Technology Times News

Technology Times News originally was created for for the Nigerian ICT Industry.
Content is from the site's 2007 archived pages.

 

2007 News 

Software: The Factory in Our Heads (II)

By Chris Uwaje

THE LINUX EXPERIENCE: One important thing the Knowledge revolution has taught us is that “the future is what we ‘create’ and NOT what we inherit” If we had listened to the voice of knowledge decades ago, Nigeria or a Nigerian could possibly have invented or created an Operating System such as or similar to but preceding LINUX!! LINUX marketplace acceptance shows that mankind is yet to starch the tip of the iceberg as far as ICT is concerned. The Use of Linux is spreading throughout the business world at unprecedented rates. In all industries, including telecommunications, petroleum, geophysical sciences, financial services, government, automotive, computer aided engineering and design, the economics of Linux are simply overwhelming.

ANALYST FINDINGS: According to industry analyst, IDC, Linux Server Shipments are expected to grow by 28.5% CAGR in 2002-2007 compared to 10.3% CAGR for Windows Unit Market share for Linux servers is expected to grow by 13.6% 2002-06 compared to a decline of -3.6% for Windows. Revenue market share for Linux servers is expected to grow by 9% 2002-07 compared to an increase of 5.4% for Windows. Linux is also the fastest growing OS in terms of Revenue share. Linux adoption among mid-sized businesses is growing. According to Gartner, 45 percent of mid-sized businesses are already using or experimenting with Linux, the open source operating system. Gartner Dataquest Servers Quarterly Statistics for the first quarter of 2003 found that IBM outpaced the Linux market and all of its competitors by gaining share year to year by 1.0 point, with 55% year to year revenue growth.

IBM CUSTOMER AND PARTNER ADOPTION: There are now more than 6,000 IBM Linux customer engagements worldwide, allowing customers to reduce their computing costs with solutions ranging from web serving to some of the largest supercomputers doing seismic processing, financial calculations and genomic research. Worldwide, more than 75 IBM government customers - including agencies in France, Spain, UK, Australia, Mexico, the United States and Japan – have embraced Linux to save costs, consolidate workloads, increase efficiency and enact e-government transformation.

Since Linux on the mainframe was introduced in late 2000, it has grown to approximately 20% of mainframe capacity shipped and approximately 17% of revenue. The mainframe's revenue from Linux grew more than 40% from 4Q01 to 4Q02. As of 4Q02, in approximately two years of availability, there were about 600 Linux on the mainframe customers in pilot or production.
Much of the mainframe's success is the result of IBM's investment in critical "new workloads," including Linux, WebSphere, SAP and other leading enterprise business applications, which now makeup more than 60% of mainframe capacity shipped. 12% (Large), 17% (Medium), and 30% (Small) of iSeries customers have Linux servers. 


Among the most popular development areas, help desk systems for webstores and service providers are making inroads due to demands for better customer support and crm demands. Cross platform services like Zendesk are in great demand, and the support systems developed to ease implementation are rapidly making inroads internationally. The worldwide demand for software providing Zendesk help as well as support for other universal help desk solutions is driving investment in systems that can manage ever larger customer bases. And Linux has always been in forefront of these help desk providers. Over 80 solutions have been announced by Solution Providers for Linux on iSeries There are now more than 50,000 Windows and Intel developers actively creating Linux-based applications that run on IBM software, including WebSphere, DB2, Lotus and Tivoli, to build applications that run on Linux. These developers have created more than 6,500 Linux-based applications for IBM software. Some 4,700 Business Partners support Linux-enabled IBM software. Two thirds of these new Linux-based apps are being created by corporate developers, signaling that more and more businesses are making the move to Linux. One third are being created by ISVs. IBM'S INVESTMENT IN LINUX: Linux and the open movement are central to the IT industry and to IBM's e-business on demand strategy. IBM offers the broadest support for Linux, spanning its portfolio of hardware, software and services. IBM promotes the growth of Linux through the work of IBM's Linux Technology Center, made up of more than 250 engineers worldwide who work full-time on Linux as part of the open source community. 

There are more than 7,500 IBM employees working on Linux in porting centers, research, services, development labs, and sales and marketing. IBM is shipping over 65 software products on Linux across its IBM DB2, WebSphere, Lotus and Tivoli software families IBM is committed to using Linux inside IBM with more than 3,500 servers running Linux. Mission critical applications that run Linux include the IBM website, support of IBM's new $2.5B 300mm chip manufacturing facility, and applications supporting more than 300,000 IBM employees worldwide. In addition, IBM hosts websites for many of its customers on Linux, including Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open and many other sporting events. IBM has opened a variety of Linux-based centers around the world that are dedicated to helping customers, BPs and developers make the move to an open, standards-based approach to computing. From the Linux Center of Competence on Wall Street to the Government Solutions Center in DC, IBM gives developers a place to roll up their sleeves to test new Linux-based. 

 

Nigeria sells last GSM licence for $400m

By Shina Badaru

Lagos, Nigeria. Thursday, January 11, 2007. Nigeria’s fifth global system for mobile communications (GSM) licence spectrum has been offered at a princely price of $400 million to a consortium made up Mubadala Development of United Arab Emirates, former Chairman, UBA Plc, Hakeem Belo-Osagie, among other investors.

Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates monopoly telecoms operator is also tipped to operate the licence following the acceptance of the offer by the Arab investors from the Nigerian government.

Technology Times sources confirmed that the last 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum packages have been offered to the consortium that will see the emergence of a fifth big mobile operator in competition with MTN, Celtel Nigeria, Glo mobile and Mtel.

Existing GSM operators were granted 15 years exclusive access to a 40 MHz spectrum package, comprising 2x5 MHz in the 900MHz band and 2x15MHz in the 1800MHz band, to be used for delivering digital mobile telephony services. 

The offer, which may be announced soon comes amid plans by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to auction new radio-spectrum in the 1800 MHz, 3G and 450 MHz, bands, leading to the award of new licences to both existing and new operators in the fast-growth telecoms market in Nigeria.

Technology Times checks revealed that the offer came through a deal brokered by the influential Belo-Osagie who made an unsuccessful bid for a licence in the 2001 GSM licence auctions. It is Belo-Osagie’s return for lucrative telecoms sector stakes after a botched attempt in the January 2001 GSM auctions that led to the issuance of three GSM licences. Belo-Osagie, who was part of the United Networks consortium, which partnered with Orascom of Egypt withdrew from the race after indicating a waiver in the fourth round and second day of the auctions that saw winning bidders eventually paying $285 per licence. 

Post-auctions media reports quoted Belo-Osagie as saying that, “the final amount was a higher figure than we thought was economic.”

Lately, existing operators have made unsuccessful moves to have the last spectrum bundled with their existing frequency bouquet claiming it would enhance their service efficiency. They have also not succeeded in convincing the regulatory authority to conduct a ‘beauty contest’ instead of the proposed auctions to sell the frequency spectrum.

Mubadala Development of United Arab Emirates is an investment company wholly owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi. Set up in October 2002 through Emiri Decree No. 12 of 2002, with mandate to establish new companies or to acquire stakes in existing companies in the UAE or abroad and to focus on generating sustainable economic benefits for the emirate of Abu Dhabi through partnerships with local, regional and international investors.

The Board of NCC had last month announced the auction of radio-spectrum in the 1800 MHz, 3G and 450 MHz, bands, leading to the award of new licences.

It says the new licences will attract more investment into the communications market and encourage the deployment of advanced technology to continue the development of telecommunications in Nigeria.

Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Ernest Ndukwe, says the allocation of more spectrums will provide an opportunity to attract new operators intending to invest and launch telecommunications services in Nigeria.

Importantly, the release of more spectrums supports the Government’s policy of improving access to communication services and extending coverage, especially into rural areas. 

Subscribers can also expect to receive an increased range of services, improved quality of service and better value for money, he adds noting that, “NCC will ensure that the process of awarding spectrum will be competitive and fair.” 

NCC adds that the process for awarding licences has started with the appointment of PA Consulting Group, a leading firm of international management and telecommunications consultants. It has been tasked by the NCC with assisting in developing and overseeing the auction and award of licences, to ensure the process meets international best practice.

It plans to issue a ‘Public Notice’ soon that will provide more details about the spectrum on offer and the timeframes involved.

 

 

Globacom plans mobile service in Ghana

By Shina Badaru

Lagos, Nigeria. January 18, 2007. Nigeria’s second national operator (SNO), Globacom Limited is quietly putting finishing touches to plans to roll out commercial mobile services in Ghana.

Technology Times checks reveal today that the SNO plans to explore the West African mobile beginning with Ghana where there are four mobile operators and another new entrant billed to go this year.

While the SNO had Tuesday denied that it has opened talks to buy up Ghana’s new mobile market entrant, Western Telesystems (WESTEL) Ghana Limited, it has been established authoritatively that Globacom hopes to acquire stakes in Ghana’s telecoms market this year.

Details of the talks are still very fluid for now but plans are on the table by Globacom to spin off a mobile service in Ghana very soon, Technology Times sources confirmed.

The SNO had last year announced plans to acquire stakes in an Indian operator as part of its plans to become an international player and make the Asian nation a hub for its human capital needs. Very little has so far emerged of the former plan as it appears that Globacom’s new foray into Ghana may have shifted priority from its Indian exploration.

Globacom’s spokesman, Bode Opeseitan, told Technology Times on phone from Accra, Ghana Tuesday where the company is also putting finishing touches to host the CAF African Footballer of The Year Awards that the SNO has not opened talks with the speculated Ghanaian company at all dismissing media reports of purported acquisition talks with Westel.

He cites the reports as “speculative” while keeping the SNO’s plans close to his chest.
Media reports in Ghana cited that “speculations” is rife that Globacom is set to take over the operations of Westel in Ghana.

“That is not true”, says Opeseitan, who notes that he had upon arrival in Accra he had also heard similar news. 

“The truth of it is that it is all mere speculations. We have never met or discussed with them at all”, he adds citing that Westel, the last entrant into the country mobile market will not be an attractive offer if at all such a plan was being considered by the Nigerian SNO.

Ghana’s CITI FM in a report quotes sources saying that Globacom intends to take over Westel to inject the needed cash and resources ahead towards the planned roll out of its commercial mobile service in Ghana. 

Already, Westel is in dire need of cash after it got a mobile licence from the National Communications Authority (NCA) last year bringing to five the number of players in the Ghanaian mobile landscape.

The Ghanaian daily newspaper Graphic Ghana reports that WESTEL is the second state-owned company alongside Ghana Telecom granted wireless concession. WESTEL was awarded the second national operator's licence in 1997 and granted a five-year duopoly on basic telecoms services alongside incumbent Ghana Telecom. However, it has been blighted by bureaucratic disagreements and a lack of investment, and has since not been able to meet its targets of rolling out up to 100,000 fixed lines across the country.

According to the report, MTN has shown interest in Westel in the past but the absence of a mobile licence would almost certainly have been a stumbling block.

At the last count in June 2006 the number of mobile subscribers stood at over 3.34 million, up from around 2.65 million at the start of the year and a rise of 82.8 per cent on the 1.45 million recorded at the end of 2004. By 1 July 2006 GSM operator Spacefon Areeba, backed by Lebanon-based Investcom Holdings (now bought by MTN), had 2.02 million subscribers, putting it ahead of Millicom International Cellular's (MIC's) Mobitel unit, the oldest of all the providers, which had 737,749 users to its Tigo-branded service. State-owned national PTO Ghana Telecom (GT) had an estimated 450,000 subscribers to its GT-OneTouch GSM network, while Kasapa Telecom, the country's sole CDMA operator, had around 135,300, up from 57,100 at the start of the year.

According to statistics from the Nigerian telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms market in Nigeria has recorded a total of 27, 949,894 connected lines at the end of August 2006 pushing teledensity to 23.29. Out of this, mobile services accounted for 26,360,868 lines while fixed line services recorded 1,589,026 lines.

 

Globacom denies talks to buy Westel

 

Lagos, Nigeria. January 15, 2007. Nigeria’s second national operator (SNO), Globacom Limited today described as ‘speculative’ reports that it plans to purchase Ghanaian operator, Western Telesystems (WESTEL) Ghana Limited.

Globacom’s spokesman, Bode Opeseitan, told Technology Times on phone from Accra, Ghana that the Nigerian SNO has not opened talks with the Ghanaian company at all dismissing reports that talks have opened between the two parties.

Media reports in Ghana cited that “speculations” is rife that Globacom is set to take over the operations of Westel in Ghana.

“That is not true”, says Opeseitan, who notes that he had upon arrival in Accra also hard the same news in Ghana.

“The truth of it is that it is all mere speculations. We have never met or discussed with them at all”, he adds citing that Westel, the last entrant into the country mobile market will not be an attractive offer if at all such a plan was being considered by the Nigerian SNO.

Balancing Act cites a report attributed to Ghana’s CITI FM that Globacom intends to take over Westel to inject the needed cash and resources ahead towards the planned roll out of its commercial mobile service in Ghana. 

Already, Westel is in dire need of cash following the award of a mobile licence to the company by the National Communications Authority (NCA) last year bringing to five the number of players on the nation’s mobile landscape.

The Ghanaian daily newspaper Graphic Ghana reports that WESTEL is the second state-owned company alongside Ghana Telecom granted wireless concession. WESTEL was awarded the second national operator's licence in 1997 and granted a five-year duopoly on basic telecoms services alongside incumbent Ghana Telecom. However, it has been blighted by bureaucratic disagreements and a lack of investment, and has since not been able to meet its targets of rolling out up to 100,000 fixed lines across the country.

According to the report, MTN has shown interest in Westel in the past but the absence of a mobile licence would almost certainly have been a stumbling block.

At the last count in June 2006 the number of mobile subscribers stood at over 3.34 million, up from around 2.65 million at the start of the year and a rise of 82.8 per cent on the 1.45 million recorded at the end of 2004. By 1 July 2006 GSM operator Spacefon Areeba, backed by Lebanon-based Investcom Holdings (now bought by MTN), had 2.02 million subscribers, putting it ahead of Millicom International Cellular's (MIC's) Mobitel unit, the oldest of all the providers, which had 737,749 users to its Tigo-branded service. State-owned national PTO Ghana Telecom (GT) had an estimated 450,000 subscribers to its GT-OneTouch GSM network, while Kasapa Telecom, the country's sole CDMA operator, had around 135,300, up from 57,100 at the start of the year.

 

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