a panacea for
all our tariff problems? Tariff is already being
skillfully addressed by NCC which issued an
interconnect rate review early in the year. I do not
know about you but I have a habit of paying about
N22,000 per month from two telephones. In the last
three months my average call charge per month had
reduced to about N15,000 from one telephone. You
want to know why? One of the two operators I took
service from made it happen taking advantage of the
interconnect rate which NCC prescribed. If however
you were expecting the call rate per minute to
reduce from its present level to N10, then you will
wait a little longer while we all do a little
better. These things do not come by wishful
thinking. They are managed to happen’
There is always Something New in CyberschuulNews – Engr. Ernest
Telecoms Answers Associates, a Lagos
based telecommunication consulting firm, launched a Compendium of
Nigeria’s Telecommunications Industry and Its players, on Wednesday
a 100 page document that provides a networking data for Nigerian
telecommunication players, recounts the development of the telecoms
industry in Nigeria, and has a list of the major players, and their
activity profile. The event, which was day 2 of the WiMAXForum 2010 held
at the Lagoon restaurant in Victoria Island, Lagos, was also venue of
the formal launch and presentation of a commercial service of
Cyberschuulnews.com, a telecoms’ news
and business research website.
Ernest Ndukwe, the immediate past Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC,
described the Compendium as a necessary addition to the transformational
efforts in the industry. ‘I think this Compendium is a very important
publication, a very important research material for the industry.’
Titi Omo-Ettu, an engineer and Managing Partner of Telecom Answers
Associates said that the Compendium and the revamped Cyberschuulnews.com,
provide exhaustive business and research information designed to make it
easy for investors to conduct investigation and obtain information about
opportunities in the Nigerian telecom industry.
his part, Engr. Ndukwe said: ‘I'm
a regular reader of CyberschuulNews. There is always something new....
they change the appearance or the presentation. In a fast evolving
industry like ours, it’s rare to find someone who keeps coming up with
The former NCC boss
recounted the early and difficult development of the NCC from its
establishment by Engr. Olawale Ige, as Minister of Communications, Engr.
Vincent Maduka who did the initial ground work to establish NCC and the
first EVC, Engr. Cletus Iromantu. He thanked the organizers of the forum
for acknowledging the efforts of these pioneers.
Engr. Ige, and representatives of Engrs Iromantu and Vincent Maduka,
received awards as Heroes of Nigeria’s Telecommunications Industry from
Telecom Answers Associates.
Mobile Banking Will Double by 2012 – Study Report
The number of people using mobile banking services
via SMS and mobile browser applications is set to
reach 400million globally in the year 2012, double
its present figure today. A new study by Juniper
Research, ‘Mobile Banking Strategies: Applications,
Opportunities & Markets 2010-2015’ has forecast
steady increase in user uptake of mobile banking
services, and in individual and gross transaction
volumes over the projected period. The spread of
mobile and SMS-based banking services will occur in
every economic region, but with the most significant
increase in number of users predicted to be in the
Far East and China especially.
The study, which surveyed the mobile banking
deployments and strategies adopted by 77 banks from
all over the world, as well as 21 mobile banking
service vendors found that there is little
resistance to the technology’s adoption, as most
banks seek new and increased service options for
their customers, and mobile banking had become a
‘must have’ medium.
Over 80% of banks have some form of mobile banking
service, according to the report. A significant
future growth driver will be the need for more and
more customers to view their account balance on the
Ofcom consults on net neutrality
The UK Communications regulator Ofcom worried that
network operators and ISPs could engage in
anti-competitive behaviour and suppress or degrade
some content from providers is putting the issue of
on internet traffic management out for consultation.
The move reflects the fact that network operators
face massive growth in data traffic with the
proliferation of smartphones which has seen an
astronomical increase in the volume leading to
congestion in networks. The fear is that as
operators try to standardise a better service, they
would establish a hierarchy in data traffic in which
they could be distinguished, treated and possibly
Such a hierarchical structure contravenes basic
principle of the internet neutrality i.e. net is
neutral in terms of the way it treats traffic, and
internet service providers and network operators are
mere modes of transportation and therefore can and
should not make a distinction in what is trafficked.
Net neutrality advocates argue that discrimination
in traffic management by network operators and ISPs
could not only harm economic competitiveness and
growth but represents an affront to free speech and
other fundamental rights freedoms.
As the mobile network operator O2's plan to cap data
traffic on its network, Ofcom's consultation calls
for comment on traffic management techniques that
allow network operators and ISPs to handle traffic
more efficiently, to prioritise traffic by type, to
guarantee bandwidth and to block or degrade the
quality of some content..
Ofcom’s CEO Ed Richards acknowledging the increasing
centrality in to modern life said, "At the heart of
this discussion is how to ensure that traffic
management practices are transparent and how to
ensure that traffic management is not used for
anti-competitive discrimination," he said.
The consultation process is expected to end on 9
to remain UK Digital Champion
The government announced this week that Martha Lane
Fox will continue in her role as UK Digital
Champion. Ms Lane Fox
is one of the trailblazers of the
internet age, co-founded Lastminute.com in 1997. Her
high-profile appointment is part of the government’s
efforts to get the 17 million people in the UK who
do not have access to the internet or other digital
The sentiment behind this development i.e. the
pledge that government will continue to fund her
work to get more people online in the UK appears to
be at odds with the prevailing situation where many
projects are coming under review and IT programmes
are in the firing line of cuts particularly when at
the time of Ms Fox appointment, digital exclusion
had been officially recognised by the government not
just as a factor in social exclusion but a root
As well as encouraging online engagement Lane Fox is
focusing on improving the convenience of public
services by helping to drive online delivery. She
will also sit on the Efficiency Board, under the
auspices of the Cabinet Office where her job will
Continuing the Race Online 2012 campaign, which
she founded, to encourage as many people as
possible to get online.
Advising the Government on how efficiencies can
be best realised through the online delivery of
public services; and
Leading work to drive efficiencies through the
greater use of online services across
government, including the transformation of
Directgov - the government’s new and
This will be chaired by Cabinet Office Minister
Lane Fox said, "Whilst helping to bridge the digital
divide is hugely important in its own right, there
are also compelling economic reasons why we need to
get everyone online. For example the Government
could save millions of pounds each year simply by
doing transactions online rather than on paper or
over the phone."
She knows a thing or two about business implications because having
sold the last of the shares in 2004 for £4.6m, she
also holds non-executive directorships at Marks &
Spencers and Channel 4.
NCC bars lotteries by
The Nigerian Communications
Commission yesterday in
Abuja directed telecom
operators in the country to
stop further lottery related
activities and to desist
from charging premium rates
for non premium services.
The Commission said this
directive is premised on its
statutory responsibility to
protect the interests of
consumers against unfair
practices and consequent
upon incessant complaints
received from various
stakeholders about telecom
operators engaging in
lottery activities and
“Sending of SMS prompting
telecom subscribers to
participate in lotteries is
suspended until further
notice”, the Commission said
in a statement.
The Commission said while
promotions are allowed under
the guidelines already
published by the Commission
with set minimum
requirements and standards
of advertisements and
promotions, lotteries are
excluded from such
It said “promotions as
defined in the guidelines do
not include lotteries where
the consumer does not
receive commensurate service
or value for money spent”.
The Commission invites the
Nigerian public; and the
operators to henceforth be
guided accordingly as
1. All promotions carried on
by telecom operators must be
in accordance with the
Guidelines on Advertisements
and Promotions published by
2. No Telecom Operator is
allowed to carry-out any
lottery activity as defined
above under the License
issued by the Commission
3. Operators are also
advised to take due care in
the timing, frequency and
content of their multi-cast
messages to subscribers to
reduce nuisance associated
with these messages.
4. Sending of SMS prompting
telecom subscribers to
participate in lotteries is
suspended until further
5. Operators should desist
from charging premium rates
for non-premium services.
The Commission then directed
that “all network operators
are to ensure strict
compliance with this Notice,
as appropriate sanctions in
accordance with the Act and
the Enforcement Regulations,
2005 shall be applied to
ATCON reacts to NCC’s Ban
President of the Association of
Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu said in Abuja
on Thursday that although the ban on lotteries by NCC is an
understandable intervention, telecom operators committed no illegality
in their promotional campaigns.
According to him "what
the operators do is not illegal as far as I am concerned. It is
exploitative alright but it only means the consumers are either ignorant
or gullible or both. It is fine to cub them but it is no big deal
really, come to think of it. What we should do is to educate the consumers better and govern
properly. Our governments would require leading Nigerians into believing
that only hard work and nothing else can make them prosper in life. If
government is run as if it is possible to become rich overnight without
working hard, then the people will continue to fall into the wrong hands
of fraudsters which come in various forms"
FCC inches closer to regulating internet transmission
Having been to court to re-establish its authority, the
US regulator Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has
inched towards giving itself the authority to regulate
the transmission component of broadband Internet
The Commission voted to move toward the decision to
regulate following the ruling by a US federal appeals
court back in April that the regulator had exceeded its
authority in asking cable network provider Comcast to
stop throttling BitTorrent peer-to-peer file-sharing
Content providers including big players like Google,
Amazon have been pushing for net neutrality regulations
that will prevent telecoms firms from favouring or
discriminating against certain types of content.
According to an article in the New York Times, the FCC
argues that the additional power is central to expanding
the availability of broadband in the US, To do so, the
FCC must seek public consent on its proposal to
reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service and
whether to opt for keeping regulation as it is, imposing
a full telecommunications regulatory regime, or applying
limited regulation. The FCC has promised that if it wins
approval for the reclassification, it will apply only
regulations necessary to implement a universal,
competitive service and protect consumers.
Supporters of the FCC proposals such as the Open
Internet Coalition has thrown its weight behind greater
regulation saying the move would ensure that consumer
choice and innovation on the broadband internet will
receive the protections it requires. However opponents
say the reclassification will give the FCC the power to
regulate rates charged to consumers by broadband service
providers. Of these AT&T has openly criticised the FCC
proposal, saying it creates investment uncertainty and
could cost jobs.
The FCC is pushing for the third option – mid point
between excessive and too light touch regulation with a
lack of protection for competition and consumers.
How to Live in a Converging World
Professor Raymond Akwule, President of the Digital
Bridge Institute has restated the importance of
concluding regulatory unification in the communications
industry. Delivering a lead paper at the Wimax Forum
2010 in Lagos during the week, Prof Akwule noted that
with increasing convergence of technologies and service
providers, regulatory bodies will also, perhaps more
than industry players, need to converge as well. Nigeria
is only in the early stage of accomplishing this.
The proposed unification of the functions of the NCC and
the NBC was the subject of mild controversy last year,
but industry players at the forum all agreed on the need
to accomplish this, to streamline the allocation of
broadcast and telecommunications frequency spectrums.
‘We live in a converging world but our regulatory
institutions are very unconverged,’ the Professor
observed. He ran through the emerging responsibilities
the NCC will be faced with via the adoption of Next
Generation Networks like Wimax and LTE, including, very
importantly, social objectives like interoperability and
quality of service.
Prof Akwule also asserted that regulation in Nigeria has been transparent from both perspectives of reality and investor perception. He admonished that contributions to universal service funds should respect the trend towards convergence of networks and services, just as he also suggested that the manner of the funding be reviewed.
UK taxpayers pay over the odds for government IT
To buttress the case for cuts in UK government spending
on IT, Compass, a consultancy that benchmarks the cost
of IT in major government departments has revealed that
UK taxpayers are paying up to £6bn a year too much for
IT outsourcing services.
In a comparative analysis with the costs of running IT
in departments and agencies in the private sector,
Compass Management Consulting said found the £6bn
discrepancy when it looked at the cost of IT
outsourcing contracts within central government over the
past five years .
A government report last year put the total cost of public sector IT at
between £12.5bn and £18.5bn a year of which Compass
estimates that most of the IT spend is paid to suppliers
of outsourcing services - about £14bn .
Gary Bettis, Compass's UK president, says the public
sector is paying 40% or more above the market rate for
outsourced services. It could cut £6bn a year from the
cost of IT outsourced services without damaging the
frontline, He said that up to £6bn a year is spent
unnecessarily, in part because value-for-money
initiatives are "far too timid",
Bettis says that if radical changes are supported by
permanent secretaries and ministers, the datacentres and
IT infrastructures of departments could be brought
together rather than each department has separate IT
systems and datacentres. He singled out the Department
for Work and Pensions DWP as an example of how it can be
done. Bettis cited a recent of IT-based efficiency
programme he was involved in that cut IT-related costs
by £1.4bn between 2005 and 2010 reducing five
datacentres to two, cut about 1,000 staff and
standardised 140,000 desktop systems across different
parts of the DWP.
Compass also argues that poor management of suppliers
and contracts leads to large extra charges from IT
He adds: "Standardisation reduces costs dramatically by
allowing service providers to deliver economies of scale
as they deliver utility IT services to a range of
clients using the same delivery infrastructure."
He may face a battle with permanent secretaries and
public sector unions who may resist a merger with other
departments, or try to protect jobs, but in the current
climate, he sure will have the ear of the government.
Global push for Broadband access
Microsoft, Intel and Google in collaboration with major
Internet Service Providers have created a broadband
technical advisory group to offer an engineering
perspective on issues associated with broadband
networks. The group will be headed by Dale Hatfield, an
adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado at
Boulder and a former FCC employee.
Also in Nigeria…
Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON),
says it is already in discussion with notable Internet
Service Providers and the Association of Internet
Service Providers of Nigeria (ISPAN), on practical ways
of supporting them to take full advantage of emerging
broadband resources in the market. ATCON’s President Mr.
Titi Omo-Ettu, confirmed ATCON will broker support for
all its sector associations in key areas such as skills
development, financing and management.
In a statement, Titi Omo-Ettu said ‘Yes, we are focused on
the developing business of all companies affiliated with
our industry even non-members. ISPAN is a significant
sector associate on whose behalf we will be soliciting
and delivering support which will be critical for
members’ business development and growth.’
OAU Students' “Brain Media” for Microsoft Imagine Cup
Three students of Obafemi Awolowo University Technology
have emerged national finalists in this year’s Microsoft
Imagine Cup. They will now represent Nigeria at the
world finals to be held in Poland later in the year.
Team Indwell made up of three 400 level students of the
university’s Faculty of Technology emerged overall
winners for their software called Brain Media - an
application that links students, teachers and
researchers from different parts of the world over the
internet enabling them to share information and
educational resources such as textbooks and journals.
Other prize-winning ideas from local participating teams
include a computerised food management and stockpiling
scheme and an environmental management and emissions
monitoring system. Each team was allowed a 25-minute
presentation of their concept and its application which
formed the basis on which their ideas were vetted and
145 undergraduates from around the world registered for the
challenge in this event’s 8th year. The Microsoft
Imagine Cup is aimed at challenging and inspiring
innovation in ICT and technology students.
Digital Economy Act: Don’t believe the hype
If a politician’s word is his bond, then we can expect to
see the first hairline fracture in the new coalition
government. The source of this potential showdown is the
controversial Digital Economy Act which a spokesman for
Jeremy Hunt, the new minister for Culture Olympics,
Media and Sport, said this week will not be repealed
hence no prospect of a mutiny amongst the ranks
But in politics, no one’s word is their bond. In a clear
case of an asymmetry between what politicians say in
opposition and what they do in power, the Conservatives
who despite in opposition made derogatory comments about
the Bill at the debating stage, helped previous Labour
government get it through in less than two hours. Now in
power, they have now decided not to repeal any part of
the controversial bill.
The Liberal Democrats the smaller partner in the new
coalition in a previous life said they will take “all
possible steps” to repeal controversial aspects of the
Act. In a statement during emergency conference called
an shortly before ratifying the newly formed coalition
with the Conservative Party, it said, “Conference urges
Liberal Democrat ministers and MPs to take all possible
steps to ensure the repeal of those sections of the
Digital Economy Act 2010 which are inconsistent with
policy motion freedom, creativity and the internet as
passed at Spring Conference 2010,” said the statement.
The leader of the party – and now Deputy Prime Minister –
Nick Clegg said before the General Election that, were
his party to get in power they would repeal the Act. He
told a student website, “We did our best to prevent the
Digital Economy Bill being rushed through at the last
moment. It badly needed more debate and amendment, and
we are extremely worried that it will now lead to
completely innocent people having their internet
connections cut off."
He added: "It was far too heavily weighted in favour of the
big corporations and those who are worried about too
much information becoming available. It badly needs to
be repealed, and the issues revisited."
The Act which essentially was a hatchet job rushed through
parliament in the dying days of the last government, at
the end of the last government has been roundly
condemned as ‘an abuse of the parliamentary process’.
Well that has changed now.
Its handbags between Apple and Microsoft
To most in the industry, it is unsurprising that Microsoft
have an underwhelming if begrudging perception of Apple
and their products. In what one can describe as
response to hostility from Microsoft, and coinciding
with an upturn in Apple’s sales which recently surpassed
Microsoft in stock market value, Chief Executive Steve
Jobs predicted that personal computers running
Microsoft's Windows operating system are in a permanent
Speaking at the D:All Things Digital conference in Los
Angeles , Jobs, referring to the rapid spread of
smartphones and other internet-connected devices, such
Apple's newly-launched iPad, said Windows computers
would decline in popularity as people used other means
to connect to the internet, consume content and work. He
also cited security issues, poor battery life and
difficulty in use as drawbacks to the PC laptop as
reasons for his assertion.
His premonition has been met with support from executives
and other technology and entertainment companies,
according to the Financial Times – executives such as
Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks
Animation, who said he had stopped using a laptop in
favour of an Apple iPad and a BlackBerry
As far back as 2007 Microsoft Steve Ballmer Microsoft’s
CEO had been ‘hating’ on the iPhone. Back then he
called the iPhone ‘by far the most expensive phone in
the marketplace’, which is of course not even true. He
also called the iPhone ’not suitable for business
purposes’, given its lack of keyboard, 3G at the time
but which Apple went on to introduce successfully
If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, Apple
reporting a second fiscal quarter revenue of $13.5bn and
net quarterly profit of $3.07bn for 2010, a 90% increase
- an impressive 33% and astounding 131%increase in Apple
Macs and iPhone sales respectively , compared with the
year before suggest they must be doing something right
Sales of Apple's iPad have continued to exceed
expectations, with the company reporting more than
2million in just under two months since the product was
launched. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said there was no
fundamental difference between Apple's hot-selling iPad
tablet and the workaday, Windows-powered personal
computers produced by his company. In a dig at the
iPad's limited functionality, Ballmer said not all "PCs"
are created equal. "A guy tried to take notes on one in
a meeting with me yesterday—that was fun," said Ballmer.
"The meeting didn't go very fast," he quipped.
Asked if he considers the iPad a PC, Ballmer said, "Of
course it is!"
Quite. Perhaps the words, green, eye and envy rapidly
spring to mind
IT feels the chill of UK government cuts
No sooner had the members of the new UK coalition government taken their ministerial seats, the much anticipated icy wind of expenditure cuts have begun blowing and it appears that IT will feel the chill of this gusty wind. In a statement this week the Chancellor George Osborne announcing plans to cut £6.2bn of what he calls "wasteful spending" to start to reduce the budget deficit, the government aims to cut £95m from its IT spending. The Chancellor in his speech said that the savings will include "nearly £2bn from IT programmes, suppliers and property"
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws explaining the proposed cuts said, ‘These are only the first steps which we will need to take in order to put our public finances back in shape’
The Treasury and Cabinet Office has set up a new group, the Efficiency and Reform Group, discharged with the responsibility to ‘make sure departments work together to tackle waste and improve accountability across a range of areas, including ICT spend and procurement’ . It will enforce spending cuts across Whitehall and to this end, it has imposed an immediate freeze on all new IT spending above £1m, and will review the biggest IT projects being set up to see which can be stopped.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said, ‘We have got to get an immediate grip on Whitehall waste if we are going to tackle this unprecedented £156bn deficit quickly. By joining forces and concentrating our efforts where the money actually gets spent, we can make sure the maximum amount gets taken out of government overheads.’
Indeed. Everyone dress warm
Highest sales record for mobile pc’s
The sale of mobile computers, primarily laptops, netbooks and tablets, rose to their highest level globally since 2002, having risen in the second quarter of 2010 by 43.4%. In a report credited to Gartner Technology Business Research, 49.4million units of devices in the category were purchased, mostly in the consumer market, as distinguished from professional corporate buyers.
Consumer purchases were largely driven by the popularity of new niche devices like “Netbooks”, lighter, smaller-screened cheaper versions of the regular notebook computer, which were very popular at the height of the economic meltdown as buyers sought cheaper alternatives. Other increasingly popular categories of goods like tablets specialised for web surfing and social networking also raised the share of non-core computer sales in the statistics.
The report found that HP remains the biggest manufacturer of mobile PCs, followed by Acer Computer, with Dell in third place.
Young entrepreneurs get mentorship in Lagos
Upcoming InfoTech professionals with an affinity and aptitude for business were introduced to the resources of mobile web systems at the University of Lagos over the weekend. Attendees were part of the considerable number of enthusiasts who are preparing themselves for the explosion of internet access at broadband level taking advantage of the imminent reality of domestic traffic assimilated into Glo1 and MainOne fibres.
The session hosted under the Barcamp Nigeria initiative was facilitated by industry specialists who made presentations on various aspects of the emerging technologies, standard and businesses.
Mr. Nyimbi Odero, Google's Office Lead in Nigeria discussed opportunities while Simdul Shagaya, proprietor the alarena.com initiative took on business prospects inherent in the mobile technologies.
Other guest speakers include Chinenye Mba-Ozoukwo of eShekels and Titi Omo-Ettu, President, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, ATCON.
MainOne’s phase 1 now ready in Lagos
Opinion of leading industry analysts appear to coalesce around the possible explosion of web related businesses with the reality that Globacom's Glo1 and MainOnes optical fibre cables would be open to traffic in the next month.
Information released by MainOne Company in Lagos says Phase 1 of its fibre which links Lagos with Sexial in Portugal with landing point in Accra, Ghana may begin to carry traffic on schedule in June 2010.
Those who express fears about the limited local loop that takes the backbone to the end user were told that ‘it is even a positive limitation because it is still business for others’
EU Competition Authorities cut tough on chip makers
European Union Competition authorities have
fined nine electronic memory chip makers a total of €331m
(£285.3m) for price fixing
EU authorities imposed the fine on ten
companies, including big names such as Samsung NEC, Hitachi,
Mitsubishi and Toshiba having been alerted to the fact that in a
cartel fashion, the companies were found to have colluded to fix
prices for DRAM chips sold to major PC makers and server
manufacturers between 1998 and 2002, according to BBC news.
DRAM is a type of random access memory that stores each bit of
data in a separate capacitor within an integrated circuit.
Other companies caught in this web include
Hynix, Infineon, Elpida and Nanya.
Following an eight-year investigation by EU
officials, Samsung was given the biggest single fine of €146m.
Germany's Infineon - the only European-based business amongst
the infamous ten - was fined €57m. The whistle blower Micron, on
price-fixing cartel, escaped a fine for its assertions.
EU's competition authority said they were all penalised because
they sell their products in the European Economic Area and were
therefore subject to EU law. Their fine was reduced by 10% for
co-operating with investigators.
US ISPs on a collision course with the Regulator
US internet service providers are bracing
themselves and readying for battle with the US media regulator
following the latter’s announcement of plans to put in place
plans for stricter controls on the sector that will open the way
for net neutrality.
Following the Appeal court’s decision in April
to revoke its authority to regulate broadband companies, the US
regulator Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking to
re-establish its authority.
The court found the regulator had exceeded its
authority in asking cable network provider Comcast to stop
throttling BitTorrent peer-to-peer file-sharing traffic but the
FCC plans to strengthen its powers by reclassifying broadband
providers as a telecommunications service instead of an
information service which will enable the regulator to enforce
rate changes and unbundling on broadband companies as well as
impose net neutrality regulations.
Google, Amazon and other content providers have
long been pushing for net neutrality regulations to prevent
telecoms firms from favouring or discriminating against certain
types of content others like Verizon and AT&T are taking their
challenge further by signalling they will mount a legal
challenge to the FCC's move, according to the Financial Times.
In a bid to avoid a climb-down and a legal
confrontation, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has said the
regulator will show restraint in exercising its proposed
authority by retaining a light touch with internet regulation.
Nokia and Apple at it (again)
Following Elan Microelectronics Corporation - the Taiwanese
Touchpad technologies company - now
Nokia has filed a lawsuit against Apple in the United States,
claiming that Apple’s iPhone and iPad 3G infringe on several of
In this new round of merry-go-round of lawsuits between both
titans of telecommunications which dates back October last year,
Nokia filed a lawsuit against Apple for patent infringement on
“enhanced speech and data transmission, using positioning data
in applications and innovations in antenna configurations that
improve performance and save space, allowing smaller and more
In a press release, Paul Melin, General Manager of patent
licensing for Nokia, said: “Nokia has been the leading developer
of many key technologies in mobile devices. We have taken this
step to protect the results of our pioneering development and to
put an end to continued unlawful use of Nokia’s innovation.”
In this legal carousel, this new lawsuit comes as Apple
announced plans to release the iPad outside the US for the first
time. The iPad will be released in UK on Friday, May 28.
This development it can sure do without.
Is IBM shredding jobs?
In yet another indication of persisting
financial crisis in the global ICT market, reports reveal IBM
is considering cutting three-quarters of its 399,000 permanent
staff in the next seven years and re-hiring them for projects as
part of an HR strategy due to end in 2017.
In a statement to Personnel during the week,
Tim Ringo, head of IBM human capital management, said IBM would
re-hire the workers as contractors for specific projects and,
when necessary, use crowd sourcing in a bid to reduce its
workforce from 399,000 today to 100,000 in 2017.
Although he asserted this was only a
consideration at present, he appears to have earmarked areas
where cuts will apply saying "There would be no buildings costs,
no pensions and no healthcare costs, making huge savings,"
Sounding a somewhat pessimistic note, Robert
Morgan, Director at sourcing consultancy Burnt Oak Partners,
said that all the big service providers would attempt to move to
this type of strategy. "It is something they have been doing
over the last three years."
He said that because outsourcing contracts are
often in their fourth and fifth generations, many of the cost
savings have already been made.
"The only way they can make the savings now is
by cutting the number of permanent staff."
Mark Lewis, partner and head of outsourcing at
law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, said suppliers have to get
people "off their books" if they are to make the required
savings. He predicts that IBM and other employers that do this
might have difficulties in Europe with ramification for
customers who might be unhappy about roles in outsourcing
contracts being filled by sub-contractors.
An IBM spokesman denied the firm was about to shrink its
permanent workforce saying , "The comments are without merit.
This was pure speculation about future job movements without any
basis in fact. In fact, the comments run counter to IBM's
history of growing its global workforce over each of the last
We simply have to wait and see
Internet emerges as the dominant medium
In a clear sign that the internet is set to be the dominant
medium of information, communication and entertainment, research
in the US reveal that for the first time, the internet has
surpassed TV as the “most essential” medium.
The reputable survey Infinite Dial conducted by Arbitron and
Edison Research was the 18th in a series of studies from the
aforementioned firm on topics relating to the internet and new
In a statistically viable survey, when asked which medium they
would eliminate, 49% of respondents chose to eliminate TV,
compared to just more than 48% who said they would get rid of
the internet. This is significant given that when first asked
the question in 2001, 72% of respondents said they would do
without the internet, while only 26% said they would eliminate
Demographic variation reveals that the gap between the two forms
of media is more profound, with more people under the age of 45
choosing to live without TV.
There is also evidence of convergence in
functionality and role of TV and the internet in viewers’
consciousness as more people spend more time watching TV
programs on the internet or simultaneously viewing the internet
and TV. In the US, the figure of simultaneous viewing rose from
to 56.9% in June 2009 to 59%in December 2009, according to the
Three Screens Report from The Nielsen Company.
In the UK, the
BBC's iPlayer online catch-up service launched officially on
Christmas Day 2007, posted record-breaking viewing figures for
2009 with five million unique users a week.
In a separate but relevant report on the power of the internet and
online video market, YouTube claims to now get over two billion
hits daily - nearly double the number of people who tune into
the US's three prime time TV stations combined.
Over seven months ago the video site clocked up one billion
downloads. This astonishing news comes as the site celebrates
the day five years ago when the first beta version of YouTube
was launched. Back then in December 2005, 8 million videos were
watched a day this figure increased to a phenomenal 1 billion
views per day by October 2009
The site was bought by Google near the end of 2006 for $1.65bn.
‘I see this great growth opportunity in the online video market and
we are positioning ourselves to be a leader,’ co-founder Chad
Hurley told BBC News.
He also said that while the two billion downloads marked a real
milestone he felt they have much further to go.
The revolution is surely being televised
ATCON to fly ISP empowerment Agenda
Recently elected President of Association of Telecommunication
Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, told a select
audience of young entrepreneurs in Lagos during the week that he
would take the association through a path of 'inclusive
communication' and 'empowerment of every subgroup therein' so
that their businesses can prosper and they would serve their
He noted, in particular, that the Internet Service Provider
sub-group which appeared to have been the most endangered
sub-group in the industry has a good prospect of turning around
their businesses if they restrategise and adopt the plans the
Association has in stock.
According to him, the plans are yet to be endorsed by the
Association’s Congress but when they eventually do, the
association would re-empower its ISP sub-group by giving their
sector-association (Internet Services Providers Association of
Nigeria, ISPAN) a good platform of empowerment to network its
resources and to enjoy regular training and knowledge transfer
from renowned providers in other mature and emerging markets.
‘Look, gentlemen, with IP, tomorrow is the ISP’s day because
yesterday’s 80%Voice/20%data will transform to 80%Data/20%voice
tomorrow. And what does that tell us? It tells us it is the
internet service providers’ world. But they, ISP's, have to
learn new concepts of business and be ready to switch their
thought very quickly. What does that is Training and who
provides that is ATCON which in reality is the sanctuary the
ISPs have avoided all along.’
Mr. Omo-Ettu said study groups have been set up to identify what
things his association should be doing to improve service
delivery and return on investment rather than the stereotype
thinking that associations exist only to fight governments and
Online ebook Store: A new
initiative from Google
Google has finalised plans and obtained all necessary approvals
to launch its much awaited online e-book store. The site, named
Google Editions, is touted to be the most serious competitor to
Amazon.com, and is coming barely within months of Apple Inc
launching a similar website, iBooks, to complement its sister
site, iTunes, which presently dominates electronic music sales
E-books have garnered increasing popularity in recent years with
the exponential increase in storage capacity of mobile devices
like smartphones and PDAs, as well as the launch of dedicated
ebook readers, like Amazon.com’s Kindle, and other niche devices
like the phenomenally selling iPad. Responding to the trend,
many publishers are releasing e-book versions of their new and
old book titles, this despite rising piracy concerns.
Google operates an already popular website called Google Books,
which archives and distributes out-of-copyright books like
literature and science classics. With the launch of Google
Editions, popular and contemporary present day work will be
available for token sale. Google has promised to launch the site
with 500,000 book titles, accessible from any web-connected
BB4NG Group set to provide major
Broadband Lead Document
There is report from Abuja, Nigeria, that a Broadband for
Nigeria, BB4NG-group has completed preliminary work on a
framework and implementation agenda program for an inroad
document for Broadband access to Nigerians. The work which is at
the instance of the Nigeria ICT Forum of Partnership
Institutions, was initiated as an empowerment document which all
stakeholders in Nigeria would be invited to make contribution to
before it is delivered to Governments and their agencies in
Coordinator of the group, Dr Ibrahim Aminu, indicated that a
Full Stakeholders Forum was being planned for end of June when
more than 35 stakeholder groups would be represented at a study
session to ratify the document. The major groups on the list
include Government Institutions, Agencies and parastatals, the
Universities and research centres, the organised private sector,
civil society groups, the professions, trade associations and
the political class.
ICT Watch Network announces plan
for lectures and recognitions
ICT Watch Network – a leading Nigerian television programme
which relays on MITV and TVC has announce a plan to assemble
Africa’s Digital ‘who is who’ in Nigeria at a date to be
confirmed. A major highlight of the initiative is the Africa
Digital Awards & Lecture Series.
The lecture will focus on the pace of Africa’s digital growth in
the last decade while the Awards are designed to recognise and
honour experts, companies and individuals, who have excelled in
ICT development endeavours.
ATCON elects new Exco
The Annual General meeting of the Association of
Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, ended with
election of a 12 member Executive Committee with two years
tenure. The President’s position went to Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu a
Lagos based telecommunications engineer who is also Managing
Consultant of Telecom Answers Associates. Other members of the
committee are Engr. Gerry Ekesiani (Vice President1), Barrister
Adewale Jones (Vice President2), Mr David Roberts (National
Secretary); Mrs. Maurine Egbuna (Publicity Secretary); Mr Myke
Ofili (Treasurer); Engr. Anthony Nwosu (Coordinator, Auxiliary
Service Providers’ Sub-group); Mr Macdanielles Ighedosa
(Coordinator, Enhanced Services Providers Sub-Group); Mr.
Akinlabi Akinbo (Coordinator, Consultants Sub-Group); Dr.
Emmanuel Ekuwem (Immediate Past President); and Mr Ajibola Olude
Local content: Discussion issue
for barcamp Nigeria scheduled for UNILAG May 22, 2010
A gathering of select technology professionals will hold at the
university of Lagos on Saturday, May 22, 2010. They will come
under the name of Barcamp Nigeria to bring young aspiring
technology professionals, especially students together to
promote technology advancement in Nigeria.
Theme of the discussion is Creating local content for Nigerian
web market and Venue is the Centre for Information Technology
and system, Unilag Lagos at 9.00am.
Scheduled to address the meeting are Simdul Shagaya, CEO of
e-motion advertising and the founder of alarena.com; Chinenye
Mba-Ozoukwo of eShekels and Titi Omo-Ettu, President Association
of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON.