By Dipo Olowookere
There seems to be a massive support for pay TV platform, Telecom Satellite TV (TSTV), which recently announced its launch into the Nigerian market.
The company is presently trending on social media platforms in Nigeria, especially on Facebook, where users are calling for shares so as to spread the ‘good news’ of a far cheaper subscription fee compared with DStv.
For many years, Nigerians have endured paying heavily to enjoy programmes on the DStv platform, especially lovers of the English Premier League (EPL).
Some are made to pay over N14,000 monthly to ensure they watch live EPL, UEFA Champions League, FA Cup, La Liga and EFL matches.
Even calls by subscribers for the pay TV platform to come up with the ‘pay as you go’ system has been rejected by MultiChoice, the parent company of DStv.
However, the new TStv is offering this service as well as a very low subscription fee.
The firm partnered with a Europe-based television station, ABS Global, to launch into the Nigerian Broadcasting Service a Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite TV, which will cover all sub-Saharan African countries and provide over 100 TV channels to subscribers.
It was said that TSTV would be distributed on ABS-3A satellite located at the prime video neighbourhood of 3°W and the antenna would be straight to the sky such that there would be no interference.
When this deal was signed few months ago, Managing Director of TSTV, Mr Bright Echefu, assured subscribers that they would enjoy TV programmes in HD and SD, internet services, broadband at a very affordable rate.
A check by Business Post on the website of the company showed that TStv will over 100 channels to its subscribers with CNN, Channels TV, Nat Geo, Nickelodeon, MTV Base, Aljazeera, TVC News, Bein Sports, Euro Sport and Fox Sports, among others.
We gathered that TStv provides subscribers with an HD SMART Set Top Box (Connected Set top box), at the point of purchase, which converts their existing LED TV into a Smart TV.
While the DTH tech in it brings television channels in Standard Definition and High Definition, the Connected set top box allows one to browse content from Twitter, Facebook, Daily Motion, video on demand sites, Over the Top, OTT apps, news, weather etc. through applications residing on STB.
“Our HD Smart Set Top Box will work as a tool for personalization, engagement, and new customer experiences and with internet connectivity, one can convert one‘s TV into a smart TV using it.
“Subscribers are entitled to a complementary 20GB internet capacity every month and this service is available for extension on demand,” the firm said on its website.
It added that the TSTV STB Back-Office End-to-End Solution is an easy-to-maintain solution for delivering TV, Video-On-Demand, and interactive services to end users who use LAN. It suits for schools, hospitals, hotels, communities, securities firms and so on.
TSTV STB platform also includes in-built fast Wi-Fi, up to 802.11ac, 1 GBit/s Ethernet and USB 3.0 interface. TSTV STB supports built-in Bluetooth 4.0, RF for hybrid remote controls and support of Smart Home services via Zigbee/Thread standard. Multichannel video recording is possible via fast external USB 3.0 hard disks up to 50 Gigabyte capacity. Our Smart STBs also have the capacity to make video calls with other TSTV subscribers via IP.
Instead of buying separate smart TVs or dongles which are expensive, users can now buy our integrated set top boxes which allow them to directly connect to internet, stream media, and access subscribed content?
With our launch on July 25, 2017, TELCOMSAT has scaled new technological heights and demonstrated its ability by providing a high end advanced product that delivers next generation solutions as part of the idea of Internet of Things (IoT).
The feature of unlimited external recording is also available, by plugging in your own external storage device for recording your favourite programs, for e.g.: if one plugs in his own external hard drive of 1TB, they can record up to 1900 hours of content of a standard definition channel.
However, despite the frenzy on the internet, some Nigerians have called for caution, reminding others how HiTV and others tried to breakdown DStv monopoly, but failed.
Nigeria’s Broadband Penetration Jumps to 44.5% as NCC Reviews Short Code Services
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria’s broadband usage has continued to rise, moving up by 3.6 points from 40.9 per cent in February 2022 to 44.5 per cent in July 2022.
This was disclosed in a statement released on Thursday by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), through its Director of Public Affairs, Mr Reuben Muoka, a figure considered hopeful for achieving the national broadband penetration target of 70 per cent in 2025.
The statement quoted the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Mr Umar Danbatta, as making the revelation at the beginning of a three-day public inquiry on five telecommunication regulations and guidelines which began in Abuja yesterday.
“With the technological advancements anticipated in the coming years, it is expected that there will be a proliferation of devices in the industry. It is, therefore, essential for the Commission to ensure that the right regulatory frameworks can accommodate such eventualities,” he said.
The agency’s boss said the public inquiry, which covered five areas of existing regulations, is aimed at achieving operational efficiency and operational excellence.
He listed the regulatory instruments under review at the public inquiry to include Type Approval Regulations, Guidelines on Short Code Operation in Nigeria, Guidelines on Technical Specifications for the Deployment of Communications Infrastructure, Guidelines on Advertisements and Promotions, as well as Consumer Code of Practice Regulations.
He said the focus areas were already articulated in some important documents guiding the operations of the Commission, which include the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020 – 2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 – 2030, NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024, and its Strategic Vision Implementation Plan (SVIP) 2021–2025, which are being implemented towards achieving its mandate.
While stating that these strides are the results of the commission’s regulatory efficiency and focused implementation of policies and strategies of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Mr Danbatta said the public inquiry is in tandem with the NCC’s strategy of consulting stakeholders in all its regulatory interventions.
The EVC further stated that the amendment of these regulatory instruments was to reflect current realities, one of which is the anticipated deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) technology, and management of shortcodes in Nigeria, including the Toll-Free Emergency Code 112.
Earlier, Head, Telecoms Laws and Regulations at NCC, Mrs Helen Obi, had stated that public inquiry allows the agency to incorporate the comments and suggestions of industry stakeholders, in the development of its regulatory instruments.
She said the process ensures that the NCC’s regulatory instruments are in line with the current realities in the industry as it had done with some regulatory frameworks and guidelines in 2021.
Tech Companies Making a Difference in Africa
Africa has long been touted as the continent with the most growth potential when it comes to tech and innovation. Many African countries are building their own equivalents of Silicon Valley and tech companies from all across the world have been setting up offices and launching themselves into markets across the continent. And in addition to growing their customer bases, these companies are also committing to making affecting change in Africa. Here’s how.
They are Investing in communities and equipping people to become entrepreneurs
Last year Airbnb announced a three-year commitment to South Africa to address barriers to becoming a tourism entrepreneur and to help rebuild a more inclusive and resilient domestic tourism economy. The commitment focuses on infrastructure, training and investment and builds on Airbnb’s 2017 $1 million commitment in Africa to boost community-led tourism projects, and the Africa Academy, which has trained more than 300 Hosts.
As part of this commitment, Airbnb announced its partnership with the University of Johannesburg School of Tourism and Hospitality to expand the Airbnb Academy programme to at least 1000 students over the next three years.
They are assisting in developing quality journalists and newsrooms
Over the years, Google, perhaps the biggest tech giant in the world, has been doing its fair share for small businesses, content creators and business owners across Africa. And just recently the company announced that five South African recipients have been selected as part of Google’s News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge.
The GNI Innovation Challenge is aimed at helping the journalism industry thrive in the digital era. Their projects are among 34 chosen from 17 countries, to receive a share of $3.2 million in funding.
The recipients, among them 21 journalists and publishers from 10 countries in Africa, were selected for their work in promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion in the journalism industry. The GNI Innovation Challenge is part of Google’s $300 million commitment to helping journalism thrive in the digital era and has seen news innovators step forward with many exciting initiatives demonstrating new thinking.
Companies are nurturing talent from a young age
“At Huawei South Africa, we have long been committed to cultivating ICT talent and discovering new ways to harness technological innovation to advance sustainability,” says Vanashree Govender, Media and Communications Manager for Huawei South Africa. “Last year, we launched our Tech4Good Global Competition as part of our Seeds for the Future talent development programme, which exposes learners to courses on the latest technologies like 5G, Cloud, AI and IoT.
The Tech4Good competition gets students to think about how to use technology to address social and environmental issues. Through this programme, participants boost their creativity, hone their entrepreneurship skills, and develop a sense of social responsibility. This is a fun team effort, with coaching by Huawei experts and world-renowned social impact leaders”.
Huawei also runs a Tech4All program globally in which Huawei works with partners to create real change through connecting the unconnected, empowering underserved communities and protecting the planet. In South Africa, Huawei’s DigiSchool project in partnership with operator rain and educational non-profit organisation Click Foundation has connected over 100 urban and rural primary schools to the internet using 5G technology.
They are building the right skills through access to digital media education
Today, there are local entrepreneurs in fields as diverse as fashion, healthcare, and decor who have proven that with more equal access to the digital marketing ecosystem, it’s possible to expand regionally and internationally.
In order for that to happen at scale, they also need the requisite skills to market themselves online in the markets they want to reach. At the very least, those entrepreneurs should have easy access to people with those skills. It’s important to note here, that these aren’t just fundamental digital marketing skills, but ones that relate to the specifics of marketing on the world’s leading digital advertising platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Spotify where people across the globe spend most of their time online. With the right types of messages, these platforms are the most effective places to reach new customers across a broad range of markets.
“This is something that we’re passionate about, and recently, Ad Dynamo by Aleph launched a free Digital Ad Expert programme for young people in Nigeria and Ghana, which aims to educate, certify and connect thousands of Africans with the digital skills needed to succeed in a rapidly digitising economy. While it’s entirely possible that someone with the right degree of determination and curiosity could develop those skills on their own, it’s critical that more and more resources are accessible to build them up at scale,” says Elyse Estrada, Global Chief Marketing Office, Aleph Group.
This is crucial to ensuring that markets such as Ghana and Nigeria aren’t just growth targets for international companies, but incubators for a new generation of entrepreneurs capable of competing on a global level themselves.
They are creating access for everyone
MFS Africa, the continent’s largest omnichannel payment gateway, believes in a “borderless world” to which everyone has access. Their comprehensive digital networks link 320 million mobile wallets, enabling cross-border payments remittance firms, financial service providers, and worldwide merchants.
MFS Africa CEO and founder, Dare Okoudjo, believes that interoperability is crucial in allowing customers of different mobile financial services providers to interact with each other. This can be done by making direct payments from the mobile money account of one provider to the mobile money account of another provider.
To do this, MFS Africa acquired Global Technology Partners (GTP) recently, broadening its bank and fintech base and supplying tokenisation in the mobile money space by connecting with established card ecosystems like Visa and Mastercard. The ultimate objective is to give millions of mobile money users on the continent access to the global digital economy and new possibilities. For its partners, these new capabilities enable scalability, security, and new markets and consumers as technology innovation continue to penetrate and reshape societies.
Visa to Support African Women Fund Managers
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
African women fund managers have been promised financing support by Visa to help expand their businesses across the continent.
The fund, according to Visa, is earmarked for only 55 women who participated in a programme organised in 2020 by the African Women Impact Fund (AWIF).
The money is mainly for the working capital needs of women fund managers across South, East, and West Africa, a statement from the payments platform said.
AWIF is a collaboration between Standard Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the grant is an extension of the She’s Next program, a global advocacy program for women-owned businesses that have been expanded to Sub-Saharan Africa to further champion and strengthen African women business owners as they build, sustain, and advance their businesses.
Visa’s funding will be directed towards activities that will assist the business owners with improving their technical skillsets, becoming investible to larger institutional investors, and running profitable businesses that will in turn invest in others including small and medium businesses.
“The aim of She’s Next is to help women-owned businesses thrive and our ambition with this grant is to enable access in a space where women-owned firms are under-represented.
“Through this programme, we aim to ensure that women are not only recipients but become decision-makers where institutional funding for businesses is concerned,” said Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President & Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa.
“The funding will ensure that these business owners are able to focus on growing their enterprises without the burden of managing short-term debt and other operational costs related to building a successful business” added Diarra.
Women fund managers in Africa continue to face numerous challenges in building sustainable businesses. Research shows slow-moving progress in the visibility and inclusion of women fund managers due to systematic barriers and investor bias.
With African women accounting for just 7.6 per cent of private equity and women-led businesses receiving only 7 per cent of Private Equity (PE) and Venture Capital (VC) in emerging markets, this highlights the opportunities that exist to reduce the current gender gaps, further reflecting in the less than 1.3 per cent of the $69.1 trillion global financial assets that are managed by women and people of colour.
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