Digital migration: Hurdles Nigeria Must Cross in 30 Months

TODAY is Wednesday, December 12, 2012. We are all looking forward to the peak of the festive season — Christmas — which comes up in another 13 days. Part of the efforts to celebrate Christmas in a grand style, by many families is the purchase of new television sets, and for those with a little more empowerment, subscription with a pay-TV service provider, all with one goal in mind — entertainment, information, and education, all at the press of a button on the remote commander. Good!

Fast-forward to June 17, 2015. 19 days earlier, on May 29, another set of political office holders would have been sworn-in, after general elections that would have held in April. Imagine that just 19 days after a new federal administration would have been in office, majority of Nigerians could no longer see their leaders on TV.

If that was bad enough, the same majority could no longer receive signals on their TV sets from their favourite local stations — AIT, Channels, Silverbird, and the 34 state TV stations. Even the broadcast behemoth, NTA, and its 58 channels are off air!

What is happening? What has happened? Very likely, Nigerians would reach for their handsets and start calling friends and acquaintances.

“Ol’boy, your TV dey work? My own no dey work o!”

“Na so I see am o! My own too no work, even my neighbour own sef. Wetin dey happen?”

Conversations like this would dominate the airwaves from June 17, 2015, if the Nigerian government and stakeholders in the broadcast industry do not gird their loins and spring into action immediately.

What will happen on June 17, 2015

On this day and date, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will effect a switch-off of all analogue broadcast signals worldwide. In 2006, Nigeria, and other countries of the world signed a treaty agreement at the conclusion of ITU’s Regional Radiocommunication Conference (RRC-06) in Geneva, which treaty heralded development of all digital terrestrial broadcast services for sound and television. What this means is that worldwide, every nation is expected to complete a migration, or transition, as NBC D-G, Yomi Bolariwa said, from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Culled from VANGUARD

MTN Plans $1.3 billion Upgrade For 2013

imagesSouth African telecommunications firm MTN is planning to improve its facilities nationwide investing about $1.3 billion for 2013. This is in a resolve to ensure that it maintains its capacity and leadership in the Nigerian mobile technology market.

This investment is strategically positioned to give its 45 million subscribers more valuable and cutting edge services, even as it plans to gain more leverage in the mobile market through various services planned ahead.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Company Mr Brett Goschen believes the investment is a worthwhile and incisive one which would go a long way to assert the dominance of the network through its vast and upgraded facilities.

He said this while commissioning a new customer experience centre tagged ‘Yello City’.

His words: “We have invested $1.3 billion on the network in 2012 alone. This covers the extensive network optimisation and swap out exercise, which we embarked on in June 2012 and which is now at an advanced stage. And by 2013, we hope to double the investment by putting in another $1.3bn for infrastructure expansion.”

Infrastructure and up to date facilities have been of utmost priority to the South African group as it realizes how stiff the competition is with the other Telcos like Airtel, Globacom, Etisalat, and Visafone.

2012 witnessed some slight challenges for the network in ensuring customers enjoy access to good network and value added services. At the Enugu NCC parliament the customers complained majorly about the MTN network service delivery but with the decision to sustain the investment level in Infrastructure, the Company is definitely poised to show market leadership.

Mr. Akin Braithwaite, the Customer Relations Executive, MTN Nigeria, speaking on the Yello City Initiative said “The Initiative is much larger than our services and retail outlets giving more value to customers”.

The CEO Mr. Goschens went unto apologize to Nigerians for the poor service they experienced at several occasions from the Network which affected service level expectation. He assured its subscribers in the Nation that MTN will step up its game and improve its network quality.

Culled from Businessnews

Etisalat Appointed First GSM Apple Authorised Reseller in Nigeria

With the growing demand for Apple products in Nigeria, especially the iPad and iPhone range of smartphones, innovative telecommunications company, Etisalat Nigeria has en tered into a deal with Core Group Africa, the Apple authorized distributor for Nigeria, to make its products readily available across the country.

The deal makes Etisalat the first mobile network operator to become an authorised resel ler of various Apple iPads and accessories in Nigeria.

Announcing this in Lagos, Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr Wael Ammar said that with the signing of the agreement between the two companies, Etisalat will be the first telecommunications operator permitted to sell Apple’s iPad in selected retail outlets spread across the country, while offering a two-year warranty cover on all iPad devices sold.

In addition, he announced, the company will also be offering customers who purchase the products at its Experience Centres with an unbeatable 12-month free internet data access on its easy blaze product. According to Ammar, “as part of our promise to provide our customers with value added propositions, Etisalat as the first mobile network operator to be an official Reseller for Apple in Nigeria, will also be offering our customers 12 months free data on all iPads purchased at our Experience Centres and sales outlets, and the products come with a two-year warranty”.

He however pointed out that the two-year warranty will only apply once the subscriber registers the iPad purchased from Etisalat on www.isocietynigeria.com.

He assured that the company is ready and well positioned to provide its customers with best support services and support on iPad in Nigeria. He said that with the deal, Nigerians are now able to purchase authentic iPad products in Nigeria with the peace of mind that this will be fully supported locally.

The new iPad which was officially launched in Nigeria by Core Group Africa, redefines the category which Apple created a few years ago, delivering the most amazing experience people have ever had with technology.

Culled from VANGUARD

New Blackberry 10 looks like an Apple product – iPhone in disguise?

BB-10-300x208 (1)These pictures purport to show the phone which BlackBerry maker Research In Motion hopes will halt its seemingly inexorable slide out of the mobile business.

Sourced from a Vietnamese tech news site they show a gadget that’s sleek, shiny and futuristic – and that looks suspiciously like an iPhone.

The images suggest Research In Motion has finally dropped the full keyboard that was their brand’s virtual trademark in favour of a full touchscreen device.

They purport to show the BlackBerry 10 L-Series, which is expected to be released at the end of January.

The images are similar to the handset shown in previous leaks, but are far clearer than those previously seen, many of which were blurry.
Pictures of the side of the device shows it boasts not only a micro-USB connector, but also a slot for a micro-HDMI cable, which could enable it to connect to high resolution external displays.

Expert Reviews says this suggests that RIM could be planning to bundle the phone with film rental services, which Apple and Google already do with their operating systems.
The rear side shots of the phone reveals it is textured for grip, and further photos show that, unlike some new smartphones like Motorola’s latest Android-based Razr, it has a removable cover.

A peek inside the phone shows slots for a micro-SIM and microSD memory card, along with a removable 1,800mAh battery.

The images only show the device switched off, experts have noted, so it is impossible to see the software that the phone is using.

A peek inside the phone shows slots for a micro-SIM and microSD memory card
The images were first leaked by Vietnamese site Tinhte.vn, which says the phone feels ‘very comfortable’ to hold, but refuses to go into details of where they got hold of the device.

The BlackBerry 10 L-Series is likely to be the make or break device for Research In Motion, which has gone from being the executive smartphone of choice to fast becoming an also ran in the mobile market.

Last month one analyst warned investors to ditch their shares in the Canadian firm, predicting that the BlackBerry 10 OS will be ‘dead on arrival’ when it finally launches in 2013.

Bloomberg quoted James Faucette of Pacific Crest Securities as telling investors: ‘We expect the new OS to be met with a lukewarm response at best and ultimately likely to fail.’

The company has said it will release its next generation of smartphones on January 30.

Culled from Dailypost

Boko Haram: US general in Nigeria after warning over African Islamists

HaramA top US general visited Nigeria on Tuesday after recently warning that collaboration between Islamist extremist groups in the region posed risks Africa-wide as well as to Europe and the United States.

General Carter Ham, head of US Africa Command, met President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, where Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has been carrying out a deadly insurgency in the country’s north and centre.

Ham recently spoke of concerns over indications of collaboration between Boko Haram and an Al-Qaeda affiliate in northern Africa, which he warned has found a safehaven in northern Mali, where Islamists have taken control.

A statement from Nigeria’s presidency said Jonathan discussed issues including Boko Haram and asked for US support in resolving such problems.

“President Jonathan also briefed General Ham on his visit to Mali and the efforts by ECOWAS to resolve the conflict in that country, adding that the situation could still be contained if the right steps are taken quickly,” it said.

Jonathan attended an October summit in Bamako to discuss winning back northern Mali from the Islamists.

ECOWAS, a 15-nation regional bloc, says it wants to deploy 3,300 troops to reclaim northern Mali and is waiting for approval from the UN.

Meanwhile, Malian Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra quit Tuesday under pressure from influential former putschists who are opposed to a military intervention.

Ham recently told an audience in Washington that he was concerned about indications of growing links between African extremist groups that could pose a threat across the continent as well as to Europe and the United States.

“We have seen clear indications of collaboration amongst the organisations,” he said.

“In one instance … we believe and have seen reports that Boko Haram is receiving financial support, probably training, probably some explosives, from Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, and in a relationship that goes both ways.”

There has long been intense scrutiny over whether Boko Haram is forming operational ties with other extremist groups.

Diplomats have said previously that there has been evidence of Boko Haram members seeking training in northern Mali, but not of operational links.

The US has declared three Nigerian extremists “global terrorists,” but has declined to label Boko Haram as a whole a terrorist group due to its nebulous nature and domestic focus, among other factors.

It is believed to include various factions with differing aims, in addition to imitators and criminal gangs that carry out violence under the guise of the group.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer. Its 160 million population is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south

culled from Vanguard

BlackBerry Messenger 7 Adds Free Wi-Fi Voice Calls

BBM-Voice-Call-300x336Research in Motion has recently announced that with BBM 7, users can now make voice calls to other BBM users around the world over a Wi-Fi connection with a new feature called BBM Voice. BBM 7 is available now in BlackBerry App World for devices running BlackBerry 6 OS and higher with support planned for smartphones running the BlackBerry 5 OS early next year.

BBM 7 also introduces multitasking with split-screen, which allows users to BBM, check email, or use other apps while on a BBM Voice call; new compatibility with Bluetooth headsets and accessories, 16 new emoticons; direct BBM Update Notification that provides in-app alerts when new versions of an app are available and an easier way to synchronize BBM profiles; Groups; and Contacts with BBIDs for simpler backup and restores.

“BBM began as a convenient and effective business messaging tool, and today it is an essential part of daily communications for customers around the world,” said T.A. McCann, RIM’s Vice President of BBM and Social Communities. ”Now, with BBM version 7, customers have a new option: they can text and talk with their BBM contacts near and far, for free.”

Culled from theherald

Interconnectivity Rates for Telecoms to Drop

telecom_providers-300x224The over 100 million active mobile subscriber base in Nigeria, are set to enjoy new reduced and affordable call rates between telecommunications networks.

This comes at a time the Regulatory body for the Mobile Telecommunications Industry the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is set to review a new price regime for Industry players even as the current regime is to expire by December 31, 2012.

The consideration for a New interconnectivity rate will affect the local call tariffs in the country, a development that is appealing and pleasant to Nigerians who continue to bemoan the current interconnectivity rates.

It will be recalled that the NCC Parliament for the year 2012 had representatives of subscribers in the Nation complaining about their challenges with interconnnectivity local tariff rates.

With the Intervention of the Communication Commission again on the price regime of the call rates, Nigerians will be encouraged to use their lines, which means more revenue for the Telcos in the country.

Industry players like Airtel and Globacom want the interconnectivity rate to be reviewed downwards from the current price of N9.00, which they believed was too high for the business.

Comparatively an Airtel Nigeria Executive in his analysis stated that the Interconnect price regime in India, is as low as N5.00, and believes that Nigeria can come to that level which will bring a boost to the Industry.

The current price regime of December 2006 by review shows that it oos favourable to the operators as they take N11.52 for any call originating from fixed lines and any one terminating on a GSM Network.

It is expected that the new price regime will encourage more competition amongst the operators, increase the subscriber base and empower existing ones to use their lines.

Culled from Busnessnews

Common ‘cat parasite’ influences human behaviour

Researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have demonstrated for the first time how Toxoplasma, a common “cat parasite” parasite enters the human brain to influence its host.

The parasite has previously been in the spotlight owing to its observed effect on risk-taking and other human behaviours. To some extent, it has also been associated with mental illness.

“We believe that this knowledge may be important for the further understanding of complex interactions in some major public health issues, that modern science still hasn’t been able to explain fully,” says Antonio Barragan, researcher at the Center for Infectious Medicine at Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control.

“At the same time, it’s important to emphasize that humans have lived with this parasite for many millennia, so today’s carriers of Toxoplasma need not be particularly worried.”

The current study, which is published in the scientific journal PLoS Pathogens, was led by Dr Barragan and conducted together with researchers at Uppsala University.

Toxoplasmosis is caused by the extremely common Toxoplasma gondii parasite. Between 30 and 50 per cent of the global population is thought to be infected, and an estimated twenty per cent or so of people in Sweden.

The infection is also found in animals, especially domestic cats.
People contract the parasite mostly by eating the poorly cooked flesh of infected animals or through contact with cat faeces.

The infection causes mild flu-like symptoms in adults and otherwise healthy people before entering a chronic and dormant phase, which has previously been regarded as symptom-free. It is, however, known that toxoplasmosis in the brain can be fatal in people with depleted immune defence and in fetuses, which can be infected through the mother.

Because of this risk, pregnant women are recommended to avoid contact with cat litter trays.

A number of studies have been presented in recent years showing that the toxoplasmosis parasite affects its host even during the dormant phase. It has, for example, already been observed that rats become unafraid of cats and even attracted by their scent, which makes them easy prey. This has been interpreted as the parasite assuring its survival and propagation, since the consumed rat then infects the cat, which through its faces can infect the food that other rats might then proceed to eat.

Studies also confirm that mental diseases like schizophrenia, depression and anxiety syndrome are more common in people with toxoplasmosis, while others suggest that toxoplasmosis can influence how extroverted, aggressive or risk-inclined an individual’s behaviour is.

culled from Vanguard

Lagos to Kano mass transit train service begins operation – Sijuwade

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, Mr Adeseyi Sijuwade, yesterday said that theLagos toKano mass transit train service would commence operations on December 20.

Sijuwade made the announcement at the first management retreat of the corporation, held in Lekki,Lagos.

According to him, the rehabilitation of the tracks fromLagostoKano, including bridges and culverts has been completed for the commencement of the train service.

He assured commuters from eitherLagostoKanoorKanotoLagos safe and cheap rail transport services during the yuletide.

“This formal launch would be announced soon to ensure the resumption of full inter-state mass transit services along the rail tracks on weekdays,” he said.

The managing director said further that adequate security would be put in place with the collaboration of the police and Man-O-War before the commencement of the service.

He also said that the rehabilitation of eastern railway lines terminating atMaiduguriwas in progress, adding that trains would begin to move on the corridor in 2013.

He had earlier said that the retreat was aimed at bringing out the potential of the NRC.

Sijuwade stressed the need for strategic management of assets and facilities of the corporation in line with the organisation’s vision and mission.

Culled from VANGUARD

WaveTek Partners Carlson Wireless on Broadband Coverage in Africa

Nigeria’s quest to take broadband to every home across the country regardless of location has started yielding the expected results as WaveTek Nigeria has signed a partnership agreement with Carlson Wireless Technologies US to develop the adoption of TV White Spaces to meet the growing demand for broadband coverage in Africa.

Although the deployment is not limited to Nigerian market, this development is expected to give fillip to Internet usage in the region by delivering high-speed, low-cost broadband access and penetration particularly to “last mile” customers in un-served and under-served areas.

Speaking about the project recently, the CEO of WaveTek Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ken Spann said, ‘’This agreement with Carlson is another firm step to assist Nigeria’s drive to bring Broadband to all areas of Nigeria, adding that, “Introducing Super Wi-Fi at this point in time is very significant for the region because it means that finally, Africans in every corner, be it the big cities, suburbs or hinterlands, can become global players by having unhindered access to the Internet. More importantly, is the issue of affordability as to the costs of access are lower when compared to current ace methods.”

Also speaking, James Carlson, CEO of Carlson explained, “We are excited to partner with WaveTek Nigeria on this ground-breaking initiative. This relationship symbolises a great opportunity for Carlson to register and significantly grow its presence in Nigeria, a vibrant and key market, and extend it to other parts of Africa in a short space of time.”

Greater broadband penetration, he said is expected to contribute significantly to the African economy. As contained in a report presented on behalf of the Minister of Communications, Ms. Mobola Johnson at the United States/Nigeria infrastructure conference in Washington DC last October .

The Minister said, “In the second quarter of 2012, the Telecommunication & Postal sector was the primary driver of growth of the Nigerian economy. The sector is the fourth highest contributor to the nation’s GDP (29.77%).”

Recognising that the availability of broadband is a vital component of global competition, the presentation also mentioned that connecting Nigerians and bridging the “Digital Divide” is also top FGN Priority.

Super Wi-Fi technology uses the TV channel frequency spectrum that were originally used by analogue TV, but which were freed up in the US by the digital switchover in 2009.

These channels, 8MHz blocks in the VHF and UHF ranges (54-790MHz), (otherwise known as TV whitespaces) are capable of carrying up to 20Mbps over a distance of up to 18 miles (30km). Multiple channels can be bonded together to create faster links.

The reason 802.22 white space connectivity is desirable is that unlike the traditional Wi-Fi, low-frequency VHF and UHF signals travel longer distances, cover a wider range with less infrastructure as well as overcome barriers caused by heavy foliage or topographical challenges.

These low-frequency signals are the reason that single, huge TV transmitters can broadcast a signal to millions of homes and why higher-frequency services, such as cellular radio, require broadcast towers every few miles.

Additionally, this technology is the first to use Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, simultaneously overcoming the existing scarcity of spectrum and other pervasive limitations of legacy wireless communication systems

Culled from VANGUARD

Ford to Recall 2013 Escape, Fusion Models to Address Engine Fire Risk

FORD is issuing a voluntary safety recall of 2013 Escape SUV and Fusion sedans equipped with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine over concerns they can overheat, creating a fire risk.

Ford is advising customers to contact their dealers to arrange alternative transportation, at no cost, until a repair can be made. At this time, the repair process and parts are being developed, with no announced date for availability. Customers will be notified when the work can be performed.

Affected models can be identified by their vehicle identification number (VIN), located at the base of the windshield. Recalled models will have as the eight character an “X” for Escapes or “R” on Fusions. Owners can also log into Ford.com and check for recalls under the “Support” tab.

All other Escape and Fusion variations are not included in this campaign.

Drivers experiencing the problems have reported that high engine temperatures led to engine fires, preceded by a dash warning that included a chime and display of “Engine Power Reduced to Lower Temps” or “Engine over temp, stop safely.” If symptoms are experienced, Ford advises pulling over and turning the vehicle off. The automaker will cover expenses related to overheating incidents.

There have been no injuries reported thus far.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists four other recalls for the 2013 Ford Escape, including one issued in September. Consumer Reports owns both the recalled models, and like thousands of drivers, we’ll take our Escape and Fusion to the local dealership when a repair is available.

Culled from GUARDIAN