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Congolese Regulator Understudies Nigeria’s Telecoms Market

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…As NCC shares regulatory experience

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

Faith in the operational excellence and regulatory efficiency that have become the marks of Africa’s foremost regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), was demonstrated recently when a delegation from the Congo-Brazzaville Telecommunications Regulations Authority (CTRA) visited the NCC on a benchmarking tour.


The delegation from the central African nation purposively paid a scheduled visit to NCC, essentially to understudy the latter’s policies, practices and programmes that have made it a model telecommunications regulatory authority on the Continent and beyond. 

The Congolese team led by CTRA’s Network Director, Benjamin Mouandza, spent three days at the NCC Head Office in Abuja, where it was exposed to key result-oriented regulatory activities, frameworks, programmes and policies of NCC, with the objective to explore how such operational frameworks could be adapted by the African nation noted for its huge rainforest reserves. 

In the letter written to the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Congloese regulator had indicated interest to gain more insights into three areas of NCC’s regulatory activities, namely, management of issues associated with Quality of Service (QoS), SIM Boxing and Call Masking, as well as telecom equipment type-approval process. 

In response to the request, Danbatta had graciously accepted to host the team and further directed relevant departments of NCC, including Special Duties (SD); Technical Standards and Network Integrity (TSNI); and the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement (CME) directorates to interact with the team to provide necessary information sharing that may be useful to the Congolese counterpart. 

Addressing the CTRA team, the NCC’s Director, TSNI, Bako Wakil, spoke extensively on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) institued by NCC on QoS and how these KPIs are measured and monitored by the Commission toward ensuring improved service delivery to the Nigeria’s ever-growing telecoms consumers.

He said this also helped to improve Quality of Experience (QoE) of the consumers. On type-approval process, Wakil stated that the Commission had developed a rigorous type-approval process to ensure that telecoms equipment, including terminal devices, manufactured in line with international standards and specifications are brought into the country.

The “NCC is serious about type-approval process like other processes, because non-type approved devices and equipment which are also not manufactured to international standards and specifications have negative implications for quality of service delivery on the networks,” he said.

Wakil also spoke extensively, to the admiration of the Congolese team, on call masking and highlighted measures the NCC had put in place to address the menace.

He described call masking as “the practice of sending international calls to an operator but disguising the calls as if they were local by sending the calls on the local interconnect route with a local number in the national numbering plan instead of the original international calling number.” 

In a related presentation to the visiting team on SIM boxing fraud and efforts being taken by the NCC to combat the menace, NCC’s Director, CME, Ephraim Nwokonneya, spoke on the problems created by fraudulent practice of SIM Boxing, including threat to national security, loss of revenue to service providers and the government.

Additionally, he asserted the anti-competitive practices associated with such acts among licensees as well as the general economic implications so evident in revenue loss. 

However, Nwokonneya itemised solutions to SIM Boxing fraud from a regulatory perspective. He declared that regulators can deploy anti-SIM boxing and call masking solutions, be proactive and effective in monitoring and enforcement, collaboration with the industry and law enforcement agencies, capacity building through training and skill acquisition programmes, as well as the review of the Enforcement Regulations and enabling laws. 

More importantly, Nwokonneya told the Congolese telecoms regulator team that collaboration between the regulator and the industry is required to effectively combat the menace of SIMBox Fraud, Call Masking and Call Refiling in conjunction with deployment of technological solution and well trained staff. 

From the presentations, it was made clear that the scale of call masking and SIMBoxing has been on the downward decline in Nigeria while the number of complaints from subscribers on incorrectly displayed calling numbers has also reduced substantially.

To prove that NCC processes emplaced to combat the menace are succeeding, Nwokonneya stated that there has been a significant and noticeable improvement in the display of correct international calling numbers into Nigeria networks. 

The NCC Directors also reiterated that the Commission is also taking strategic actions on SIM Registration, the National Identification Number (NIN) and the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) linkage policy. The NCC team informed the visitors that a maximum of four SIM numbers are permissible to be registered per subscriber per network requirement. This is another measure deployed by the NCC to tackle SIMBoxing which usually requires multiple SIMs to flourish.


The NCC team emphasised that the combination of regulatory action and deployment of technology solutions have helped to put the menace of call masking and SIMBoxing in the Nigeria’s telecoms sector under check. Commenting on the benefits of the visit, CTRA’s Mouandza, said the choice made by the Congolese regulator to visit NCC on a benchmarking tour has been worthwhile. “We have come to understand how the regulator in Nigeria has been handling some salient regulatory issues and matters in the country as it relates to telecoms.

In the course of this visit, I can say that our objective has been achieved. The experience has been very rich, we have learnt many things. We thank the EVC and his team for accepting to host us. We are more positioned now to replicate some of the things we have learnt in our telecoms market back home,” he said. 

The Congolese officials had practical demonstrations of the issues earlier discussed, especially the nature of technologies that have been deployed by the NCC to independently and remotely monitor, measure and validate QoS on the networks of mobile operators in the country. 

It will be recalled that the visit by the Congolese team came barely a month after the NCC hosted officials from Sierra Leone’s National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), who equally visited NCC to benchmark the Nigeria’s telecom regulator’s policies, programmes and regulatory activities. 

Over the years, the NCC has constantly received delegations from telecoms regulators in Africa and this trend has remained a major boost for Nigeria’s global ranking as a model in telecommunications regulation. Suffice it to say, that, these benchmarking visits have eloquently reinforced NCC’s leadership status in operational efficiency, collaborative partnership, and commitment to intra-African solidarity in the telecommunications sphere.

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Verve Rewards Cardholders with Brand New Car & Other Prizes Worth Over N50 Million

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AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

Sponsored by: H&H

Africa’s leading payment cards and digital tokens brand, Verve, in partnership with First Bank has rewarded the grand prize winner of the Transact and Win Promo, Mr. Olakunle Animasaun, the Chairman of Kanwal International Limited, with a brand-new Suzuki S-Presso car during the prize presentation ceremony at First bank’s head office in Lagos.

The Verve Transact and Win Promo organized in collaboration with First Bank was designed to reward loyal Verve cardholders with cash and exciting prizes during the 14-week period of the promo.

Over 2,500 cardholders were rewarded with more than N50 million worth of prizes, such as; a brand-new car, Generators, Refrigerators, Television sets, Gas cookers, loads of airtime rewards and an array of cash prizes.

Aside the grand prize winner driving away the brand-new car, 100 monthly winners emerged, winning N50,000 cash each and another 100 winning either Gas cookers, Refrigerators or Generator sets. Over 2,400 lucky cardholders were also rewarded weekly with either TV sets, N20,000 cash, N10,000 cash or N10,000 airtime each. It was indeed a season of rewards and merriment for the First Bank Verve cardholders.

Speaking at the prize presentation ceremony, Vincent Ogbunude, Managing Director of Verve International, said the firm partnered with First Bank to reward loyal customers because they both shared a similar vision of delivering world-class payment solutions to their esteemed customers.

He further said beyond the overarching goals of providing secure and innovative solut​​ions to its customers, Verve is committed to creating unique customer experiences and rewarding customers for their continued patronage. “We congratulate all the lucky cardholders, and we will be taking the excitement a notch higher with the presentation of the gift items and a brand-new car to lucky winners.”

Mr. Chuma Ezirim, FirstBank’s Group Executive, E-Business and Retail Products, said that the aim of the promo was to appreciate the bank’s over eight million Verve Debit Cardholders. He stated that the bank will continue to partner with Verve to reward the patronage of customers.

Mr. Olakunle Animasaun, said he never expected to win the grand prize and he was overwhelmed with the excitement of winning the car.

He said, “Initially I doubted the credibility when someone called me from ​F​irst ​B​ank, informing me I had won a car. I did not believe it, until I got here, saw the car and the key was handed over to me. I thank FirstBank and Verve for this opportunity given to me. I pray that God will continue to bless them.”

He urged other cardholders to continue to use Verve cards to enjoy seamless payment solutions.

The presentation ceremony had representatives from the Regulatory bodies; National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) among others in attendance. 

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Interswitch To Headline One Africa Music Fest, Sponsor 20 Customers

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AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

Sponsored by: H&H

Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company, Interswitch is set to, yet again headline the Interswitch One Africa Music scheduled to hold in New York, and Dubai, this year.

This is the company’s third consecutive headline-sponsorship of the music festival that celebrates and showcases Africa’s music and creative talents to the world.

As a company that gives back, Interswitch has announced that it will be rewarding 20 lucky customers with an all-expenses-paid trip to the Dubai concert to experience the electrifying performances by some of Africa’s biggest artistes, alongside other global stars. The lucky winners from the ‘Never Stop Vibing’ campaign will be selected from a monthly raffle draw that will hold at the end of August, September and October 2022.

To qualify for the draw and win a ticket to Africa’s biggest music fest, interested participants are advised to download the Quickteller app and conduct a minimum of three (3) transactions every month, from August 1, 2022, to October 31, 2022.

Interswitch has consistently headlined the show for three consecutive years, enabling the African music industry and elevating African artistry to reach a global audience, rooted in its belief in taking African talent beyond the continent for wider recognition and consumption.

Interswitch’s sponsorship of the music fest is an expression of its desire to strive for value realization, engaging customers’ passion points, providing rewarding brand experiences and connecting music lovers with their favourite artistes.

Speaking on the sponsorship, Olawale Akanbi, Group Head, Growth Marketing – Merchant & Ecosystem, Interswitch Group, said that Interswitch’s consistent support of the music fest mirrors the company’s desire to throw its weight behind the growth of African talents across industries, from tech to music.

He added, “We make conscious efforts to tap into opportunities that showcase African talents to a global audience, sustaining the international momentum which has been gained by Afrobeats music, while fostering collaboration that leads to growth.”

Also remarking on the campaign, Priscilla Iyari, Brand Manager, Quickteller, Interswitch Group noted that Interswitch’s renewal of its sponsorship is a commitment to reaching consumers at their various touchpoints, especially their passion points & lifestyle, beyond just payments.

Iyari said, “We are excited to headline the Interswitch One Africa Music Fest again this year. It serves as another customer-engaging avenue to reward our loyal customers with an experience of a lifetime’’. She further stated that the brand continues to demonstrate its support for the African music industry by curating and sponsoring initiatives such as Quickteller Barz and Notes, DJ Kaywise’s Joor party, as well as other concerts.

The Interswitch One Africa Music Fest brings together artistes from across Africa who will share the stage with other renowned performers from other parts of the globe to thrill fans and music lovers with hit collections.

Artistes such as Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Omawumi, and Flavour, among others have graced the events held in three different cities: New York, London, and Dubai, in the past. The line-up this year promises to be just as star-studded.

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Mouka Rewards Business Partners Nationwide with Exciting Gifts to Enhance Trade, Assures Endearing Relationship

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AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

Sponsored by: H&H

Mouka, Nigeria’s leading manufacturer of mattresses, pillows, and other bedding products, has rewarded its loyal Business Partners with fabulous prizes in recognition of their contribution to the company’s growth trajectory.

Gifts such as Tricycles, Air Conditioners and Television sets were presented to the highly elated Business Partners amidst the glitz and glamour of the African-themed evening. Celebrities, medical practitioners, media and other professionals attended the fun-filled event at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Saturday, 6 August 2022.

Commending the market leader, a Business Partner from the South-west region and one of the beneficiaries of the award, Alhaji Mufutau Owolabi, stated that the relationship with Mouka has been cordial, mutually beneficial and rewarding. He eulogised the company for its immense support over the years.

Also, another beneficiary, Ismaila Amusa, avowed that Mouka has been adding value to his business through similar rewards that have positively impacted his trade. “I am highly delighted to be one of the company’s Business Partners; l can confidently say it is the best in the industry,” Amusa stated.

In his remark, Mouka’s Managing Director, Femi Fapohunda, commended the Business Partners for their continued loyalty to the brand. “Mouka’s success story spanning over 63 years would not have been possible without your hard work and dedication. Our ability to maintain the leading position in the sleep industry of Nigeria could not have been possible without you. We call you partners because you have continued to demonstrate immense commitment to this relationship which has resulted in steady growth and achievement of our business objectives”, Fapohunda stated.

Furthermore, Mouka’s MD stated that the tricycles would augment the trucks they were presented with in easing the challenges relating to logistics. With these tricycles, their Business Partners can service smaller orders quickly and cost-effectively.

The company’s Chief Commercial Officer, Chief Dimeji Osingunwa, cheered the Business Partners, urging them to do more in the year’s second half. He also presented a new scheme where the Business Partners could win trips to exotic destinations such as Rio de Janeiro, Marakesh in Morocco and Zanzibar in Tanzania upon achievement of their sales target for July to December of 2022. The announcement of the new reward scheme was received with loud applause and excitement.

As the propagator of a healthy sleep culture in Nigeria, the brand heritage and product quality have spurred endorsements by the National Association of Orthopedic Manual Therapists (NAOMT) and the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy (NSP).

According to the President of the NSP, Dr Nnenna Chigbo, ‘’when you sleep well, your mental and physical health improves. With the Mouka Wellbeing range of orthopaedic mattresses, you sleep better and wake up with a strong body to tackle your day”.

In the same vein, the President of NAOMT, Dr Onigbinde Teslim, remarked: “before our endorsement, Mouka has been a household name in Nigeria, but as scientists, we needed proof. We analysed their processes and products and found mattresses, especially the Wellbeing range, to be world-class and ideal for back health and general wellness”.

Mouka’s Brand Ambassador, ‘The King Of Boys’, also known as ‘Toyin Tomato’, Nollywood star Sola Sobowale shared her Mouka Story with the invitees. “My relationship with the brand started before I was born. My parents slept on Mouka and raised us sleeping on Mouka mattresses. A healthy diet, exercise and quality sleep on Mouka have helped me stay on my game.

At my age, I still rock high-heeled shoes, and my back still stands Kakaraka”, she said.With side attractions of comedy, games, dance presentations, and live music, it was a night filled with fun, laughter and fulfilment for all who attended.

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