Etisalat Nigeria, the fourth entrant into the GSM market in Nigeria has promised to increase its involvement in local innovation that will further drive the telecoms sector.
Public Relations Manager at Etisalat Nigeria, Chineze Amanfo, made the promise in Lagos at the quarterly seminar organised by the Nigeria Information and Communications Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA).
Amanfo, while speaking at the seminar which was sponsored by Etisalat Nigeria, with the theme: “Engendering Local Innovation in the Telecoms Sector” said that Etisalat has been at the forefront, promoting local innovation in the telecoms industry, and promised that the company would do more in engendering participation in local innovation in the telecoms industry, especially now that the subscriber number across all networks is increasing daily, with its current figure put at 142 million active subscribers.
She emphasised the need to further grow the telecoms sector through capacity building and local innovation solutions, adding that Etisalat is partnering with Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in the training telecommunication engineers, which would enhance local capacity building in the sector.
In his welcome address the President of NITRA, Mr. Emma Okonji said Nigeria is today recognised as the largest economy in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over $500 billion, a figure arrived after the rebasing exercise that took place last year.
He explained that the activities of telecommunications, no doubt, contributed immensely in helping Nigeria to achieve this feat, and considering the growth in telecommunications in Nigeria, with over 190 million connected lines on all networks and over 142 million of these lines active, and with a teledensity that has surpassed 101 per cent.
Okonji challenged telecoms operators to develop local capacity and engender local innovations in the sector.
“In order to build upon the current achievements in telecoms, NITRA has taken it as a point of duty to the industry to use its quarterly seminar series, as veritable platform, to advance discussions on the need to promote local innovations in the telecoms industry. We therefore consider the topic for this seminar apt and timely as it gives us the lee-way to discuss issues around the use of local content and local innovations in creating relevant ICT devices and solutions that will drive further development in the telecoms sector,” Okonji said.
Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, who was represented at the seminar by NCC Commissioner, Dr. Mike Onyia, said: “From a regulatory point of view, innovation is key to the telecom industry. After the initial discoveries and development in the telecom sector, it is innovation that has catapulted growth in the sector to the height that it is achieved today. Innovation in the industry is also an attribute that is not exclusive to nations or states. The ready examples of uncountable number of apps developed in different parts of the world, riding on all available networks or platforms, shows that innovation is driving the industry.”
According to Juwah, the Commission has adopted technology neutrality in its licensing process in order to provide opportunity for creativity and innovation in the provision of services.
“Provision of choice with the entry of multiple providers, and encouraging competition using regulatory tools is also designed to encourage local innovation in the provision of services. It is well known that innovation provides mutual benefit to both the service provider and consumer of the service, Juwah said.
He promised that NCC would continue to encourage innovations in all aspects of the industry, as it is appropriate to predict that when broadband services become very much available in Nigeria as planned, which will give it an inevitable push for more innovations in the ways services are delivered today.
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L-R: President of NITRA, Emman Okonji, Manager PR Etisalat, Chimezie Amanfo and CEO Zinox Group, Mr Leo Stan Eke at the presentation of award to Eke during the NITRA seminar held in Lagos,recently