want ICT Draft Policy to go back to starting blocks
Communication Technology’s push for an urgent ICT policy received the
cold shoulders of stakeholders who held that the draft policy lacks depth
and good direction.
contention is the desire to railroad a converged regulator which many
observers said needed caution and deeper reflection to handle.
The draft ICT
policy may just have been returned to the starting blocks because there
was hardly a consensus on any of the issues picked on for review when the
Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, met with
stakeholders in Lagos on Friday. In her words ‘This document is one that we
want to work on and conclude as soon as possible so that we can document
it and pass it to the executive’.
pressed for speed while many would prefer that a better result from a
more representative Committee and deeper content was required.
Aerial Fibre backbone gets upgrade
redundancy which raises availability very close to 100% has been provided
on the Lagos – Kano aerial fibre network operated by Phase3 Telecom. With
this, quality of service to its clients would now be significantly
enhanced as an alternate route for all traffic on its network between
Lagos and Abuja has been provided.
Chief Operating Officer, Phase3 Telecom, Mr. Olusola Teniola, the
achievement of the backbone redundancy was the fulfilment of a vision of
the firm to ensure that its network would always be available to users in
the event of any eventuality.
with our determination to continually improve our services to our
customers( IP and Clear channel), this backbone redundancy, effectively
provides our clients currently enjoying peering, transit and MPLS VPN
solutions and services from Lagos, a more reliable solution for their
traffic, " he said.
He added that the
new system now has a provision in which load has been configured to
equally balance at peak periods, thereby eliminating clogs, saturation
and bottlenecks. In addition, he explained that the system allows traffic
load to choose the least saturated path during off peak periods and
failover entirely in the event of discontinuity on any of the two routes.
new arrangement, essentially our uptime has been greatly increased and we
will see a 99.999% efficiency leap in service delivery for all our IP
clients," Teniola added.
NCC and ATCON
move to raise broadband penetration in Nigeria
Communications Commission, NCC and Association of Telecommunications
Companies of Nigeria ATCON are known to be working at pulling together to
get broadband internet access to be widespread in Nigeria.
Dr Eugene Juwah,
Executive Vice Chairman of NCC told a visiting team of ATCON members who
came for a working meeting with the Commission that ‘the issue of
broadband availability and penetration in Nigeria today is very dear to
our hearts at the Commission, and you will recall that it is one of the
key areas that we have indicated to occupy our focus in the next few
Dr Juwah said
that the Commission has developed a model based on ‘Open Access’ in which
the role of the Network Operator is distinct from those of the Service
Providers. ‘In this arrangement’, according to him, ‘the network provider
offers access to the service providers on a non-discriminatory basis in a
competitively neutral environment. Service providers, or corporations, or
institutions, or even the public are allowed to access services in line
with their needs’.
these models and strategies are issues of availability, affordability,
stimulation of demands for services, attraction of investments, creation
of more employment opportunities, penetration of services to the nooks
and crannies of the country, improving governance and energizing the
ATCON, Mr Titi Omo-Ettu in a response told the Commission that ‘our
reason for initiating this meeting is to enable us compare notes with the
Commission on its Broadband Expansion Vision, and harmonise our plans
with the Commission’s. Also, we seek the Commission’s listening ears when
we would have latched unto its programme and require its support and
intervention at any bend as we start implementing our plans. He thanked
the commission for always supporting the programs of the Association.
discussed the ways of using Broadband to motivate investments, generate
employment, improve governance and create an environment for investments
The two teams
agreed on the need to protect small businesses and to help big ones
expand their networks.
spreads to Greater Lagos
from the MainOne Cable Co network has been commissioned in the Ikeja area
of Lagos to provide broadband internet access to the greater Lagos areas
of Ojota, Oregun, Ikorodu Road and Ikeja airport.
Providers, manufacturing companies, hotels and other hospitality outfits,
media and advertising firms, FMCGs and other
enterprises in the Ikeja area and its environs are the primary target of
the extended infrastructure.
Ms Funke Opeke,
CEO of MainOne told and excited audience in Ikeja that ‘It is necessary,
at this point, for excellent broadband Internet to be available to all
enterprise concerns that require the capacity that Main One brings to
Nigeria. This is the reason we have sought to distribute more of our
capacity inland, especially across business areas in Lagos where demand
for ubiquitous broadband is the driving force of successful businesses.”
eWorld’s Forum is for March 21, 2012
eWorld Magazine will host this year’s Forum on Tuesday
March 21, 2012 at Golden Gate Restaurant, Iloyi,
Lagos under the chairmanship of the Hon Minister of Communication
Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson.
Theme of the
Forum is ‘Broadband Ecosystem: Issues for Regulators and Operators’.
The Forum seeks
to contribute to ongoing discussions on Nigeria’s march towards
accelerated broadband development in line with International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the NCC vision and objectives.
The issues listed
for discussion, according to Mr Aaron Ukodie, Publisher of the Magazine
include: M-banking services and the role of regulators; Wireless
broadband spectrum pricing; Open Access Regulation (Smart Regulation);
Setting national broadband policies, strategies and plans; financing
universal access; New Business Models for Broadband networks, etc.
Ukodie also said
'The Forum is also expected to contribute to efforts by the Nigerian
Communications Commission (NCC) and the Ministry of Communications
Technology to chart a workable roadmap and policy for broadband
Copy & Paste
from Other Journals
spooked by Zamtel sale reversal'
Michael Malakata, ITWeb’s Zambian
correspondent, Johannesburg, 5 Mar 2012
of the sale of telecoms company Zamtel to Lap
Green Networks this year has not damaged the southern African country's
investment climate, says UK-based Economic Intelligence Unity (EIU).
Libya-based Lap Green
Networks' purchase of a 75% stake in Zamtel in
2010, for $275 million, was controversially reversed by Zambia's
administration in January. The move followed a government-sanctioned
inquiry, which found the sale was marred by what it called “irregularities”.
But a report by
the EIU said there appears to be some grounds for Zambia's U-turn on Zamtel.
The EIU said the
sale of Zamtel lacked transparency and the
organisation also alleges that there were irregularities in the awarding
of a contract to Cayman Islands-based RP Capital to assess Zamtel's value. The EIU said the valuation method
used by RP Capital does not stand up to scrutiny.
Intelligence Unit is of the view that the reversal does not herald a
severe deterioration in Zambia's investment climate,” the EIU stated in
its report on the matter.
the EIU report, Private Sector Development Association (PSDA) chairperson
Yusuf Dodia still believes the sale reversal is
scaring away investors.
used in getting back the 75% shares in Zamtel
is what has been the greatest challenge, because Lap Green Networks
entered into a legally binding contract with the Zambian government,
which cannot be dismissed easily,” Dodia said.
to reverse the sale of Zamtel has, among other
reasons, resulted in the downgrading of the country's economic outlook to
negative from stable by Fitch Ratings, an international economic rating
decision to reverse a privatisation deal without as yet compensating the
investing parties could undermine property rights,” said Carmen Altenkirch, director in Fitch's Sovereign rating
Last month, the
Zambian government, through attorney-general Mumba
Malila, said it was looking into the
possibility of compensating Lap Green Networks for the grabbed shares and
for any investment the company made in Zamtel's
network upgrade and expansion.
But Lap Green
Networks decided to take the matter to court in a bid to force the
Zambian government to reverse its decision to grab the company.
FG set to retire
NITEL through ‘Guided Liquidation’
Council on Privatisation concluded in its midweek meeting deliberating
that both the Technical and Legal Committees of the Council should work
together to wind up the operations of NITEL through ‘Guided Liquidation’.
This has now
brought to a defined station the Council’s seeming
indecision over government’s sustained inability to achieve the objective
of the privatisation of NITEL which commenced way back in 1999.
A recent special
Committee of the Senate which probed the affairs of the Bureau (of
privatisation) of Public Enterprises, BPE, gave damning recommendations,
none of which government has shown the will to implement.
Committee fingered corruption and incompetence in the management of the
Agency and made 45 recommendations part of which included reprisals for a
few present and past officials who were found culpable.
The process of
privatisation of NITEL has been nothing but an eleven-year catalogue of
monumental failures which has taken the company from a buoyant but
inefficient monopoly to a dumb and comatose enterprise.
analysts who commented on the development feared and prayed that the
so-called ‘guided liquidation’ might just not be another commencement of
the same cycle of corruption which has dogged the privatisation process
from its inception.
on Draft ICT Policy for March 9
assembly of stakeholders will discuss the emerging ICT Policy which the
Ministry of Communications Technology is midwifing
and which the Ministry said has been reviewed by several professional and
trade association of the communication technology industry.
ICT Policy, a work-in-progress document which many worried over for its
all-civil servants’ authorship and largely for charting an unclear
direction may have gone through several fine-tuning and reworks.
Friday, 9th March
2012 has been announced by the Ministry when a wider stakeholder body
will appraise the work in Lagos at the Lagos City Hall.
A statement from
the office of the Minister of Communication Technology early this week
recalled that the Draft ICT Policy was released by the Ministry for
comments and suggestions from stakeholders and the general public on the
9th of January, 2012. ‘The Ministry since it unveiled the Policy document
has received comments and inputs from industry groups, companies in the
ICT industry, and other ICT industry stakeholders both in Nigeria and
abroad that have been collated and the Forum will provide a platform for
the Ministry to engage stakeholders for robust discussions on the
comments received so far’.
a Library of ICT Journals
A library of
magazines, journals and periodicals which are published from within
Nigeria has been established by the Association of Telecommunications
Companies of Nigeria, (ATCON) in its Secretariat.
says ‘in appreciation of the significant role that publications have
played and continue to play in the evolution of our industry, we adjudge
that for the purposes of the past, the current and posterity, it is
important to keep an accurate catalogue and archive of past publications
of this genre.
The Library is
conceived to be a Resource Centre in our Secretariat to be used by
historians, researchers, students and businessmen for reference in their
quest for information about our industry, its development and its impact
on our economy’
flew into turbulent weather
India, Airtel in Nigeria
It is now
confirmed that Etisalat is already in Court to press for heavy damages
against Balwa, Goenka
and Majestic Infracon, its joint venture
partners and collaborators in the deal that made it buy Swan Telecom
which it named Etisalat DB in India. The Supreme Court had ruled after a
protracted litigation over misdemeanour that the license under which Swan
Telecom, and therefore Etisalat DB, operated should be revoked.
crying blue murder that its collaborators played fraud and misinformation
by not making appropriate disclosure at negotiation time.
It certainly has
been one bad business which cannot be left unresolved.
Airtel which bought the successors of Econet Wireless was ordered by a
Nigerian Court to revert to the original name of Econet Wireless as the
original conversion, long before several buy-over’s ended up in Airtel's basket, was irregular. Naturally an appeal
is in court but at the end of the day compensation would have to be
Econet is known to have thrown a figure of $6.1billion demand into the
That may mean the
lawyers on both sides have work to do.
BUREAU OF PUBLIC
Council on Privatisation (NCP) has approved ‘guided liquidation’ as the
strategy for the privatisation of Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd (NITEL)
and its mobile arm, M-TEL, in view of the huge liabilities of both
At its first
meeting for 2012 which took place at Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday,
February 27, 2012, the body also approved that the Technical Committee
(TC) and Legal Committee (LC), two standing committees of NCP, work
closely to determine the modalities for handling Nitel/Mtel’s
It also directed
that all liquidators that have unresolved disputes with the Bureau of
Public Enterprises (BPE) be excluded from the process for the appointment
of a liquidator for the Nitel/Mtel transaction.
At its last
meeting on December 15, 2011, the NCP had considered the presentations
made by the management of Nitel and Mtel on the way forward for both companies.
The NCP had
directed the management of Nitel and Mtel to submit detailed financial reports and other
relevant information on the proposals for the resuscitation of both
companies to the Technical Committee of the NCP; and tasked the Technical
Committee to consider the submissions by Nitel/Mtel
management and submit its recommendations to the next meeting of NCP.
recommended that ‘guided liquidation’ should be adopted as the strategy
for the privatization of NITEL/MTEL in view of the huge liabilities of
both companies and that there was no viable financial alternative
presented by the management of Nitel/Mtel.The
NCP supported the recommendation of the Technical Committee that opted
for ‘guided liquidation.’ The NCP also observed from the Nitel/Mtel presentation that they were receiving some
revenues from SAT-3 which were not fully accounted for and in respect of
which there had been no audit for several years. In spite of the
revenues, the management of Nitel/Mtel had been
obtaining their salaries from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Consequently, the NCP directed the Sub-Committee of the Technical
Committee on Information, Communication, National Facilities and Agric
Resources to immediately carry out investigations and ensure that all
revenues received were accounted for.
WAFICT 2012 to
hold in Lagos May 8 - 10
The 4th West
African Information and Communications Technology Congress (WAFICT 2012) has been confirmed for May 8 - 10, 2012.
The Theme for
this years edition is ‘Bridging West Africa’s
Digital Divide Through Broadband.’
Host, IT &
Telecom Digest said during the week that “WAFICT 2012 is a grand platform
to hear from Governments and Regulators in West Africa on their policies
on broadband and strategies for deployment; from equipment manufacturers,
mobile operators, telecom operators, Internet Service Providers, experts,
and many more, from across the world, what potential exists in broadband
and their offerings for the sub-region,”
authorised JDSU Rep in Nigeria
JDSU, A leading
provider of optical products and test and measurement solutions for the
communications industry, has advised technology users in Nigeria that
INTERTEL Nig Lt is its authorised representative in the region.
for Middle East and Africa, Mr Youssef Bentahir explained that the
authorisation covers upgrade, calibration, replacement, toolkits,
equipment list, certified engineers and aftersales support, which are
facilities that unauthorised dealers cannot give.
that INTERTEL has in-stock various ranges of JDSU Demo kits for all
classes of sales and maintenance support.
Entrepreneurship on the Ivy League Circuit
On June 08, 2011,
I received a letter from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Legatum Center for
Development & Entrepreneurship), part of which read; ‘The remarkable
success of CWG is a story that inspires entrepreneurs, academics,
investors, and policy makers working in emerging countries. We are
writing to ask if you would be interested in telling that story at the
annual conference of the Legatum Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’.
Being an ardent
entrepreneurial crusader, I was very excited at the opportunity and
gladly accepted the invitation.
The Legatum Center at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is dedicated to creating economic
opportunity for ordinary citizens in low-income countries by supporting
the innovative and transformative business concepts and technologies of
aspiring entrepreneurs. They host a symposium in the fall of each year
for entrepreneurs, investors, scholars and policy makers who convene to
discuss global entrepreneurship. Many prominent people have spoken at the
Center. They include six Nobel Laureates, four
heads of state, prominent scholars, and renowned innovators such as Sir
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.
At the end of my
presentation to a very attentive audience from the academia and beyond,
whose thirst for information about business in Africa seemed unquenchable
from the number and variety of questions, I was approached by the founder
and Director of the Centre Professor Iqbal Z. Quadir, a Wharton graduate himself and co-founder of Grameenfone in Bangladesh, who, having the difficult
task of balancing the residual interest of the audience, with the need to
press ahead with the program, asked if I would be kind enough to make a
repeat visit to MIT during early March 2012 to share further insights
when his class shall be taking the case study on the Computer Warehouse
It will be
recalled that the Columbia Business School published a case study on the
Computer Warehouse Group in early 2008, which received sterling reviews
from the Financial Times of London in the Business Education section. The
comments of Prof. Murray Low, Director of the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurial
Centre at the CBS perhaps best summarises the overwhelming reception to
the case study; ’I have used the case along with the video in both
Tanzania and Kenya for audiences of entrepreneurs, faculty and MBA
students. They all find it VERY inspiring!!’
In a world where
only four out of every 100 start ups live up to their 10th anniversary,
every emerging success supports the case for entrepreneurial pursuit.
emphasis on the BRICS countries by global investors is justified, it
cannot be gainsaid the immense opportunities offered by the Sub-Saharan
offers a largely untapped market, where democracy has taken root, and
trade barriers are being broken by regional economic integration blocs
such as ECOWAS, COMESU, EAC, SADC and CEMAC. The region’s institutions
are beginning to drive meritocracy as a yardstick of who gets ahead, and
the burgeoning middle class provides ample entrepreneurial opportunities.
The short summary is that Sub-Saharan Africa now provides much improved
investment and regulatory environments, and is open for business.
message of my talk, which is mostly missed by global investors, is that
Sub Saharan Africa may present today, the opportunities that were
presented by the BRICS countries in the last decade.
To buttress this
point, consider that at the height of the recent global economic downturn
when business growth stalled around the world, one group of companies
grew at an annual rate of almost 30% from 2006 to 2009, far outpacing
their global competitors, including Standard & Poor’s 500 biggest
American firms. These companies are quickly becoming a force to be
reckoned with in one of the world’s most dynamic markets. They are the
Multinational Corporations (MNCs) of
Sub-Saharan Africa. In the past decade, about nine Multinational
Companies have emanated from East Africa and 21 from West Africa (14 from
This is not at
all surprising, considering that Nigeria’s population constitutes almost
half of that of West Africa, is the second largest economy, after South
Africa, with a much higher GDP growth rate of 7.2% compared to South
Africa’s about 4.2%, and targeted to surpass the South African economy by
These emerging Sub-Saharan
Multinational companies such as Dangote Group, Ecobank
Transnational Incorporated, Computer Warehouse Group, UBA to mention a
few, have seen dramatic growth in the past several years. These companies
are expanding across the region, and thriving in markets that Global
Multinationals may have considered unprofitable, too complex or even
The CWG story
typifies the trials, challenges and triumph of entrepreneurs in the
challenging but highly rewarding environment that characterises Sub
such as that of the Computer Warehouse Group contribute immensely to the
attraction of capital to the region, which combined with the
entrepreneurial acumen and youthful population pool unleashes waves of
economic boom which in turn lifts the pile at bottom of the pyramid into
the more desirable networked economy of the emerging global village.
Austin Okere is
the CEO of the Computer Warehouse Group
Thursday. The new policy means all the information Google collects about
its users on its platforms — including YouTube — will be put into one
database so advertisers can get a better idea of consumer patterns and
behaviour. Such consolidation means that Google can treat a user as a
single entity across Google+ and YouTube, Gmail and Google search which
is useful for their purposes as articulated by, Alma Whitten, Google’s director
of privacy for products and engineering, who says the unification of 60
different privacy policies across Google products and information sharing
is about helping consumers giving them more tailored searches and
recommendations. But critics remain sceptical arguing that Google has
implicitly assumed its users’ consent not only in its collection of
information such as age, sex, sexual orientation, health, location,
religion and all kinds of other really personal stuff about them. It also
means browsing data and web history gathered when a user is signed in
with a Google account, can be shared across all of the websites from
which they cannot opt out of unless they stop using Google's services.
opposition thus far has come from the EU's Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding who told the BBC that the changes made by
‘transparency rules have not been applied’.
There is also
dissatisfaction at the fact that on logging out of Google's services it
will still store anonymous data about web activity so much so that
France's privacy watchdog CNIL wrote to Google earlier this week, urging
a "pause" in rolling out the revised policy. ‘The CNIL and EU
data authorities are deeply concerned about the combination of personal
data across services,’ the regulator wrote.
Needless to say
Google rebuffs all criticism claiming the new policy complied with EU
law. ‘We are confident that our new simple, clear and transparent privacy
policy respects all European data protection laws and principles,’ the
company said in a statement.
Apple and Samsung
battle out ‘a no score draw’ in Germany
The long running
battle between Apple and Samsung over phone and tablet patents seems to
has degenerated to some kind of farce with patent lawsuits - taken out
against each other and one often demanding a bans on the other’s key
products around the world.. But a new low was reached this week when both
had their patent lawsuit thrown out by a German court.
A spokesman for
the Mannheim state court said judges had dismissed both cases involving
ownership of the "slide-to-unlock" feature used on their
Apple has been victorious
in Germany having won a patent dispute against Motorola Mobility
regarding ‘slide-to-unlock’ in Munich last month and won a court decision
in Australia to ban the sale of Samsung's Galaxy tablet in that country -
a decision that was later overturned.
to level the score in a statement said: ‘We are disappointed that the
court did not share our views regarding the infringement by Apple of this
specific patent in Germany … We will continue to assert our intellectual
property rights and defend against Apple's claims to ensure our continued
ability to provide innovative mobile products to consumers.’ It has vowed
to appeal four alleged patent infringements still pending in Mannheim!
This war is a
naked display of power with each company hankering for domination. Power
however is finely balanced between them as Apple sells the best-selling iPhone and iPad devices,
while Samsung sells a range of phones that use Google's Android software.
However with the advent of Apple’s iPad 3 later
this month, both their lawyers must be rubbing their hands with relish.
Supply Reform suffers second setback in one year
It was announced
in Abuja early in the week that the opening bids for the privatisation
process of 17 succession companies of Power Holding Company of Nigeria,
PHCN, has been delayed until October 23, 2012 – some 14 months into the
allotted time for the planned reform process of electricity supply in
It had been announced
back in November 2011 that the process, fraught with a multitude of
problems, especially to allow for the incorporation of issues raised at a
conference, had been pushed back from the first to second quarter of
were also, early this week, hosted by the Senate Committee on Power to a
questions and answers session over an 800% increase in electricity
tariff. Minister of Power, Prof Bath Nnaji explained to the Senators that
although an increase was indeed contemplated, such increase varied from
11% for individual consumers to a high of 800% increase for industry
users. The Minister laid the problem at the media’s door saying ‘The
newspapers decided to report only the high end increase.’
He explained that
it was all an attempt to make operating tariff attractive to
yet-to-emerge investors to whom the existing power generating facilities
would eventually be sold.
convinced the Senators who based their worry over newspaper reports and
whose questions belied a deep understanding of the politics of
officials said in June 2011 that four thermal and two hydro power plants
and 11 electricity distribution firms would be sold by the first quarter
of 2012 but this was shifted back to second quarter of 2012 on November
Electricity supply in Nigeria is renowned for its obstinacy. A previous
government spent $10billion (or $16billion depending on whose account is
to count) without any result and industries have cried themselves hoarse
on effect of lack of the essential raw material of production.
thriving telecommunications industry which grew its telephone subscriber
base from 400,000 fixed lines to 90million mobiles in ten years has
consistently said it would no longer be able to grow more business until
power supply for industry use was improved.
President of a
Telco’s Association, ATCON, Mr Titi Omo-Ettu, who has consistently
criticised the ‘direction of travel’ of the power reform process said
recently that his Association would sue the Federal Government to Court
and press for damages if by end of 2013 there was no remarkable
improvement in public power supply for use of industry.
A Reuter’s Report
of November 29 2011 reproduced
privatisation delayed to Q2 2012
Tue Nov 29, 2011
Nigeria's power sector
privatisation will be completed by the second quarter of next year, the
presidential task force said on Tuesday, later than previously promised
as another key reform for Africa's most populous nation is delayed.
Nigeria holds the world's seventh largest gas reserves and is Africa's
largest crude oil exporter but only produces enough electricity to power
a medium-sized European city.
Goodluck Jonathan unveiled power privatisation plans 15 months ago and it
was pledged that state power generation and distribution assets would be
sold off this year.
Jonathan has set
out a 'transformation agenda' for Nigeria but plans to end fuel subsidies
and reforms to the mainstay energy sector are locked in parliamentary
dispute, while a sovereign wealth fund and next year's budget are
officials said in June that four thermal and two hydro power plants and
11 electricity distribution firms would be sold by the first quarter of
next year but this has been shifted back again.
expects to complete privatization of power sector by Q2 2012," Azu Obiaya, head of the
regulation and transactions in the presidential task force on power, said
at an industry conference in the commercial-hub Lagos.
He said Nigeria
was hoping to produce 6,000 megawatts of power by the end of next year,
up from the current 4,000 but still only scratching the surface of the
40,000 megawatts needed for a nation of around 150 million people.
Nigerian administrations have cashed-in on crude exports rather than
investing in plants to refine fuel or developing gas for domestic
consumption, which means diesel has to be imported at a huge cost for
it will need $10 billion a year of investment over the next decade to
meet its energy needs.
Portability confirmed for Q4-2012
during the week that with the SIM Card registration in its final phase
and about to be wound down, the proposed Mobile Number Portability will
commence in the last quarter of this year.
Vice-Chairman of NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, told the media in Abuja midweek
that a ‘combined registration of 110,433,976 SIM Cards have been
registered and the data is going through processing and cleaning at the
INEC’s INTRANET Infrastructure for South East
solution, built on fibre, was recently lit for Independent National
Electoral Commission, INEC in Enugu. The network provided by Phase3
Telecom provides perfect intranet for the Commission’s operation in South
East geo-political zone comprising of Enugu, Ebonyi,
Anambra, Imo, Abia
and Benue States; and links them to INEC headquarters in Abuja.
complemented the infrastructure with a training program which gave the
operatives in the various states the necessary skills to tackle any
issues that may arise on connectivity to and from the Abuja headquarters.
Stakeholders set for March 9 Dialogue over New ICT Policy
The Ministry of
Communication Technology announced during the week that it would augment
its consultation process to involve a larger audience of stakeholders to
review the recent draft ICT Policy which emanated from collaborative work
which critics said is pro-establishment coming at a time when deeper
private sector investments had revolutionised the Nigerian
Johnson said having met with industry Associations and professional
bodies, it would now hold an assembly with the larger stakeholder group
‘for robust discussions on the comments received by the Ministry on the
Proview wages war
against Apple in US Court
Apple’s woes in China
seem to be never-ending. This time it is facing a challenge to its use of
the iPad trademark which Proview Electronics
Co. - a unit of Proview International Holdings, claims it owns the iPad name. Proview filed a lawsuit against Apple's
use of the trademark in mainland China at the Santa Clara Superior Court
At the heart of
the legal skirmish between Apple and Proview is the claim by the latter
that the sale of the iPad China trademark to a
company representing Apple by its Taiwan affiliate in 2009 was invalid.
Proview has not challenged the sale of other worldwide rights to the iPad trademark to Apple in the 35,000 British pound
Proview's application for a provisional injunction to force Apple to halt
iPad sales, a court in Shanghai agreed to
Apple's request to suspend the decision until its appeal against an
earlier ruling on the iPad name dispute is
heard on 29 February. Sales of Apple's iPad
will be allowed to continue until then.
Apple won its
first court battle against Proview in Hong Kong but a mainland Chinese
court later sided with Proview, prompting Apple to appeal. Suffice to say
this will run and run.
Court to review ACTA
As a result of a
spate of protests across Europe in opposition to the controversial
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – the international treaty
aiming to standardise copyright protection measures, – there is evidence
that the authorities are reconsidering its legality and implications as
the European Union's highest court has been asked to undertake a judicial
review on the agreement.
Despite the fact
that the agreement has so far been signed by 22 EU member states as well
as Japan, Canada and the United States, this development lends credence
to rights campaigners who argue it could stifle free expression on the
EU trade head Karel De Gucht said the
court will be asked to clarify whether the treaty complied with ‘the EU's
fundamental rights and freedoms’.
Commission said it ‘decided today to ask the European Court of Justice
for a legal opinion to clarify that the Acta
agreement and its implementation must be fully compatible with freedom of
expression and freedom of the internet’.
can individually ratify the terms of the agreement, the EU whose backing
is considered vital if the proposal's aim of implementing consistent
standards for copyright enforcement measures are to be met, has decided
to proceed with caution.
role of mass opposition to the agreement, Mr De Gucht
told a news conference this week, ‘Let me be very clear: I share people's
concern for these fundamental freedoms... especially over the freedom of
articulated the argument of the agreement’s supporters that its purpose
was to protect the creative economy.
‘ACTA aims to raise global standards for intellectual
property rights," he said, adding that the treaty "will help
protect jobs currently lost because counterfeited, pirated goods worth
200bn euros are currently floating around’.
Acta's backers face strong opposition within the EU.
Viviane Reding, the commissioner for justice,
fundamental rights and citizenship. In her unambiguous opposition, she
wrote on Twitter:
‘For me, blocking
the Internet is never an option. We need to find new, more modern and
more effective ways in Europe to protect artistic creations that take
account of technological developments and the freedoms of the internet.’
is set to be debated by the
European Parliament in June.
On the heels of Supreme
Court’s ruling that Etisalat DB’s license be revoked, the Company
announced during the week it would shut down and look up to a future of
renewed investment in the Indian market. It also hinged its future
interest on ‘clarity on the auction process and telecommunications policy
and greater legal and regulatory certainty and stability’
announced it would shut down and transfer its customers to other
were indications that Etisalat was on its way to court to press for
damages against its Joint Venture Partners whom it claimed offered
misinformation in its acquisition process of Swan.
Hacktivists promise to shut down The Internet
March 31is target
The infamous Hacktivists group Anonymous, Internet’s Boko Haram, has threatened
to shut down the Internet for a period of time on March 31 to protest
SOPA (The Stop Online Piracy Act).
The group pledges
to bring down the 13 root DNS servers of the Internet,
and in their estimation “by cutting these off the Internet, nobody
will be able to perform a domain name lookup, thus, disabling the HTTP
Internet, which is, after all, the most widely used function of the Web.”
The group says anybody entering http://www.google.com or any other URL, will get an error page, and consequently “they
will think the Internet is down, which is close enough”.
The group says it
is aiming at ‘our irresponsible leaders and the beloved bankers who are
starving the world for their own selfish needs out of sheer sadistic
They say, however
that the act will last about an hour. 'Maybe more and may be even a few days' according to the statement.
early broadband penetration emerge
anecdotal evidence to support that the prospects of further proliferation
of broadband internet access in Nigeria.
Various critical collaborations
which promise to augment access and provide a basis for expansion of
broadband infrastructure are known to have emerged from the 2011
Broadband Investment Summit which was hosted by the Association of
Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria.
On one hand is
the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC whose Chief Executive Dr
Eugene Juwah told a Lagos audience two weeks ago that Consultants are at
work on the Commission’s inroad process. There are also collaborations in
which various interests are already confirmed. Included in these
synergies are ATCON, MainOne Cable Co, Phase3 Telecom, Dancom Technologies, Layer3, and several others.
New Law provides
mandatory access for people with disabilities
Government is known to be putting together an implementation Agency for
its Law against discrimination of people with disabilities which was
enacted in 2011. The Agency will be called The Office for Disability
The Law known as
Lagos State Special People’s Law 2011 provides a safeguard for people
living with disability against all forms of discrimination and equalise
their opportunities in all aspects of living in the society. It provides
mandatory welfare for citizens who live with disabilities on matters of
employment, access to technology on the job training, compensation,
social interaction and communication.
provides for every company whose business entails attending to the
general public shall within 5 (five) years transitory period have in
their employment personnel who are properly trained, adequately
knowledgeable and sufficiently competent to attend to its customers or
clients who are persons living with disability.
It also requires
that public buildings must be constructed with the necessary
accessibility aids such as lifts, ramps and others that shall make them
accessible and usable to persons living with disability and forbids
discrimination against a person living with disability in any manner.
the law requires that employers of labour employing up to 100 persons
shall reserve at least 1 % of such workforce for qualified persons living
inculcations that the law is a popular one among employers of labour many
of who think the law is as it should be.
Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria ATCON Mr. Titi
Omo-Ettu, for example said in Abuja at the weekend that the
telecommunications industry will welcome and embrace the law which he
described as ‘necessary, sensible, and commendable’. He said these are
the kind of steps that will take Nigeria out of underdevelopment into the
rank of ‘soon to be developed economies’
Commission and Lottery Commission sign MoU
Eugene Juwa and Peter Igho
Communications Commission, NCC, has absolved itself from any
responsibility for lotteries as it says
their regulation belongs firmly in the jurisdiction of the National
Lottery Regulatory Commission, NLRC.
Dr. Eugene Juwah,
Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC and Mr. Peter Igho,
Director General of the NLRC signed an MoU in Abuja during the week putting to rest the
confusion over telecom operators who engage in lotteries and who probably
claimed that their recognized regulator is NCC. According to Dr. Juwah,
“It is the lottery Commission that would say whether an activity is a
lottery, who has to pay what, how much to pay to a winner. And the
operators need to know that the lottery Commission does not need our
approval to enforce their laws against any operator who defaults in the
practice of lottery”,
Commissions advised phone users to differentiate between promos which are
mere incentives given to subscribers, and lottery which is a game of
chance where people are advised to enter based on some form of payments
or deductions after which a draw takes place where a winner is selected
by chance. He also explained that when the rules are followed, the NLRC
ensures that the winners get the exact thing promised by the lottery
operator and that the operators also pay appropriate fees and deductions
to the government in such way funds realized will be used for social and
infrastructure development and not for profiteering by the operating
Google's deal on
impending US$12.5 billion acquisition of mobile-phone and tablet maker
Motorola Mobility has moved ever close to reality following the approvals
the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission respectively.
The deal is not
in the bag yet as Google is still waiting for approvals from China (with
which it has a strained relation), Israel Taiwan and Canada.
regulators on both sides of the pond have given their approval, they
remain sceptical of Google – due to its dominance. It will appear that
they had approved the acquisition by default i.e. they could not make a
case for the acquisition not to go through. They went out of their way to
warn Google not to abuse the patents and they would be watching.
Earlier today, EU
Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia was
quoted as saying "This merger decision should not and will not mean
that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the
owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some
patents with its Android devices. This is our worry. … We might be obliged
to open some cases in the future. This is not enough to block the merger
but we will be vigilant.’
from Other Journals
urges ‘joined at the hip’ MTN, SPTC to cease hostilities
Telegeography, 17 Feb 2012
Minister of ICT Winnie Magagula
has publicly called for an end to the ongoing hostilities between
national telecoms regulator the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunication
Corporation (SPTC) and the country’s sole wireless operator MTN
Swaziland. According to the Times of Swaziland, Magagula
said that she hopes that the dispute – which relates to SPTC’s attempts to launch fixed-wireless services
under the ‘ONE’ brand name – can be solved in the boardroom rather than
the courtroom, arguing that the two entities cannot do without one
another as they are ‘joined at the hip’. MTN believes that ONE
contravenes the long-standing Joint Venture Agreement that forbids SPTC
from competing with it, but SPTC maintains that it faces financial
collapse if it abandoned the fixed-wireless initiative, on account of the
substantial sum already invested in it.
During a tour of MTN’s facilities this week, Magagula
told board members and staff: ‘I have to see to it that there is harmony
between the two companies. There is no way that the government can sit
back and watch the fight. Swazi MTN is a child of SPTC and therefore
there is no way you can run away from each other. You are a creature of
statutes. You are stuck together. I also told SPTC the same thing. I urge
you to harmonise your relationship. We have to move out of court
corridors and to the boardroom. I urge MTN and SPTC to rekindle the
relationship that existed from 1997. Once you harmonise you will give
cheaper services to citizens’.
Student Facebook hacker gets eight months
by Chris Matyszczyk February 18, 2012 for news.cnet
development student in the U.K. who hacked into Facebook
via an employee's account is jailed after being found guilty of stealing
parents who tell you they're doing something unpleasant for your own
However, this was
also the explanation offered by 26-year-old Glenn Mangham, who was
yesterday given eight months of incarceration for hacking into Facebook's inner sanctum.
records Mangham's words to the court: "It was to identify
vulnerabilities in the system so I could compile a report that I could
then bundle over to Facebook and show them what
was wrong with their system."
I know there are
at least 14 altruistic people in the world. This court, though, seems to
have decided that Mangham, a software development student, wasn't one of
proceedings dwelled a little on what might have been his motivation for
using a Facebook employee's account to burrow
into the company's secrets.
suggested that his client was really a sort of Harrison Ford or Nicolas
Cage: "He saw this as a challenge. This is someone who in previous
times would have thrown everything aside to seek the source of the
Oddly, even the
judge decided that Mangham had not done this for financial gain, nor even
to pass the information he had gleaned to dangerous entities like the KGB
And yet he was
tossed into jail for eight months--principally, it seems, because he
entered the systems of an important company.
actually declared: "You accessed the very heart of the system of an
international business of massive size, so this was not just fiddling
about in the business records of some tiny business of no great
conclude, therefore, that British justice is rather more inclined to
protect the 1 percent and their businesses, rather than the 99 percent.
Such a conclusion
might cause certain upper lips to stiffen with anger, given this apparent
indifference to justice for all.
clearly knows a thing or two about Facebook.
Perhaps, once his time inside is done, he might receive a lunch
invitation or two--just to, you know, see if he
can offer a little background.
least, he might visit a bier keller with
Austrian law student Max Schrems, who is
enjoying a very noble and interesting battle to help people get
information from Facebook--their own.
OIC- CERT hires
Cyber-security expert as Advisor
Abdul Hakeem Ajijjola
The Chair of the
Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) Computer Emergency Response Team
(OIC-CERT), Malaysia’s Professor Dato’ Husin Bin Jazri has
appointed Nigeria’s Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola as his
Advisor. The appointment took effect from January 1, 2012.
The mission of
the OIC-CERT is to provide a platform for member countries to collaborate
in matters pertaining to cyber security, strengthen their self-reliance
in cyberspace and support the smooth collaboration and cooperation
between CERTs among the OIC member countries
and other CERT stakeholders.
Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola is Executive Chairman, Consultancy Support
Services (CS2) Ltd., an Information Communication Technology (ICT)/ Cyber
Security, Human Resources and Organization Effectiveness consultancy
firm, based in Abuja. He served as Senior Special Assistant Innovation
and Technology to the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President
and Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria from 1999-2010 and is
a very well regarded cyber-security expert in the Nigerian ICT industry.
NCC refutes ‘N75
Million for Toilet Doors’ story
Communications Commission (NCC) has refuted recent media reports
suggesting that the Commission was queried by the House of
Representatives for budgeting N75million for just toilet doors and keys.
Reuben Muoka, Head, Media and Public Relations of the
Commission said the tone of the report were clearly contrary to the
atmosphere of understanding that pervaded the budget defence by the
Commission and described the reports as mere fabrication of inaccuracies
and misrepresentation of facts.
Mr. Muoka said the sum of N75 Million under reference was
for major works which were fully evaluated by the Commission before the
budget submission. They include repainting of the external walls of the
Commission’s headquarters building, repairs and repainting of the steel
roof structures. This is in addition to a major face lift of the
reception areas, waiting room, two-wing canteen facilities with several
equipments, provision of directional signs in the 9-storey edifice of the
Commission, in addition to replacement of old and unbefitting toilet
doors and locks.
He said “There
was also no query by the Committee on the provision of the sum of N30
Million in the budget for procurement of furniture at the headquarters of
the Commission, and four Zonal Offices in
Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, and Ibadan. The N10 Million provision for
air conditioners at the headquarters building is for the phased
replacement of some air conditioners which have served out their useful
life as procurement of new ones is more cost effective than the high cost
of maintaining the old ones”.
shows its mettle
and proliferation, one the area of greatest progress in telecoms has been
made in respect of the conventional role of the authorities in
determining the regulatory rules and applying them. Whether it is the FCC
or the NCC, the regulator has been instrumental in reforming the
conventional prudential regulatory framework and its application through
In the UK, the
telecoms regulator OFCOM is calling for the reduction of the cost of
broadband and landline services for consumers in line with similar calls
by the European Commission.
It is difficult
to ascertain whether it is a response to simmering resentment towards BT
from other providers on the issue of its dominance, but Ofcom, for the third time, has set the prices that Openreach - the infrastructure division of the BT
Group - charges. It advocates BT reduces the cost of a broadband and
phone line from £91.50 a year to £87.41, and to reduce the cost of a
broadband only line from £14.70 a year to £11.92.
have been submitted to the European Commission, which has a month to
comment on the changes. If approved, Ofcom
expects the changes to come into force from April.
Naturally BT is
unhappy and expresses its dissatisfaction with what it says are the
underlying assumptions on which Ofcom has made
its deliberations on the latest charge controls and may lodge an appeal.
In a statement,
BT said: ‘Our primary concern throughout this process is to ensure that
we are able to achieve a fair rate of return to continue our investment
in the future of the UK's communications infrastructure.’
Ofcom said the proposed price cuts had taken into
account the contentious issue of the cost of running the network of
underground ducts used to carry copper lines to properties which had
provoked hostilities from other communication providers which forced to
revise its draft prices a year ago.
pays the ultimate price
It has been a
tumultuous few months at Yahoo. First its CEO Carol Bartz
was forced to quit by the Yahoo board in September for failing to
turn around the company’s flagging fortunes; over Christmas, the talk was
of colleagues ‘walking out of the office with boxes at night’; In
January co-founder Jerry Yang had to resign from its board after 16
years for turning down a $47.5bn (£31bn) takeover offer from Microsoft in
2008 – calamitous decision given Yahoo's share price has hovered around
$15 ever since late 2008, after Yang rejected an acquisition offer from
Microsoft of $33 a share.
Now, in what is
either shareholders further venting their spleen or a complete break from
the past, Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock has become
the latest casualty in the leadership shake-up at the beleaguered company
as it attempts to turn around its fortunes to regain investor confidence.
In the latest shake-up, Bostock announced that
he and three other directors - Vyomesh Joshi,
Gary Wilson and Arthur Kern would not stand for re-election. As the
company is also in active discussions to sell its Asian assets, including
a stake in Alibaba, the Chinese internet firm
ironically interested in buying Yahoo, perhaps it is a case of ‘new
broom sweeps clean’ with most of its directors being new to the
board this year, and all directors will have joined since 2010.
Yahoo has witnessed a 40 basis points drop in its
explicit core search engine share which came down to 14.1 percent in
January from 14.5 percent in December. Its competitor Google, on the
other hand, extended its gains by another 30 basis points to settle at
66.2 percent in the same period. With such damning figures, it was
inevitable that heads will roll.
FG gets NSE’s nod for privatization of Engineering Companies
Government’s privatization programme under which engineering companies
are privatized received a boost on Saturday when President of Nigerian
Society of Engineers endorsed it and forecast that $10billion would be
generated annually for the next decade if the programme is successful.
Engr Mustapha Balarabe Shehu who was
inaugurated as 28th President of the Association told Nigerians
that the on-going power sector reform/privatization exercise is expected
to open a new line of business that will see the injection of not less
than $10billion per annum for the next decade, ‘if the exercise
He however warned
that ‘if Nigeria does not position itself well, the massive injection of
capital, mostly from foreign firms from India, China and Europe will not
be domiciled in-country’ The consequence of such a scenario which we have
already seen in other sectors of the economy will be catastrophic for
Nigeria because an influx of foreign engineers, technologists,
technicians and artisans will result in unemployment for Nigerians.
He suggested that
the privatized companies allocate their shareholding in the order of 30%,
15%, 35% and 20% to the Nigerian public, workers of the enterprise, the
core investor, and Federal Government respectively.