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MTN earns N453bn profit in 2018

By News desk

Telecommunication giant, MTN Nigeria recorded N453.1 billion Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) in 2018.

The communications company also attracted additional six million subscribers to its network in the year.

The company made the disclosure in its annual report released on Thursday in Lagos.

It said that the six million subscribers brought the total number of subscribers in its network to 58 million, adding that the 2018 EBITDA represented 30.8 per cent profit growth.

MTN Nigeria also disclosed its intention to list by introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in the first half of 2019.

The report showed a service revenue increase by 17.2 per cent, data revenue increase by 39.3 per cent, digital revenue decrease by 58.1 per cent and Fintech revenue increase by 32.7 per cent.

It also showed an EBITDA margin increase by 4.5 per cent to a total 43.6 per cent (excl CBN payment).

Commenting on the results, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, said: “This growth was built on our sustained focus on customer centric delivery – ensuring that customers get much more value for their money.

“This included deployment of proactive interventions to improve customer experience, together with enhancement of network quality and coverage, and optimisation of our services portfolio.

“We also enabled an additional eight million people to access the possibilities that the internet provides, bringing our total data subscriber base to 44 million, of which 18.7 million use more than five megabytes per month.

“We are now even better positioned to ensure that everyone can access the benefits of a modern connected life.”

Moolman thanked MTN Nigeria partners and regulators for their contributions.

He said that the company understood how access to  opportunities enabled by the internet could open up new industries even in the remotest areas.

The chief executive officer said that there was the need to continue to focus on delivering social innovations such as mobile electricity and financial services for all.

He said that the company would leverage on its technology to enable high-impact mobile solutions in education, health and agriculture in communities.

“MTN plans to list by introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange during the first half of 2019, and is looking to simplify the capital structure ahead of this listing.

“The company’s listing on the exchange will create a new telecoms asset class for investors and provide an opportunity for a wider group of Nigerians to participate in our investment story,” he added.

Telephone subscribers hits 174m in Nigeria

By News Desk

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), says there was 174,012,136 active subscribers on the telecommunication networks in January 2019, as against 172,871,094 recorded in December 2018.

The telecommunications regulator disclosed this in its Monthly Subscriber and Operator Data made available on its website on Friday.

It was gathered that the active subscribers increased by 1,141,042 during the period under review.

According to the data, 173,625,306 of the 174,012,136 active numbers subscribe to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network services.

The GSM operators’ active customers’ figure increased by 1,139,501 in January, after the 172,485,805 subscribers recorded in December 2018.

The reports stated that out of the GSM operators, MTN had 66,665,378 users in January, showing a decrease of 467,631 from the 67,133,009 it recorded in December 2018.

Globacom’s figure increased in January by 348,341 with 45,603,638 customers, as against 45,255,297 in December 2018.

Airtel had 44,970,973 subscribers in the month under review, which showed an increase of 790,489 users, from the 44,180,484 recorded in December 2018.

9mobile recorded 16,385,317 customers in January, having an increase of 468,302 subscribers, against 15,917,015 in December 2018.

The Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators recorded 124,257 subscribers in the month under review, indicating a decrease of 165, from 124,092 users in December 2018.

Visafone, which is one of the two surviving CDMA operators had 119,797 customers in January 2019, showing an increase of 165 from the 119,632 recorded in December 2018.

On the other hand, Multi-Links had 4,460 in the month under review, same with the record of December 2018.

The monthly subscriber/operator data showed that the Fixed Wireless Network (landline) consumers remained at 26,865 in January 2019.

One of the two landline networks, Visafone had 26,437 subscribers, while Multi-Links maintained its record of 428 customers in the month under review.

It also revealed that the Fixed Wired operators (landline) subscriber base decreased by 5,677; reducing to 107,949 users in January, as against 113,626 recorded in December 2018.

In the Fixed Wired arena, MTN Fixed moved from 5,450 users in December 2018 to 5,480 users in January 2019, thereby increasing by 30 customers.

Glo Fixed had 2,896 users in January, increasing by 17 customers from the December 2018 record of 2,879.

IpNX network moved from 2,281 subscriber base in December 2018 to 2,248 in January 2019, hence, its customers decreased by 33.

It said that 21st Century Network had 97,325 customers in January, recording a decrease of 5,691 users from its December 2018 record of 103,016 subscribers.

The report also showed that the two Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) networks had 127,759 active users in January, as their customers increased by 7,053, from their December 2018 subscriber base of 120,706.

Of the VOIP networks, Smile Communication had 121,261 customers, giving an increase of 8,060 users to its December result of 113,201.

Ntel had 6,498 consumers subscribing to its products and services in January, showing a decrease of 1,007 users to the December 2018 record of 7,505.

The regulatory body said that Section 89, Subsection 3(c) of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 mandated it to monitor and report the state of the telecommunications industry.

“The commission is mandated to provide statistical analyses and identify industry trends with regard to: services, tariffs, operators, technology, subscribers, issues of competition and dominance.

“This is to identify areas where regulatory intervention will be needed.

“The commission regularly conducts studies, surveys and produces reports on the telecommunications industry.

“Therefore, telecommunications operators are obligated, under the terms of their licenses, to provide NCC with such data on a regular basis for analytical review and publishing,” NCC said.

Facebook tightens rules for political adverts for Nigeria, others due to upcoming election

Facebook is tightening the rules of political advertising on its platform in countries with big elections to be held in 2019, such as India, Nigeria, and Ukraine, Reuters reported.

The company is taking such measures in order to counter interference with the electoral process, the source noted.

According to Katie Harbath, director of global policy and coverage, beginning on Wednesday in Nigeria, only ads located in the country will be able to run electoral ads, mirroring a policy unveiled during an Irish referendum last May.

Tthe same policy will take effect in Ukraine in February, the source noted adding that Nigeria holds a presidential election on Feb. 16, while Ukraine will follow on March 31.

What comes to India, which parliamentary elections set for this spring, Facebook will place electoral ads in a searchable online library starting from next month, said Rob Leathern, a director of product management at the company.

“We’re learning from every country,” he said. “We know we’re not going to be perfect, but our goal is continuing, ongoing improvement.”

Facebook believes that holding the ads in a library for a total of seven years is a key part of fighting interference, he noted.

CBN, MTN reach agreement on $8.1 bn remittances

By News desk

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and MTN Nigeria Communications have resolved issues relating to $8.1 billion foreign exchange remittances by the telecom giant.

In a statement, the CBN however identified the proceeds from the preference shares in MTN’s private placement remittances of 2008 were irregular having been based on Certificate of Capital Importation (CCIs) that were issued without the final approval of CBN.

“The CBN and MTN have mutually agreed that the aforementioned transaction be reversed notionally to bring it into full compliance with foreign exchange laws and regulations,” the CBN said.

The CBN had in August 2018 directed MTN Communications Limited (MTN) to reverse repatriations valued at $8.1 billion done on its behalf by four commercial banks between 2007 and 2015 on the basis of CCIs irregularly issued to MTN.

The apex bank said that following the keen interest shown by various stakeholders sequel to the regulatory action, the CBN committed to engage further with MTN with a view to achieving an equitable resolution.

“Consequent upon the above, MTN, led by its Nigerian shareholders, held intensive engagements with the CBN in the course of which it supplied additional material information, not previously offered to the Bank, satisfactorily clarifying its remittances.

“Having now reviewed the additional documentation provided by the company, the CBN has concluded that MTN is no longer required to reverse the historical dividend payments made to MTN Nigeria shareholders,” it said.

The apex bank added: “The parties have resolved that execution of the terms of the agreement will lead to amicable disposal of the pending legal suit between the parties and final resolution of the matter.

“The CBN assures foreign investors that the integrity of the CCIs issued by authorised dealers remain sacrosanct. Potential investors are encouraged to take advantage of the enormous investment opportunities that abound within Nigeria”.

 

$8.1bn CBN, MTN rift will be resolved soon-NCC

By Newsdesk

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday assured investors that the ongoing rift between Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and telecommunication giant, MTN, would ended soon.

NCC assurance came weeks after federal High Court sitting in Lagos fixed hearing on $2 billion tax dispute between Federal Government and MTN Group, for February 2019.

The Nigerian telecoms regulator stressed that the rift between both parties were already been resolved and soon “it will be over.”

Issuing the assurance, executive vice chairman, NCC, Umar  Dambatta, said: Nigeria’s government “is disposed to (an) amicable resolution.”

On tax, the court registrar disclosed that the hearing would commence February 7, 2019.

He hinted that a judge was scheduled to hear the case but the could not sit and the hearing had been moved to February.

MTN faces a $2 billion tax demand from the country’s attorney general, a claim which the company has said is without merit.

Australia bans mobile phones in schools

By News desk

Worried by fall in students academic performance, New South Wales State (NSW) Government in Australia has concluded plans to ban mobile phones and any smart devices in schools next year,

According to the Government, the ban would assist to further quell the rising number of online bullying cases.

Justifying reasons for the ban, NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, in a statement on Thursday, said: “Distraction and bullying have always been issues for schools to deal with but mobile phones present a new challenge for schools, teachers, parents and students.

“We want to ensure mobile phones and other smart devices complement students’ learning, and are handled at school in an age-appropriate way.

“These changes will provide clear boundaries in our schools to ensure technology remains an enabler, not a detractor.”

While the ban will be in full effect in the state’s primary schools for children aged between 5-12, high schools will be given the option to opt in or “introduce measures to more tightly restrict the use of devices during school hours.”

The move comes on the back of an independent review commissioned by the NSW government in June.

This is where renowned child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg and his team examined 14,000 survey responses to measure the impact that mobile phones are having on educational outcomes and child development in schools.

“We’ll work with schools to implement the changes recommended in the report, helping them manage the risks and rewards of using mobile phones inside the school gates,” NSW Education Minister, Rob Stokes, said.

“These changes are about keeping our schools safe and protecting the welfare of our students when they’re in our care.”

The ban will come into effect from the beginning of 2019.

Great news IGers: Select who can view your stories

 

Yes! Now you can get really personal on your Instagram social media, with the Close friend feature introduced by the application.

You can handpick people from your followers who will view your stories by using this feature, and it will be hidden room your other followers and the public. Awesome right!

Instagram is helping you achieve your privacy need as the social media world keeps expanding every second. For someone that has the mom or dad, or that nosy aunt or a stalker on your list, you can successfully keep your activities awa from him/her.

Here’s all you have to do;

Make sure your app is the most recent version,

  • Go to your Profile page by tapping the profile icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.
  • Tap the three lines icon in the top right corner of your screen.
  • Tap Close Friends and then tap Add next to the names of people who you want to add to your Close Friends list. You can also tap Search to search for a friend.
  • Once you’ve finished adding people to your list, tap Done.

You can easily add more or remove from this list using similar process.

 

And just like regular Instagram Stories posts, your story will be available to view for only 24 hours for your Close Friends list.

 

 

Here’s how to share a story to your close friends:

  • Tap the camera icon on the top left corner.
  • Choose an image or video you intend to share.
  • Once you do that, you will see two icons at the down left side of your screen with “your story” and “close friends” text underneath.
  • Tap close friends and voila done

Once you’ve posted an Instagram story to your Close Friends list, your profile image will appear with a green circle around it, both on your Profile page (which only you can see) and in your Close Friends’ feed.

The green circle helps it stand out from the other pink circles that usually highlight an account has live Instagram Stories posts you haven’t seen yet. Others that are not on your list can’t see it.

 

 

By Mariam Haruna

haroonmaream3@gmail.com

Court fixes $2bn FG, MTN case for 2019

By Newsdesk

The federal High Court sitting in Lagos will commence hearing on the $2 billion tax dispute between Federal Government and South African telecoms firm MTN Group.

According to the Court registrar, the hearing would commence on February 2019.

In a statement released on Monday, the court registrar disclosed that the hearing would commence February 7, 2019.

A judge was scheduled to hear the case on Monday but a registrar stressed that the court would not sit and the hearing had been moved to February.

MTN faces a $2 billion tax demand from the country’s attorney general, a claim which the company has said is without merit.

Blackberry unveils new brand to rival infinix, Techno, others

By Newsdesk

In a bid to rival Infinix, Techno and other android in Nigeria, Blackberry Mobile has unveiled Blackberry KEY2 LE, an Android version of Blackberry smartphone in the Nigerian market.

The re-born icon Blackberry brand is being sponsored by Ngilex Mobile Ltd, basically to take over the market it once control.

At the unveiling on Monday in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer, Ngilex, Kingsley Obaji, said that with the Blackberry KEY2 LE, the company was targeting larger part of the market share in Nigeria by end of 2019.

Obaji stressed that said that Nigeria was 7th in the world in terms of cell phone usage; hence, the Nigerian smartphone market had to be taken seriously, saying, that was why it was the first to receive and market the Blackberry KEY2 LE smartphone.

He said that the KEY2 LE came at a time when the Nigerian market was looking for a different smartphone option.

The CEO stated that Blackberry was ready for the competition in the market, as it had the best product that would enable it becomes the leader in the smartphone market in a couple of years.

According to him, Ngilex Mobile wants Blackberry phones to be organic, to be part of Nigerian smartphone business; hence, is looking at what the market demands.

“Nigerian market demands the best. The market is large; the Nigerian users are smart and looking for better options. We are looking at capturing some five per cent to 10 per cent market share within the next year and this requires a lot of efforts in marketing and outreach,” he added.

The Ngilex boss explained that the new product brought together iconic Blackberry features; with new experience that included dual-SIM, dual-rear camera, more intelligent keyboard, extended battery life and improved privacy controls.

He said that the Blackberry KEY2 LE ran the latest Android 8.1 Oreo operating system and provided access to millions of applications in the Google Play store.

According to him, the company brings values of productivity, reliability and security to the next level.

“Talking about productivity, the BlackBerry KEY2 LE has all the features you need to manage your work, travel, and personal life on the go.

“This includes support for dual personal accounts and business ready software that makes it easier to manage all aspects of your business and personal life.

“The BlackBerry KEY2 LE is the first BlackBerry with dual account management built in to enable you to separately manage both personal and professional social media profiles on apps like Facebook and Instagram.

“All Blackberry devices we are bringing into Nigeria are dual SIM enable and will support dual WhatsApp and other apps that require unique numbers.

“In Nigeria, most cell phone users are carrying multiple phones on multiple carriers. You can have these lines on a single device, while avoiding carrying the power bank that most users are used to here in Nigeria,” he said.

Obaji said that the phone came with BlackBerry Hub, which brought all your messages into one consolidated place – including emails, texts and messages from almost any social media account; including WhatsApp.

He said that for reliability, the phone had power to get one through the day with enhanced battery features.

“The BlackBerry KEY2 LE features a powerful and efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and battery that can stay powered through a full day and often into a second day of use (22 hours of mixed usage).

“With contextual battery reminder, the BlackBerry KEY2 LE will learn from your daily charging habits and calendar appointments to recommend when to charge.

“This is to ensure you have the battery power to get through important meetings, trips, and events. Never get caught out again with suddenly needing to charge before going flat.

“Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 enables up to 50 per cent charge in just 36 minutes. Turbo Charge your battery and get power fast, to do more, when you need it most.

“The BlackBerry KEY2 LE includes enhanced security and built-in privacy features right from the start,” he said.

Earlier, Vice President, Ngilex Mobile Ltd., Thomas Larson, explained that the new product has unique features that distinguished it from other in the market.

Larson said that the phone combined the best of professional and personal use and the price could not be matched.

“All our phones come with standard one-year warranty provided by McDorsey Services Company Ltd., ” he said.

Made-in-Africa smartphone hits market

By Newsdesk

After several years of wait, Africa has joined the league of continents producing their smartphones in accordance with the peoples specification.

To launch Africa into the league, the continent’s high-tech player, Mara, yesterday, announced the production of their newest product the Maraphone – the first made-in-Africa.

“China has Huawei, Xiaomi; the U.S has iPhone and finally Africa has Maraphone,”

Founder of Mara Group, Ashish Thakkar, told newsmen at the final day of the Africa Investment Forum, that full-scale of it’s smartphone would soon be manufactured in plants across Africa.

“This project will show the potential and ability that Africa can produce high quality and affordable smartphones in Africa, by Africans, for Africans and for the rest of the world.

“We are extremely grateful for the African Development Banks push in this sector which greatly encouraged our progress,” Thakkar said.

The Maraphone phone, a first-of-its-kind in the history of Africa, will produce high quality and affordable smartphones to primarily serve the population of Africa and also with the aim to export to other continents such as Europe.

“This is going to be totally transformative and create thousands of direct jobs,” Thakkar added.

While global manufacture of phones is on the rise and expected to hit a billion in the next few years, none of them are produced on the continent, Thakkar lamented.

The initial target market for the phones would be first-time African smart phone users, while the first manufacturing plants are to be located in Rwanda and South Africa.

President, African Development Bank (ADB), Akinwunmi Adesina, hinted that the value of the continent’s mobile money would skyrocket very soon and could be catastrophe if Africa does not produce the needed tool for such.

“By 2020, the value of Africa’s mobile money industry is projected to top $14 billion. We need African-developed mobile phones to leverage this potential. Africa is bold, strong and innovative. Africa’s time is now,” Adesina added.

Mara Corporation is an African Group headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda, started from a small IT business in East Africa to the globally recognized multi-sector investment group that exists today.

Through its investments, Mara Corporation now employs over 14,000 people across 26 African countries in sectors spanning technology, financial services and energy. Mara’s key focus is to do good & do well at the same time.