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Towercos Assures Nigerians Affordable 5G

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Tower infrastructure companies (Towercos) have expressed readiness to help mobile network operators (MNOs) free up some required expenses to ensure the fifth-generation (5G) technology is delivered to Nigerians at a lower cost.

This is as they called for partnerships to bridge Nigeria’s $136 billion infrastructure gap, stressing that if industry collaboration is achieved, more development could be attracted.

This was the talking point at the second edition of the Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PAIFo) organised by BusinessMetrics Nigeria to discuss national policy on 5G themed Ascertaining Full Readiness to make 5G Work in Nigeria.

The operators engaging other stakeholders, including government, regulators and operators said the industry must rally ahead of the 5G rollout in the country.

Speaking on Bridging Telecoms Infrastructure Gaps for 5G: The Imperatives, Brand Manager, Pan African Towers, Mr Okim-Alobi Oyama, explained that 5G needs five times the current number of street furniture sites in dense urban areas and twice the power consumption for each of the sites due to higher computing.

Mr Oyama said the technology also needs edge computing, mandatory fibre connection, massive MiMo antennas and key policy implementation to drive the network.

To get this done, he suggested that the gap in the telecommunications sector should be treated as critical network infrastructure.

Backing his case with statistics, the Pan African Tower chief noted that there are over 195.4 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria while mobile GSM contributes about 99.75 per cent to the total market share with over 141.9 million Internet subscribers.

According to him, broadband penetration was about 40.88 per cent as of December 2021 whereas telecoms contributed 12.45 per cent to Nigeria’s gross domestic product as of the third quarter of 2021.

Mr Oyama said implementing the necessary developments is based on about 32,470 towers infrastructure currently existing in Nigeria, stressing that “there is a network infrastructure gap currently capped at over $136 billion, approximately an additional 40,000 towers to be built to close this infrastructure gap.”

He said that Nigeria has developed a National Broadband Plan (NBP) to achieve deeper penetration but noted that this cannot be achieved as long as some problems exist.

“How can Nigeria implement its NBP and achieve its digital economy status if its Critical Network Infrastructure assets are continually vandalised and stolen?”

On his part, Mr Segun Akintemi,  Director, IHS Nigeria, said for 5G to succeed in Nigeria, the necessary infrastructure needs to be in place.

He said infrastructure deployment usually precedes new technology deployment and is highly CAPEX intensive, adding that 5G comes with its unique infrastructure requirements.

He said that towercos will help the MNOs to release capital, stressing that leasing infrastructure from Towercos releases capital for MNOs and frees up investment needed for 5G and other services.

He stated that Towercos also facilitates market entry of new operators by presenting them with various lower-cost options, as well as helping manage the environment via co-location.

According to him, “co-location means fewer towers are needed to meet the network and enhanced connectivity demands.”

He anticipated that 5G demands from towercos will include two to four times the current number of sites (micro and street furniture); twice to thrice the power consumption of current sites; required fibre connectivity for scalability as well as space to accommodate massive multiple-in multiple-out (MiMo) Antennas.

“Other fresh demands to meet Nigeria’s 5G target are high reliability and availability/uptime towards 99.999 per cent, that is, downtime of 24 seconds per month; new competence and skilled resources and data centres for edge computing.

“In terms of bridging the infrastructure gap, the above considerations are at the forefront for IHS Nigeria. They require significant investment, regulatory support and customer collaboration,” he said.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Interswitch Launches API Platform for Developers

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API platform

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

An easy-to-integrate Application Programmable Interfaces (API) platform designed for developers for creating digital products and solutions for Africans has been introduced by Interswitch.

The interface has internal APIs, partner APIs, and infrastructure APIs designed to empower Africa’s digital ecosystem. It also serves as a one-stop shop for innovators in the tech ecosystem who seek to build viable, market-fit products that address local needs.

To attract innovators, the firm, which prides itself as Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company, has introduced a referral system to reward developers who refer merchants to use its APIs.

At the unveiling of the API platform on Thursday, August 11, 2022, at the Zone Tech Park, Gbagada, Lagos, the Managing Director of Paymate, Interswitch Group, Mr Muyiwa Asagba, stated that the tech giant remains focused on providing digitally empowering products for developers and business owners who are crafting solutions for the everyday African.

Over time, Interswitch has continued to champion the development of the continent’s technology ecosystem through strategic partnerships and the democratization of developer and business integration tools that help tech creators and small business owners produce market-ready products within a short period.

“For two decades, Interswitch has consolidated its efforts in its support for the growth of the African tech ecosystem by availing developers with valuable resources that enable them to build commercially viable products with ease.

“Away from that, we also take seriously the need to innovate so as to stay ahead of the pack, which is a core part of who we are as an evolving technology brand,” Mr Asagba said.

On his part, the Business Development Manager for Merchant Acquisition at Interswitch, Mr Sunday Olaniyan stated that, “Developers will earn 5% of every transaction fee that Interswitch charges on their referred merchants for 5 years.”

Also speaking at the unveiling event, Abdul-Hafiz Ibrahim, Group Head, Engineering, Paymate, Interswitch, noted, “Launching our API Platform was driven by the need to make API integration seamless for developers without the bureaucratic hurdles that have characterized the API-integrating system over the past few years.

“Not only are we making products and solutions development faster, but we are also creating an interface where developers can communicate, share ideas and offer solutions at an accelerated pace.”

To expand its goal of creating a sustainable African tech hub, Interswitch remains a firm supporter of initiatives that spur conversations around the evolution of the Nigerian, and in general, African tech ecosystem. This was expressed in its recent support of the Nigerian Fintech Forum where seasoned experts across sectors including Fintechs, telcos, and banks were in the audience.

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Meta Warns Users About Malware in Fake YouTube, WhatsApp Apps

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$100m YouTube Grant

By Adedapo Adesanya

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp has raised an alarm over a dangerous new malware in fake YouTube and WhatsApp apps.

The company in its latest Quarterly Adversarial Threat Report 2022 said the new threat named Dracarys is being injected into fake versions of popular apps such as WhatsApp and YouTube.

According to the report, this malware strain is capable of stealing call logs, contact information, files, SMS texts, geolocation, and device details from an Android device as well as taking photos secretly, enabling the phone or tablet’s microphone.

The latest report revealed that the Dracarys malware is named after the famous Game of Thrones dragon attack order, which is run by the hacking group Bitter APT, which operates out of South Asia. This hacking group has been said to attack users from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, India, and Pakistan.

“We found Bitter using a new custom Android malware family we named Dracarys. Notably, it used accessibility services, a feature in the Android operating system to assist users with disabilities, to automatically click through and grant the app certain permissions without the user having to do it.”

“Bitter injected Dracarys into trojanized (non-official) versions of YouTube, Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp, and custom chat applications capable of accessing call logs, contacts, files, text messages, geolocation, device information, taking photos, enabling microphone, and installing apps.

“While the malware functionality is fairly standard, as of this writing, malware and its supporting infrastructure has not been detected by existing public anti-virus systems. It shows that Bitter has managed to reimplement common malicious functionality in a way that went undetected by the security community for some time,” it added.

The Bitter APT group, which has been active since 2013, has previously targeted the energy, engineering, and government sectors with Remote Access Trojans (RATs) that were spread via spear-phishing emails or by the exploitation of known flaws. In 2021, for instance, researchers found the group exploiting a zero-day privilege escalation flaw (CVE-2021-1732) in the Windows 10 operating system.

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Four Ways Young Nigerians Can Enhance Their Digital Skills for Free

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Adopt Digital Skills

By Sean Riley

The start-up economy in Africa is booming, but all that noise makes it hard to get the correct message across to the right customers. In order to thrive, new businesses require the marketing skills relevant in our current digital age, and there has never been a better time to be a digital marketeer, capturing audiences and achieving business targets by curating campaigns and crafting narratives.

Lagos has been ranked the best city for start-ups by StartupBlink, maintaining its standing as the continent’s sole entry, within the top 100 global destinations, to stake a digital business. Moreover, in Nigeria the digital sector is contributing about 10% to the GDP, making Nigeria the best home for digital skills in the continent.

That said, the youth unemployment rate in Nigeria has accelerated to over 53% during the pandemic. Many of these so-called digital natives, born during the digital age, despite their confidence in engaging in the digital world, lack the skills or the funds to unlock the potential of this emerging tech market through traditional academic streams. There are, however, still other paths that can be explored.

Get a Digital Ad Degree

Aleph, a global leader in digital advertising, is the driving force behind the geographic expansion of the world’s biggest tech companies, across emerging markets. Aleph is committed to educating more than 50,000 people across over 90 countries, thus forming the core of the next generation of digital professionals.

The training is provided through Digital Ad Expert, featuring the flagship programme of Digital Ad Degree, all you need is access to the internet and to Zoom. The course runs over 12 weeks with a mix of live and on-demand sessions, covering the basics of strategy and analytics, as well as platform-specific advertising methodologies for all the major social media platforms.

The Aleph degree awards badges upon completion allowing you to showcase acquired skills across all social profiles. The programme also provides overviews of the current Nigerian and Ghanaian job markets so that you can put your skills immediately into practice.

The Latest Research

Digital Ad Expert also benefits from Aleph’s industry leadership through regular uploads, featuring the latest marketing trends and insights from the company. Tap into a unique well of knowledge and content to enhance your digital skills, enabling you to stay ahead of the competition, and discover real-world examples from the experts.

Listen Carefully

While social media can seem overwhelming, it can also be a valuable learning tool, allowing you to interact directly with your role models, and locate mentors. The Twitter Spaces tab is your door to topical discussions that are relevant to your interests and is the perfect way to further expand your digital understanding, wherever you are, at your convenience.

Similarly, by applying the same strategy to podcasts and you’ll quickly build an audio library that will enrich your personal skills and feed your future career ambitions.

Watch and Learn

True digital natives already know that almost anything can be learnt from watching a few YouTube videos, but what you might not know is that the development of digital skills is no exception. The real magic of the internet is in the flood of webinars you can attend for free.

Yes, the pandemic taught workplaces that workers can be productive outside of the office and that anyone can host a webinar. Therefore, keep a close eye open for event listings on relevant industry association websites (such as IAB for digital marketers), and discover an endless list of informative sessions to attend.

Sign up to Ad Experts for Free

Applications for the next group of Digital Ad Expert are now open. The first session is scheduled to kick off on August 17th, 2022. Candidates can apply to complete a free three-month comprehensive digital ad degree here. The program will be conducted in English, twice weekly, over Zoom.

Sean Riley is the CEO of Ad Dynamo by Aleph

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