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NCC Sets Up Annual Operating Regulatory Levy For Telecom Operators

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NCC Sets Up Annual Operating Regulatory Levy For Telecom Operators
Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission

The Nigerian Communications Commission has set up an annual operating regulatory levy to ensure that all licenses are properly and equitably assessed to meet statutory and regulatory expectations.

This was disclosed by Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, during the Public Inquiry on two regulatory instruments draft held on Thursday in Abuja.

Danbatta explained that the two key regulatory instruments were tailored to meet the challenges and to further strengthen the market structure of the industry.

READ ALSO: NCC to Auction 5G Spectrum- Danbatta

The instruments are; Annual Operating Regulations and the Frequency Spectrum Regulations, which fees and pricing fall under.

“The first instrument will bring the regulations in line with current realities and sustain the enviable contributions of the communications sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

“The second instrument is a vehicle that enables the commission to meet its role and exclusive mandate in Section 121 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 by assigning this scarce national resource in an equitable manner.

“The regulations also ensure that frequency spectrum are assigned and managed in a way that ensures fair pricing and efficient deployment of attendant services.

“The public inquiry is a precursor to the commission’s current drive to ensure efficiency in spectrum management and unveiling of next-generation services through varied enablers.

The EVC said that the Commission had begun the process of deploying Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria, which largely depended on the appropriate frequency spectrum.

With the explosion in technologies, Danbatta said there was also an attendant secondary reliance on different approaches to maximize frequency spectrum.

He said this led to the need for designation of several bands of frequency spectrum for communications services and a key illustration was the recent identification of some Spectrum frequencies for 5G deployment.

The EVC said the Commission was conscious of the expectations and the need to ensure that the required regulatory frameworks were in place to meet those challenges.

He noted that this had made the reviews, which the Commission was conducting, an important milestone as the public inquiry was pushing the country to the front queue of the global efforts.

“We must be prepared on both ends of the industry to push the country forward for these remarkable changes, while the licensees continue to invest in deployment.

“The Commission will sustain its drive-by ensuring regulatory efficiency and excellence,” he said.

He expressed optimism that the review would ensure effective and efficient utilization of frequency spectrum and a fair approach to the management of finance in the industry in the near future.

He urged participants to make their contributions freely and raise issues that would assist the Commission in developing and issuing regulatory instruments that would continually contribute to the development of the industry and sustain its positive contributions to the nation’s economy.

Earlier in her address, the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services of the Commission, Ms. Josephine Amuwa, said the objective of the public inquiry was to secure the buy-in of all stakeholders and ensure the efficiency of the regulatory instruments when implemented.

Amuwa explained that the Commission decided to review the Annual Operating Regulations 2014 and the Frequency Pricing Regulations 2004 to ensure that the regulatory instruments issued were abreast of developments in the industry.

According to Amuwa, the Annual Operating Levy Regulations review will look at the current licensing structure and ensure that all the spectra of licensees will be properly covered.

“Another key part of the review is to clarify and clearly outline the benchmarks for assessment.

“This will not only ensure regulatory certainty but further entrench transparency in the process.

“On the other hand, the review of the second regulation, the Frequency Spectrum (Fees and Pricing) Regulations is expected to provide more guidelines on the parameter for determination of proper fees and pricing of spectrum.

“This will also make adequate provisions for different spectrum licensing processes and their assessment parameters.” 

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Marketforce, a Kenyan startup, lays off 9% of its staff

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Marketforce, a Kenyan end-to-end distribution platform, purportedly let go a sizable percentage of its workers in July 2022.

One of the company’s five markets, along with Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania, the layoff was a part of a reorganization plan in Kenya.

MarketForce was formed in 2018 by Tesh Mbaabu (CEO) and Mesongo Sibuti (CTO) to address the fragmented distribution networks and storefronts they observed in small retail companies.

RejaReja, an asset-light marketplace and smart app for informal traders, was introduced by the firm in 2020. It enables them to obtain items directly from producers and distributors, submit digital orders and payments, and accept utility bill payments.

Since its introduction, RejaReja has expanded quickly. The portal has received over 87,000 orders, with an average basket value of $151

TechCrunch reports that the corporation let go of 54 workers.

Prior to the layoffs, Marketforce employed around 600 people. This translates to about 9% of its personnel, mostly from the departments of field sales, supply chain, and customer experience.

The expansion of Marketforce over the previous year was dependent on some of these positions as the company concentrated on integrating thousands of merchants into its RejaReja platform.

However, Mbaabu claims that since the business now intends to increase income per merchant, they are no longer necessary.

In addition, he claimed that many people, even inside the business, found it challenging to comprehend why the company had raised money and had cash yet continued to lay off employees.

Recall that the company raised $40 million in debt and equity in its Series A round in February 2022. 

However, reports claimed that Marketforce may be having trouble with its operations as suppliers start to leave.

Mbaabu denied the allegations, saying that “we are driving more consignment-based processes and decreasing SKUs, meaning fewer suppliers overall, as part of optimizing for sustainability.”

Marketforce announced that it would offer counseling to staff members impacted by the reorganization.

Additionally, it will include training on how to enhance LinkedIn profiles, prepare for interviews, and improve resumes. It intends to collaborate with recruiters who will take them into account for openings within other businesses that are hiring.

In addition, the employer will substitute a certificate of service or recommendation letter for notice and offer a 15-day severance package for each year of service completed and unused vacation time.

There have been fewer layoffs in the African tech industry than elsewhere in the world. In Kenya, a logistics platform called Sendy recently announced the layoff of staff members, adding to earlier reports from Swvl, Vezeeta, and Wave.

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Entertainment

Disney introduces an ad-supported plan, surpasses Netflix in total streaming subscribers

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The world’s largest media company, Walt Disney Company, has stated that it will raise costs for users who want to access Disney+, Hulu, or ESPN+ ad-free.

As a result, starting December 8, 2022, Disney will release an ad-supported edition for $7.99 per month, the same price as its existing ad-free version.

Disney+ without advertisements will increase by 38% to $10.99 in the meanwhile.

This implies that South African Disney+ users will continue to pay R119 ($7.37) a month for the ad-supported tier while shelling out roughly R164 ($9.77) a month for the ad-free tier.

Disney claims that by providing users the choice of how much to pay for the service, the addition of an ad-supported tier will increase subscribers and income.

Depending on the plan, Hulu’s costs will increase from $1 to $2 per month in December.

On the other side, Netflix will introduce an ad-supported tier, though we don’t yet know when in 2023 it will do so or how much it will cost. But one thing is certain: it will be less expensive.

Disney reported in July 2022 that it has sold $9 billion worth of advertisements for the forthcoming TV season, with 40% of that amount going to its online content.

The total number of Disney+ subscribers has reached 152.1 million. Hulu currently has 46.2 million subscribers compared to 22.8 million for ESPN+ (including live TV).

At the end of the June quarter, Disney reported 221.1 million streaming subscribers across Hulu and ESPN+. However, 220.7 million streaming users were reported by Netflix.

As viewers switched away from traditional cable and broadcast television in favor of internet viewing, Disney created a streaming service to compete with Netflix.

Additionally, Disney has eclipsed Netflix in terms of overall streaming subscribers after five years. In June 2022, when it debuted the Marvel series Ms. Marvel and the Star Wars series Obi-Wan Kenobi, Disney+ added 14.4 million subscribers, beating FactSet’s forecast of 10 million.

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Internet Service Provider, Tizeti, says it generated N11 billion revenue in 10 years

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Pioneer solar-based internet and voice service provider, Tizeti, said it has generated 11 billion in revenue in the last 10 years of its operation. The company, which currently provides internet service in Nigeria and Ghana is bridging the wide internet access gaps in the countries through its Wi-Fi services.

The company’s revenue was driven largely by its 2.8 million Nigerian customers, even as it said it has deployed over 3,884 hotspot locations in the country.

The founder and chief executive officer of Tizeti, Mr. Kendall Ananyi, at the second edition of Tizeti’s annual event, tagged ‘NeXTGEN 2.0: The Next Frontier’, said the company is leveraging solar power to deliver efficient services, which bolstered its revenue. With its successes in Nigeria and Ghana, the company, he said, is now targeting expansion into Cote d’Ivoire and Togo.

Speaking at the conference, Ananyi said: “In the last 10 years of our operation, we have been able to generate N11 billion as revenue and this we achieved without any debt as of today.”

While noting that the broadband gap in Africa is still very high, he said this is prompting Tizeti to expand its service to ensure that more Africans have access to reliable, affordable and truly unlimited internet.

“This expansion is very strategic for us and for the continent. We have grown significantly within the last few years, being profitable in three out of the last four years and paid our first dividend this year. We currently have over 3884 hotspot locations and built 1 tower every month since we started, with 2.8 million users in Nigeria. Today, Tizeti delivers over 190TBPS of data a day, which is about 20% of what Airtel, the second largest telco with coverage in 36 states delivers.

“Internet users in Africa are still about 26% of the total population, with almost 900 million people unconnected. We are now exploring the public markets for equity/debt to fund our next growth phase. We have reserved our ticker at NASDAQ, and are exploring London Stock Exchange as we are an LSE-Companies to Inspire, as well as the Nigerian Exchange NGX,” Ananyi said.

Speaking on the Francophone expansion, the co-founder and chief operating officer of Tizeti, Ifeanyi Okonkwo highlighted the increased submarine cable investments in Africa to date, and the absence of middle-mile and last-mile infrastructure that moves the capacity where it is needed. With Tizeti’s new infrastructure build-out across West Africa, Tizeti plans to bridge the digital divide and bring more Africans online via its unlimited service offering.

“We believe that Africa offers the most significant potential demand for broadband expansion, and we have looked at their populations, their relative contributions to GDP, the prevalence of higher and tertiary institutions, and other pool factors,” said Okonkwo.

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