15 Aug 2013

Wolfgang Petersen, Intel: "Operators should cooperate with manufacturers to establish products demanded by consumers"

Wolfgang Petersen
Hear from Wolfgang Petersen, Director of Developer Relation Division (DRD) for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Intel.

AfricaCom team caught up with Wolfgang Petersen ahead of the AfricaCom Conference and Exhibition, taking place at the CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa - 12-14 November to find out a bit more about his experiences and focus at the event.


AfricaCom: How is Intel positioned in the African market?
Wolfgang Petersen: Africa has entered a high economic growth path. It reminds me of China 10-15 years ago. Intel’s vision is: This decade we will create and extend computing technology to connect and enrich the lives of every person on earth. With this in mind Intel will keep on investing into Africa to make the vision become reality.

AfricaCom: What strategies should operators put in place to maximise profitability in Africa ?
Wolfgang Petersen: Operators should cooperate with hardware and software manufacturers to establish products and services demanded by consumers and businesses. They must establish the infrastructure to allow everybody to access information to avoid a digital divide. 

AfricaCom:  How is the demand for data impacting operators' networks and how can they address it most efficiently?
Wolfgang Petersen: Data centre hardware (Server, storage, networks) need to be in place to ensure the accessibility of information and to provide space and computing performance for the masses. Wireless networks are mandatory to reach out to rural areas.

AfricaCom:  What will have the biggest impact on the African telecoms market in the future?
Wolfgang Petersen: Education will play a very crucial role. Quality of education for everybody is essential to move Africa to the next level.

AfricaCom:  How does Intel work with app developers? How different is the African developers ecosystem from other regions?
Wolfgang Petersen: African developers are focusing on mobile apps. The smartphone is the first computing device people hold in their hands.  This is very different from mature markets where the PC is the first computing device. The African developer ecosystem is much younger than anywhere else in the world and therefore they are not encumbered by history.

AfricaCom:  What is the main message you would like to address to African operators, developers and their partners?
Wolfgang Petersen: Develop products, solutions and services for Africa. Do not try to copy what is available outside of Africa.

AfricaCom:  What do want to achieve at AfricaCom this year?
Wolfgang Petersen: To enable and encourage developers to focus on their strength and to come up with wonderful products from Africa for Africa.

Join Wolfgang Petersen at AfricaCom. Register Now - See below!


Click here for your Free Exhibition ticket 

Click here to apply for your Free Conference pass (If you qualify - See below)
Or purchase your Conference pass here

 Find out if you qualify for a Free Conference pass HERE

14 Aug 2013

Looking out for consumers' rights and needs, meet CEON at NigeriaCom

Chukwuyere Izuogu is the Legal Counsel – Telecommunications Sector for CEON


The Com World Series team caught up with Chukwuyere ahead of the NigeriaCom conference and exhibition, taking place at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, 17-18 September to find out a bit more about his experiences and focus at the event


Com World Series: How is your company positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?

Consumers Empowerment Organisation of Nigeria (CEON) is a research-based advocacy Non-Governmental and Not-Profit making Consumer Advocacy Group established in 1995 to strengthen Consumer Protection and Competition Regimes in Nigeria.
 For over 15 years, CEON has been carrying-out activities in its two core areas (Consumer Protection and Monitoring Anti-competitive Practices) in Nigeria through Research, Advocacy, Awareness Raising, Networking and Collaboration with the relevant stakeholders and Government Agencies. CEON currently enjoys good working relationship with select Federal Government Agencies like the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and Federal Ministry of Trade & Investment (FMT&I). CEON also have good visibility among International Donor Agencies like: DFID; IDRC Canada; ECOWAS Commission, Abuja; Ministry of Foreign Affairs Canada; DFID-ENABLE Nigeria, DFID-GEMS3 Nigeria among other donor agencies.
 Apart from our working collaboration with relevant local stakeholders and select Federal Government Agencies, CEON is also affiliated and a member of some select International Consumer Protection and Competition bodies like:UNCTAD Research Partnership Platform on Competition Law and Consumer Protection Policies (UNCTAD-RPP);  Consumers International (CI) The global campaigning voice for consumers with over 220 member organisations in 115 countriesAfrican Consumer Protection Dialogue (the `African Dialogue) – an effort on behalf of African Government, NGOs, and the U.S. Federal trade Commission to create informal opportunities to interface with each other, the U.S. and the rest of the world on consumer protection issuesInternational Network of Civil Society Organisations on Competition (INCSOC) – A Coalition of 135 members from 61 Countries promoting a Healthy Competition Culture around the WorldNetwork for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT) - A Network of 98 Organisations from more than 50 countries in the World advocating a tough, enforceable Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and End Water Poverty – An international civil society coalition that campaigns to end the global water and sanitation crisis. The coalition has over 180 member organizations in 45 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.


Com World Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your business in the region in 2013?

The voice market appears to be nearing saturation in Nigeria, hence interest in data is on the increase. Several international submarine cables have landed in Nigeria, though middle-mile and last-mile connectivity remains a challenge for consumers to benefit from the untapped bandwidth.  


Com World Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues?

In the opinion of CEON, connectivity and quality of telecommunications services can be improved by mandating infrastructure sharing amongst licensees under the Communications Act. To this end, NCC should by rulemaking impose specific obligations on all licensees providing communications services to enter into infrastructure sharing agreements with competing licensees. This in CEON’s opinion will lower barriers to entry, facilitate network deployment and promote competition in the market for telecommunications services.
 Also and most importantly, infrastructure sharing impacts positively on consumer welfare as the resultant savings may be passed on to consumers in the form of improved quality of service and decreasing prices consistent with the core object of CEON.


Com World Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria?

Cloud services is still a still a new phenomenon in Nigeria. With respect to smart phones and tablets, access to the internet has greatly improved and consumers now have a range of various mobile content/apps to choose from, as it is no surprise that mobile devices are now the primary means of accessing the internet in Nigeria.


Com World Series: In your opinion, which companies are spearheading innovation in the region and what can be learnt from them?

In our own opinion, we would say all the GSM service providers are trying hard to provide innovative service offerings to their various subscribers, however we beg of NCC to pay more regulatory attention by encouraging investment in the mobile content service providers using short code space as recent research from news media suggest the potential of the mobile content space to generate revenue in excess to $11.5 Billion by 2014 and also, innovation in mobile content services is likely to promote increased consumption of mobile content which drives mobile content service providers to invest in more innovation thus creating a demand driven “virtuous circle” of innovation and investment consistent with the object of the Communications Act.


Com World Series: Who are you most looking forward to meeting/hearing from and what do you hope to achieve from taking part in NigeriaCom?

We intend meet with the regulator (NCC) and industry participants to achieve more visibility in our work as a consumer advocacy group. 

Airtel's head of regulatory affairs and special projects provides insight into the Nigerian market

Osondu Nwokoro is the Director of Regulatory Affairs and Special Projects at Airtel Nigeria


Osondu Nwokoro is the Director of Regulatory Affairs and Special Projects at Airtel Nigeria.

The Com World Series team caught up with Osondu ahead of the NigeriaCom conference and exhibition, taking place at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, 17-18 September to find out a bit more about his experiences and focus at the event. 


Com World Series: How is your company positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?

Osondu Nwokoro: Airtel Nigeria is a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, India, the third largest mobile telecoms company in the world that has presence in 21 countries across Asia and Africa. Airtel draws from this global experience to run its operations in Nigeria. Basically, we are positioned by coverage, quality and innovative products offered at competitive rates as distinguishing features for our operations in Nigeria.
Airtel’s future objective is to become the most loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians. Airtel has deployed the most extensive 3G network coverage across Nigeria, pursuant to our goal of becoming the leader in the mobile broadband segment of the industry . We are very pleased to say that this target is being achieved as a Study by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) shows that Airtel recorded the highest percentage growth of 92% in data segment within the period June 2012 to March 2013.


Com World Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your business in the region in 2013?

Osondu Nwokoro: The Nigerian market currently has the largest number of blackberry subscriptions in the world and this is expected to impact positively on data usage, which is projected to be a major driver for the industry in 2013 and beyond. The number of internet users in the country is put at below 50million with penetration rate of 28.6% (as of March 2013), which represents very huge untapped market potential for the industry. The three trends that will facilitate data uptake are the ongoing extensive 3G infrastructure roll out, the country’s large youthful population which stands at over 65% and the increasing number of smartphones in the industry.


Com World Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues?

Osondu Nwokoro: The absence of reliable electricity power supply and high cost of obtaining Right of Way (RoW) Approvals for deployment of transmission infrastructure (fibre optic cables) have adversely impacted on the delivery of optimal service to subscribers. Wireless Operators are deploying hybrid power solutions to work around the challenge, in order to deepen telecoms penetration and the realisation of broadband aspirations in Nigeria.
Osondu Nwokoro: Beyond the role being played by Operators, Government is invited to implement the Power Reform Plan aimed at improving power generation and distribution, and support industrial growth and development of the country. Also, Government at the Federal and State levels are encouraged to institute a mechanism to ensure expedited RoW approvals and adoption of administrative fees regime, so as to support the deployment of robust transmission infrastructure for broadband development in the industry.


Com World Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria?

Osondu Nwokoro: Prior to the advent of Smartphones, internet access was mainly restricted to cybercaf├ęs and this use resulted in Nigeria having very low internet access and users. According to the NCC, increased smartphone use has enhanced the number of internet access/users which stood at 32.5mM as at March 2013. To facilitate this development, Airtel has entered into collaboration with Techno to offer smartphones at N12,000 each (USD80 equivalent), and this initiative has impacted positively on the number of mobile/internet services users on our network. Cloud services is still at its infancy in Nigeria and significant growth is expected in this segment within the next few years.


Com World Series: In your opinion, which companies are spearheading innovation in the region and what can be learnt from them?

Osondu Nwokoro: A number of companies have spearheaded innovation across different segments of the industry and Airtel is a trail blazer in product innovation in response to subscribers needs. A typical example, Airtel’s One-Network “one of a kind” which eliminates roaming charges for subscribers who are travelling to any country where Airtel is operating. Constant reference to subscribers to find out their needs is the key here.


Com World Series: Who are you most looking forward to meeting/hearing from and what do you hope to achieve from taking part in NigeriaCom?

Osondu Nwokoro: NigeriaCom will present an opportunity for Industry Stakeholders to exchange ideas and chart the way forward for the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry.


Find out more at NigeriaCom. Osondu Nwokoro will be speaking on Day 2 in the Mobile Money stream at 15:00 in the session “Low mobile money uptake in Nigeria: Causes & Remedies”.

How digital marketing is evolving in Nigeria - hear from a leading expert

Abas Idaresit is an online media expert and founder of Wild Fusion one of Nigeria’s foremost digital marketing agency. 


The Com World Series team caught up with Abas ahead of the NigeriaCom conference and exhibition, taking place at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, 17-18 September to find out a bit more about his experiences and focus at the event.


Com World Series: How is your company positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?

Abas Idaresit: Wild Fusion is a leading digital agency and we are positioned to deliver high quality technology led marketing services to Nigerian brands and advertisers. Quality of Service and returns on ad spend is at the heart of our proposition. We are expanding our presence into Ghana and Kenya, delivering and supporting advertisers, brands and agencies in these markets.


Com World Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your business in the region in 2013?

Abas Idaresit: Clients are getting comfortable with digital, they are asking for more in terms of returns and this is a good thing. Advertisers are beginning to have digital led campaigns integrating ATL and BTL with digital and we are seeing the rise of content and social playing a critical role in digital strategy. Mobile has taken its place and will remain there for very long. The rise of e-retail businesses will definitely impact positively the local markets.


Com World Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues?

Abas Idaresit: In Nigeria, there is an urban bias to connectivity so we have more connected societies in the urban areas and states close to the Atlantic, whereas up north it’s more challenging to get a good connection. We will have more people online when our fibre connects the northern states and the barriers to adoption (cost, availability and skills) are reduced. Availability of skilled individuals is also a challenge in this market and e-learning or e-training will definitely help facilitate with this.


Com World Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria?

Abas Idaresit: For the telco this is a good thing because data is having a positive impact on their margins. This has led to increased competition, price reduction and more drive to acquire customers on data plans. This is certainly a positive development and very much welcome on the market. 


Com World Series: In your opinion, which companies are spearheading innovation in the region and what can be learnt from them?

Abas Idaresit: The Start-ups building technology products in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya, these companies deserve all the support we can give. They are spearheading innovation in Africa. 


Com World Series: Who are you most looking forward to meeting/hearing from and what do you hope to achieve from taking part in NigeriaCom?

Abas Idaresit: Ify Mba International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Deepak Srivastava, COO of Airtel speaks to the Com World Series team ahead of NigeriaCom

Deepak Srivastava is the COO for Airtel Nigeria


The Com World Series team caught up with Deepak ahead of the NigeriaCom conference and exhibition, taking place at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, 17-18 September to find out a bit more about his experiences and focus at the event


Com World Series: How is your company positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?

Deepak Srivastava: Airtel is positioned as the operator of first choice for Nigerians with a corporate vision of becoming the most loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians. Currently, we have the largest 3.75G Network in Nigeria with footprint in all the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), recently, rated us the fastest growing data operator in Nigeria and we keep scoring several series of firsts in terms of network innovation and modernization. Without a doubt, one of our key objectives is to be the Mobile Broadband service provider of first choice for Nigerians. We aim to achieve this by empowering the communities we operate in with the latest network technology. In the past 30 months, we have invested close to $2bn in network upgrade and innovation and we shall keep investing in Nigeria in line with our aspiration of becoming the most loved brand in the country.


Com World Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your business in the region in 2013?

Deepak Srivastava: Certainly, high penetration of smartphones is defining the mobile telephony landscape. The transition from voice to data keeps gaining traction and this is changing the game. You must also single out the extreme and huge demand for mobile broadband.  A clear case in point is the NCC’s recent report that ascribed over 90% growth rate to Airtel in terms of data/Internet services in a six month period. Thirdly, Nigerians have a large population of youth. The youths are early adopters with a large appetite for mobile broadband.  


Com World Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues?

Deepak Srivastava: Well, the issues are already well documented and they include poor, unreliable and erratic public power supply, frequent cases of vandalisation and fibre-cut, multiple-taxation, multiple regulation, insecurity in the North and we saw cases of extreme flooding from many States in the South last year. In terms of solutions, Airtel has adopted solar based solutions in powering our network and we are currently asking for the declaration of telecoms infrastructure as critical national infrastructure.


Com World Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria?

 Deepak Srivastava: Nigeria is moving fast towards the direction of a connected society. This is a positive and interesting development. Most network providers are adopting a data-focused approach. With huge demand for data, it is definitely interesting times for broadband service providers.


Com World Series: In your opinion, which companies are spearheading innovation in the region and what can be learnt from them?

 Deepak Srivastava: There have several interesting developments especially in the areas of ICT and Internet/data. We have seen a lot of interesting development in the online retail space with emergence of players like Konga and Jumia. We have also seen a lot of local apps developers with strong Nigerian presence. The truth is, Nigeria is full of entrepreneurs and this has played itself out in the Internet/data space.


Com World Series: Who are you most looking forward to meeting/hearing from and what do you hope to achieve from taking part in NigeriaCom?

 Deepak Srivastava: With NigeriaCom, it is always a great learning experience. The atmosphere is usually electrifying and choice of speakers always great. Personally, I will like to enjoy the show and pay attention to everyone because with NigeriaCom, you are always sure of a quality line-up of speakers.

The Com World Series provides a platform to enabling commerce in Nigeria

Olatunde Farinde is the CEO of BrowseDotCom


The Com World Series team caught up with Olatunde ahead of the NigeriaCom conference and exhibition, taking place at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, 17-18 September to find out a bit more about his experiences and focus at the event


Com World Series: How is your company positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?

Olatunde Farinde: BrowseDotCom is a leading professional media/IT firm headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria with extension in US and UK respectively. We help business increase exposure, brand awareness and sell products to millions of Internet users while shielding you from all the complexities that come with the web.
Simply put, we help our customers take advantage of technology and the Internet to drive sales, increase brand awareness or reduce operational costs. Our customers range from start-ups, small businesses, large companies and even Governmental agencies. We are known for developing a custom web and mobile solution that assist in meeting our customers’ business objectives at an accelerated pace.
At BrowseDotCom, we make a point of offering services in close correlation with organisational goals. We do this by maintaining a top down approach to web and mobile solutions. First we look at our customers’ high level business objectives and then translate them into hard-working web media and/or mobile solutions with the best ROI achievable. 

Com World Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your business in the region in 2013?

Olatunde Farinde: Faster internet, literacy and e-payment systems.
Nigeria is still a developing country in terms of technology. But looking back at when we started, we have really grown. Gone are the days when the only means of accessing the internet was a public cyber cafe. Today, most people can access the internet from their phones and can take the internet anywhere. However, the larger population needs to be educated. Most people who access the internet only use it for checking emails and facebook and sometimes, watch movies. There is a need for more internet literacy and faster penetration in Nigeria to drive and sustain business.
Most people are still reluctant to use their ATM card to make payments online because they lack the proper education on how to protect their data and how to play safely online. Our sister company, store.com.ng, an e-commerce site for Nigerians, has this challenge to face. A customer will tell you they prefer to queue at the bank to place an order for a product than to make the payment online.
There are many things that need to be improved, lots of campaigning to do to raise awareness. But I am certain that Nigeria is almost there!


Com World Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues?

 Olatunde Farinde: Faster internet and unlimited data plans. I am looking forward to when a time when mobile phone users can subscribe to any network data plan and instead of getting 10mb, 200mb, 2gb etc, they will have access to unlimited data plans for same price and even cheaper.


Com World Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria?

 Olatunde Farinde: The introduction of smart phones and tablets has increased internet penetration in Nigeria. Blackberry is the most common smartphone on the market and has the cheapest mobile internet data plans. But like I said earlier, I still hoping for unlimited data plans from the telecoms operator in Nigeria in the near future.


Com World Series: Who are you most looking forward to meeting/hearing from and what do you hope to achieve from taking part in NigeriaCom?

Olatunde Farinde: I regularly attend high calibre events and NigeriaCom is an exciting one for me. Having the opportunity to network with other great colleagues, doing great things in the industry is another thing I’m looking forward to.

Ektiti State leading Nigeria in ICT

Olutoyin Oloniteru is Director-General for ICT, for Ekiti State in Nigeria

The Com World Series team caught up with Olutoyin ahead of the NigeriaCom conference and exhibition, taking place at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, 17-18 September to find out a bit more about his experiences and focus at the event

Com World Series: How is your company positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?

 Olutoyin Oloniteru: First, I will like to state that I work in the public sector, precisely, the Government of Ekiti State, Nigeria (Director-General, ICT, Ekiti State).
Ekiti State is being positioned (under the leadership of His Excellency, Governor of Ekiti State – Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, JKF) to become “the Bangalore of Africa” in Nigeria and the leading ICT driven State in the country. Our future objectives are:
a. To transform the economy of Ekiti State from an agrarian one a knowledge economy that is ICT driven one;
b. To establish an enduring and sustainable “Knowledge Area Zone, KAZ” as a foundation to drive innovations, research and development (ICT, Technology and others) in the State
c. To be the first State in Nigeria to effectively implement the National Broadband Plan with a fibre ring in our State Capital (Ado-Ekiti) and subsequently in all our local government areas – connecting with the Federal Government of Nigeria (and MDAs), partnering with the private sector and international development institutions among others
d. To become the defacto standard on which other States’ development in Nigeria will be benchmarked against through effective peer-review mechanisms (via the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF), independent rating institutions etc
e. To become a self-reliant State through diversification of our economy into one that create jobs, produce ICT-based entrepreneurs and leading producer of software solutions & applications for the world; with minimal (manageable) and preferable – No Unemployment and/or Under-employment
f. To become a destination of choice as location for tourism, a technologically advanced state within Nigeria that is safe, secure, investment friendly, possessing well managed and maintained infrastructure – energy/electricity, water supply, transport infrastructure (road, rail and airport) and green environment
g. To become a developed information society with the highest quality of life among other States in Nigeria that is comparable to any advanced and developed country/nation around the world.


Com World Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your business in the region in 2013?

Olutoyin Oloniteru: Three major trends that I think are affecting the operations of our government at Ekiti State (in the provision of quality service to our people) in Nigeria and West Africa sub-region in 2013 are:
1) Emergence and reality of availability, adoption, penetration and increasing services being deployed on mobile devices/smartphones (with positive implications – on education, health, commerce, agriculture, tourism and sociology of our society in terms of their makeup, culture-change and behavioural modification;
2) Requirements for clean, readily available and sustainable infrastructure – energy/electricity (to drive our ICT growth and industrialization), good road (to make our state accessible and production friendly and efficient
3) Security – Safe City Programme that is now possible due to realizable broadband initiatives and availability of ICT infrastructure – wireline and wireless.


Com World Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues?

Olutoyin Oloniteru: The remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of service in our State are need for more investment and implementation of fibre optic – based network, which will help to reduce cases of quality of service. Harmonization of and integration of programmes of various objectives of the State’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies – MDAs (such that the works of say, Ministry of Work, Bureau of Infrastructure, Ministry of Physical and Urban Planning, Ministry of Environment among others are harmonized and integrated to achieve common, well defined, directed and established government goals and objectives without conflicting one another) such that participation in our State’s economic development by the private sector becomes well structured, situated, informed and planned. The above consideration will ensure investment protection and security of critical infrastructure – both of the government and our private sector partners (i.e. Base Stations of Telcos and their Fibreline installed along our roads – close to water pipe line; and along construction sites of various kilometres of roads among others.
Work programmes harmonization of government MDAs and private sector partners and participants will also ensure that approval for right of ways (ROW) and issued in a timely manner, that it is reasonable, cost effective (without excessive cost to Telcos) and help to promote rapid rollout and expansion of communications and telecommunications network and infrastructure in our State, with the immediate, medium and long-term implication of helping to improve quality of service. For example, installation of additional base stations by Telcos and installation of fibreline (in congested and rural/previously underserved and unserved locations) will help to reduce congestions and provide for redundancy – all helping to improve quality of service (QoS).
In general therefore, what will resolve the issues of QoS is more than technologies – though technology pay a great part. We must look at processes, procedures, human factors etc in addressing QoS issues. If Fibreline gets cuts then you should expect a lot of downtime despite the technology being useful in addressing QoS issues. People and members of the public must understand that they are stakeholders in the QoS production process and should therefore help to secure Telcos’ infrastructure being used to provide services for them.


Com World Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria?

Olutoyin Oloniteru: Please refer back to my response in Q 2(1) above. It follows therefore that with the penetration of; and increase in the use of smartphones/tablets in Nigeria – Internet Service Providers (ISPs) now have more revenue to generate including from the underserved and previously un-served market. With appropriate service pricing and business model following pay-as-you-go model in mobile Internet subscription it is evident now the substantial increase in the number of Internet users in Nigeria – most of which are via mobile devices.
Mobile service providers also include those operating in the e-payment industry i.e. mobile money service providers of which the Telcos are stakeholders. It means more revenue anyhow you look at it. Cloud services are also impacting mobile payment and ISP services for social network computing is become well understood and its use as a subscriber pull-and-push business strategy. Furthermore, a number of governments now use cloud computing and services to quickly jump start their entry into the cyberspace such as unified communication services – emails, voices, webhosting etc all done in the cloud. All these means more revenues for providers operating in this space. Nigeria with an increasingly growing population – and young population; it means viable market for mobile and Internet service providers in the country.


Com World Series: In your opinion, which companies are spearheading innovation in the region and what can be learnt from them?

Olutoyin Oloniteru: Some of the companies spearheading innovations in my region include ipNX Nigeria, which has provided unified communication and Internet services for our government and also a partner in our broadband and Digital Ekiti plan and strategy. Others are Dymore – which is very instrumental in the design and implementation of our Digital Media innovative platform including our www.ekitistate.gov.ng webs site. IBM has also been at the front through the deployment of IBM Experts and Volunteers from over 10 Countries around the world to work with our government on our various programmes such as e-School project, smartgovernment/e-workflow project and Citizens Information Management System (CIMS) project among others. Others are NIRA – Nigeria Internet Registration Association serious promoting the adoption and use of the .ng top-level domain in Nigeria by Nigerian and international companies with presence in Nigeria. As you can see above, our government official website uses the .ng domain, which we are proud of. Others still are SoftAlliance, Infinity System etc working to design and implement innovative solutions that help our government to increase its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) drive.
We are learning from them the various business models they have on offer and their thinking on engagement with the public sector, which is a non-profit sector. Business relationship with the public sector requires patience and assurance of purpose in terms of medium-to-long term strategy.  


Com World Series: Who are you most looking forward to meeting/hearing from and what do you hope to achieve from taking part in NigeriaCom?

 Olutoyin Oloniteru: I am looking to meet and hear from the entire industry. We are open minded, technology neutral and work based on strategy. As part of what I hope to achieve in taking part in NigeriaCom – communicate our and public sector strategy, framework, direction and public policy in respect of ICT and our upcoming Knowledge Area Zone to the industry and the opportunities that lie ahead. In particular, I want to be able to share our thought and ideas on Government-to-Citizens (G2C) Payment strategy.

Social media making a mark on Nigerian businesses

Topsie Egbetokun is Business and Social Media Strategist at Business Without Boundaries

Com World Series: How is your company positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?

 Topsie Egbetokun: Business without Boundaries is position to hold the bull by the horn in every area of business development, entrepreneurship, mentoring & coaching, business training for both corporate and small businesses. We are position to drive the spirit of Entrepreneurship among individuals or groups as the only driving force to Nigeria economic development and help in solving some of staggering unemployment among youth and graduate. We are currently partnering and collaborating with both local and foreign entity to bring products and services to Nigeria to help change people’s mindset, share toolset and teach skillset for professional and personal development.


Com World Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your business in the region in 2013?

 Topsie Egbetokun:  Power supply & infrastructures is a major challenge that needs urgency now to address, more than anything else. Too many bureaucracy at every private and public sector level that’s limiting, stopping and killing initiatives before they even see the light of the day. Changing people mindset and orientation as people are already wired in certain ways, afraid of change and too much complacency. But, Business without Boundaries as the name suggest is not letting anything limit or hinders its business growth and in the region. 


Com World Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria? 

Topsie Egbetokun:  Smartphones/Tablets and cloud services are revolutionizing the way people communicate, connect and do business effectively. They are helping to simplify business processes, document/data usage, productivity tools and Apps to gain access to information whenever, wherever they are needed in a timely and speedy ways. People are constantly looking for Smartphones/Tablets and cloud services that will help streamline, collate and connect all their business processes and personal activities to reduce time, duplication of effort and access to information. 
With that understanding, mobile and internet service provider in Nigeria are going to be doing well in exponential ways. Mobile and internet service must position themselves to fill such needs bearing in mind competitive cost, understand Nigeria market dynamics and putting customers first into service delivery.


Com World Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues?

Topsie Egbetokun: Companies or technologies that will resolve challenges in terms of connectivity will be those that really understand the Nigeria complex market dynamics, can innovate and think out-side of the box to deliver unparallel services at a competitive price. There are still issues with network connectivity, electricity, slow broadband and poor customers service. Existing Companies or technologies must step-up their games to meet these challenges as new Companies or technologies are emerging to break down bureaucracy, drive down cost and appeal to younger generation.


Com World Series: Who are you most looking forward to meeting/hearing from and what do you hope to achieve from taking part in NigeriaCom?

Topsie Egbetokun:  I look forward to meeting industry stakeholders to exchange ideas. I am open to new business opportunities or collaboration with individuals, private and public companies in the area business, technology, social media and entrepreneurship. With that said, I look forward to meeting everyone possible at NigeriaCom event.



Digital marketing creating a storm in Nigeria

Obi Asika is the CEO of Storm 360

Com World Series: How is your company positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?

I am focused on content and the ability of mobile to deliver across many segments, from education to music, from movies to comedy and sports, we have been in the forefront of validating authentic and original Nigerian content and we want to be in the forefront of monetising it, mobile is disrupting all the media industries and in Nigeria we want to be amongst those early players who are able to  ride the changes and take advantage.
 In this regard the importance of social media is key and one will share insights from the inaugural Social Media Week Lagos held in Feb 2013 and i believe that the advent of e-commerce 2012-2 in Nigeria and the growth of cashless banking and retail are all moving us forward to even more reliance on mobile devices. 


Com World Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your business in the region in 2013?

I think everybody is beginning to understand the importance of local and relevant content, no point having 110m devices if you cannot offer them unique experiences, the increased speed of broadband is critical and one is watching the advance of LTE, and firms such as Binu and others who are focusing on the feature phones, in Africa and Nigeria one must not get too carried away with smart phones when 80% of the market is feature phones but must be prepared for this to turn around massively over the next 18 months.


Com World Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues?

Again as above  the key issue now would be network capacity and quality for the mno’s and then broadband access and speed for consumers, it will be very interesting to see how LTE plays out in Nigeria and of course as mentioned some of the companies working on compression technology to enable content be experienced on feature phones as well. We are clearly moving into the era when Data will dominate all conversations and Nigeria is clearly in massive need of data services and content.


Com World Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria?

At the elite level there is enormous adoption but these numbers will still be small compared to the entire market, however these tools are in the hands of managers, entreupeuners, and companies, soon i expect public institutions to become more automated, it is interesting to see what states like Ekiti are doing with their OPON_IMO educational project where they are providing tablets to secondary school students, i think we will see a lot happening with these devices and education and health services delivery in Nigeria. I think this is a space everyone needs to watch especially all the developers working on local tablets but the key will be their ability to scale and move forward to meet mass demand and perhaps challenge established models.


Com World Series: In your opinion, which companies are spearheading innovation in the region and what can be learnt from them?

I think Etisalat, Samsung, Techno, Huawei, are amongst the leaders in this regard and i think its about mindset and how they penetrate and work with the local community and focus on the needs and aspirations of their consumers and target markets locally, those who make the effort to differentiate their offerings for the local consumer is always likely to win in any market. I think brands such as mi-fone who are launching their devices into this market should serve as a lesson for local entreupeuners, they build their own brand and are now competing, we cannot always be receivers of product surely. In terms of content and services one must continue to watch the various hubs especially CC Hub and some of the outcomes, i must mention Tony Elumelu Foundation and also Nokia who supported the release of the Efiko app and again this is both disruptive and innovative. 


Com World Series: Who are you most looking forward to meeting/hearing from and what do you hope to achieve from taking part in NigeriaCom?

I think my primary interest is to engage and dig further into the ecosystem to see how we can create better, stronger, multi-purpose content that works on mobile and is relevant for our primary audience, how we can do this and monetise it and make it first national, then continental and finally global, these are my primary objectives and i am keen to engage and hear from all who have done this already and those who are interested in the power of our content and by this i focus on Nigerian content (from music to movies, from sports to comedy, from motivational to religious, there is a huge opportunity beckoning and i believe there are new models to drive further investment and revenue opportunities for all the stakeholders in the ecosystem.


Elinor Shields speaks about why Nigeria is a prime market for the BBC

The Com World Series team caught up with Elinor ahead of the NigeriaCom conference and exhibition, taking place at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, 17-18 September to find out a bit more about her experiences and focus at the event

Elinor Shields is the Development Editor for the BBC



Com World Series: How is your company positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?

 Elinor Shields: The BBC is the most trusted and established international public service broadcaster in Africa, providing live radio, television and digital services. Some 96 million people in Africa choose the BBC for news every week, and we are strongly positioned to move forward, as a leading digital news provider. Our objective now and in the future is to continue to provide independent and impartial journalism that people can find and enjoy on their preferred choice of platforms and devices.


Com World Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your business in the region in 2013?

 Elinor Shields: The mobile opportunity in Nigeria is significant for the BBC, given the country’s mobile appetite and its position in Africa, and with BBC Hausa a key mobile-first digital market. So the first major trend for us is that more Nigerians than ever can consume audio and video-rich content online, thanks to the growth of digital data and availability of enhanced devices.
However, increased competition in television and radio makes it harder for audiences to navigate the vast number of available services.
So in complex, fragmented markets, audiences increasingly seek out the brands they trust. Broadcasters in West Africa are keener than ever to broadcast BBC programmes on their channels and stations.


Com World Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues?

 Elinor Shields: The incomplete roll-out of reliable mobile data connectivity is still a big challenge. Network congestion can result in a poor user experience for video, audio and other forms of enriched content, because of the cost and length of download times. At the BBC, we aim to optimise our mobile offering to fit real-world conditions, based on what our audiences tell us. We are doing this through responsive design that is adapted for features phones up, and we are creating content and embracing working practices which work for the devices.


Com World Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria?

  Elinor Shields: 
Audience research tells us that feature phones are still the dominant mobile entry point in Nigeria, with a variety of simpler handsets accounting for four-fifths of current consumption. So we need to ensure that both subscribers with feature phones and the increasing pool of smartphone users can benefit from our proposed enhancements. Our responsive design strategy is built to serve these complex realities.


Com World Series: In your opinion, which companies are spearheading innovation in the region and what can be learnt from them?

  Elinor Shields: 
It is a truism of entrepreneurship that the best ideas often burst out from groups combining a diverse range of skills and expertise. NigeraCom is a great opportunity to see that in action, with content and service providers coming face to face with network operators and manufacturers.


Com World Series: Who are you most looking forward to meeting/hearing from and what do you hope to achieve from taking part in NigeriaCom?

  Elinor Shields: As I mentioned above, it’s a terrific opportunity to connect with every dimension of mobile life in Africa, which is why I’m so excited to be making my first trip to Nigeria. I’m looking forward to meeting representatives from every area, with my African colleagues.