Tag Archives: NIGCOMSAT

NigComSat faces financial inquiry

Nigeria’s House of Representatives has launched an investigation into the management of Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) over seven years of financial inconsistencies.

The chairman of the house committee on finance, James Falake, cast doubt over NigComSat’s accounts for the years between 2012 and 2019.

He made the claim during an investigative hearing into the non-remittance of revenue by ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government to the federation account.

Falake attacked the professional competence of NigComSat’s accountants and its general manager of finance, Adamu Idris, who failed to respond to the hearing’s questions.

James Falake

“Things cannot continue like this – you are not competent. We have to rescue this agency from you. In fact, if I have my way, I will recommend you are sacked,” Falake said.

“We cannot continue with this exercise. The management will have to leave. Go and perfect your records and present them for consideration, because the one brought now cannot stand the test of time. We will have to start from the 2012 financial year.”

Abuja-based NigComSat is a 14-year-old company working under the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology. It operates the Chinese-built Nigerian telecoms satellite NigComSat-1R.

Falake ordered a ‘status enquiry’ into the agency to discover its financial position.

Falake said: “We are continuing with our investigations on revenue monitoring to ensure what happened in the past doesn’t continue. And the essence is to make sure that all revenues meant for the consolidated revenue accounts are remitted as and when due and everything outstanding accounted for.

“Although, we don’t have the power to hire and fire, it’s within our purview to recommend sanctions, which could include the sacking of an officer.”

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NigComSat names new chairman

Yusuf Kazaure

Nigerian satellite operator NigComSat has appointed Yusuf Kazaure as the chairman of its board.

Kazaure’s appointment is the latest of many board-level changes across multiple sectors under the oversight of Nigeria’s Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. It comes after concerns were raised about underutilisation of the company’s NigComSat-1R communications satellite and its rising year-on-year operational losses.

In 2006, Kazaure was part of the team that rolled out Galaxy Backbone, a state-owned ICT solutions company of which he became MD/CEO in 2014.

Other appointments on the NigComSat board include Dr Najeem Salam, Professor Abdu Ja’afaru Bambale and Hadi Mohammed, who have been named executive director of marketing and business development, executive director of technical services and executive director of administration respectively.

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Government spends N3.4bn on NigComSat

The federal government of Nigeria has declared that over US$9.3m (N3.4bn) will be spent on satellite company Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat).

Samson Osagie

Despite the multi-million-dollar investments, NigComSat 1-R, the country’s primary satellite that is managed by NigComSat, has been under-used.

About 76% of the approved budget for 2020 will be used for recurrent expenditure, while the remainder will be spent on capital projects throughout the year. Most organisations that are supposed to do business with the company have been relying on foreign satellites instead.

Stakeholders in the industry have expressed concern over increased spending on NigComSat by the government. They have claimed that between 2011 and 2016, NigComSat spent more than US$60m of taxpayers’ money on recurring expenditure such as salaries, conferences, training, hotel and accommodation.

According to Samson Osagie, NigComSat’s executive director of marketing and business development, efforts are being made to reposition Nigeria’s satellite for optimum use.

He said: “While the global space economy hit US$348bn in 2017, Nigeria’s share of the market remains insignificant despite possessing a satellite with full capacity.

“NigComSat is in talks with all stakeholders to form partnerships that will boost the patronage of Nigeria’s satellite.”

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NigComSat backup satellite on hold

Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat)’s plan to launch a backup satellite using a US$150m Chinese loan has been put on hold.

The backup satellite was one of the projects brought before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration by the former minister of communications, Adebayo Shittu, but negotiations over the loan arrangements could not be concluded before the FEC was dissolved.

However, NigComSat is moving ahead with other projects to support its infrastructure and bolster its commercial operations.

According to its 2020 budget announcement, around N112.1m will be used for improving its teleport security solutions, N105m will be used to upgrade its satellite control centre, N369m will be used to overhaul radio frequency and hub infrastructures and N92.4m will be used by its public satellite TV channel.

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NCC, NigComSat told to get ISO certified

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) have been directed by the federal government to achieve the International Standard Organisation (ISO) certification.

Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

Speaking at a National Information and Technology Agency (NITDA) event in Abuja, communications minister Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami said the certification gives an organisation credibility and global recognition.

“The agencies under this ministry should stop the old ways of doing things and start taking their mandates to the next level. Heads of the agencies should make their staff understand that they could lose their jobs if they perform below standard,” he said.

“ISO certification changes the perception of staff of any agency that has received it. I saw this myself when I was in NITDA and it has been testified to by many people. I believe these is no single staff of NITDA that this certification has not changed significantly.”

Pantami added that he was glad more companies and public institutions in Africa were getting ISO certifications.

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NigComSat seeks satellite funds

Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) is looking for funding to launch two new satellites after it was revealed that its current satellite wold cease to operate in 2026.

Raji Kolawole

NigComSat-1R was launched at the end of 2011 to replace NigComSat-1, which was constructed by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation at a cost of US$400m and was de-orbited in 2008.

Speaking at a forum in Abuja, NigComSat executive director of engineering services Raji Kolawole outlined avenues the company could explore to purchase two new satellites, as directed by the government. It will look to private sector sources for the necessary funds.

“The present satellite has about seven years to the end of life. For business continuity, we are collaborating with the private sector to acquire two additional satellites,” Kolawole said.

“The reason the federal government declared NigComSat1R as a national priority project is because of the navigation overly on our satellite, which basically is for security purposes, to curb kidnapping, terrorism and the likes.

“We are working with security agencies to use the satellite to curb incessant kidnapping around the country.”

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NextTV launches via Nigcomsat

The federal government has launched a new direct-to-home (DTH) platform via Nigerian Communications Satellite (Nigcomsat).

NextTV offers more than 140 channels and has been launched thanks to a collaboration between Nigcomsat, Nigus International Investment and GWIC.

Nigusw will oversee marketing, content, licensing and total investment capital; Nigcomsat will provide a minimum of four transponders for the platform and will hold a 15% equity stake in the company; and GWIC will provide the uplink equipment and access to back-up satellites, holding a 10% stake in NextTV.

Unveiling the platform, communications minister Adebayo Shittu said: “The federal government is interested in the partnership between Nigcomsat and NextTV and is ready to offer all the needed support to make the partnership work.”

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NigComSat expands broadband service

Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) has completed a deal with Newtec, an equipment maker for satellite communications, to expand its broadband offerings in Nigeria.

Abimbola Alale

The government-owned satellite operator will be able to expand its enterprise, government and consumer Ka-band broadband services in Nigeria by deploying another hub and satellite modems.

Newtec’s business partner, Content Oasis, will be the system integrator responsible for maintaining the modems installed for the NIGCOMSAT and Newtec Dialog platform.

Abimbola Alale, MD and CEO of NigComSat, said: “The ability to run multiple services over Newtec Dialog was a key advantage for us when selecting our technology partner for this expansion as it means we can install a variety of modems and select the best one depending on the application being addressed, and all via a single platform.

“Along with the optimal efficiency achieved via Newtec’s in-built technologies, this will allow us to quickly and cost-effectively expand our portfolio to meet the rising demand we are currently seeing across Nigeria.”

This deal was made possible as a result of NigComSat’s continued success with the Newtec Dialog VSAT platform.

The CEO of Newtec, Thomas Van Den Driessche, said: “As NigComSat looks to expand its offering, Newtec Dialog offers a perfect fit for this, allowing NigComSat to seamlessly move into new markets.

“We are pleased to be able to expand our long-term partnership with NigComSat at what promises to be an exciting time for the company and have every confidence that our technology will meet the needs of both the company and its customers.”

“As a multiservice VSAT platform, Newtec Dialog enables operators to build and adapt satellite networking infrastructures according to specific needs. With Newtec’s modems, a choice of three return technologies is provided, including MF-TDMA, SCPC and Newtec’s unique, dynamic Mx DMA, which combines the best qualities of both to provide dynamic bandwidth allocation with the highest level of efficiency,” Newtec said.

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Two new satellites planned for NigComSat

Nigeria’s federal government has announced plans to establish two additional satellites in an attempt to improve connectivity in the Nigerian telecoms industry.

Adebayo Shittu

The move is intended to support the Nigeria Communication Satellite (NigComSat) system and to complement the existing satellite, NigComSat-2. The satellite carries much of Nigeria’s TV and telecoms services.

According to Nigeria’s Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, the reason for the additional satellites is to accommodate areas that cannot be easily covered by terrestrial fibre-optic cable.

He announced the news during the sixth regular meeting of the National Council on Communication Technology (NCCT) in Abeokuta, Ogun state, where he spoke in a session titled Leveraging on ICT as Veritable Vehicle for Economic Recovery and Growth.

“There is a positive increase in the number of active telecommunication subscribers, with an increase from 148.7 million in August 2015 to 162.05 million in September 2018,” he said. This represents an increase of 7%.

Shittu said that the country’s level of foreign direct investment in telecoms had increased from US$32bn in 2015 to US$40bn in 2018.

The country’s internet penetration had reached 48.44%, which makes Nigeria second only to South Africa in terms of internet penetration on the continent. To boost employment and economic recovery in the nation, the government aims to use ICT to aid economic diversification.

“The NCCT is the highest governmental policy advisory body in the ICT sector,” Shittu said. “The NCCT meeting enhances national intergovernmental coordination in the ICT sector and provides platform for networking and experiences sharing toward harmonised sector development.”

He explained that the government will continue to improve on technology and its application to the various sectors in Nigeria.

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Pay platform TSTV resumes service

Indigenous pay TV platform Telcom Satellite Television (TSTV) has resumed operations, after apparently winning what the company’s CEO described as “war” with “our enemies”.

Bright Echefu

Bright Echefu, CEO of the company, recently announced that the pay TV network is now active and ready to begin broadcasting operations. This announcement comes almost a year after its launch in November 2017.

According to Echefu, the company’s hiatus was necessary due to events that occurred after its launch, causing a host of issues to be dealt with. He stated that since TSTV announced its launch in 2017, the company has faced much opposition from what Echefu called “our enemies”.

“From the date we announced TSTV, it has been fight all the way. I doubt if a week passed without us quenching one fire or the other. We didn’t anticipate that there would be war. We were also not trained to fight in the arena we were pushed into,” said Echefu.

In order to get back on track, TSTV has partnered with Nigeria Communication Satellite (NigComSat) to offer its subscribers premium content via 45 HD channels, which will be available free for a month.

“With our successful acquisition of five units of 35.5MHz transponders last two weeks on NigComSat – through our collaboration with Intertel, Federal Ministry of Communications and NigComSat – TSTV can now offer Nigerians the true meaning of video entertainment.

“Our TSTV has successfully migrated to Nigeria Communication Satellite. All channels in full HD. No one does that. More channels are being added daily,” Echefu added.

The channels presently available for free can be accessed on any satellite dish, according to the company.

“TSTV management, in appreciation to everyone, has decided that 45 TSTV premium HD channels will be available for free for another one month as we don’t intend to encrypt the channels now. You can use any dish at all, including the ones you are using for other operators, to track NigComSat today and let’s enjoy premium entertainment together.

TSTV also aims to launch the pay-as-you-use initiative but not much has been disclosed concerning that.

Asides from its partnership with NigComSat, TSTV also has a multi-transponder agreement with Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS), which will deliver a direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast service into Nigeria on satellite ABS-3A.

Speaking about this, Echefu stated: “We are excited to partner with ABS in delivering an array of high-quality programming. Our vision is to provide premium video experience to Nigerians at affordable prices.

“Our services will enable the viewers to experience HD and SD video and internet surfing at the same time. We are the first indigenous local operator in the region to launch such a premium platform with a variety of services to Nigerians, who have been so far paying exorbitant prices to foreign operators,” he concluded.

Also commenting on the partnership, Tom Choi, founder of ABS, said: “The addition of the Nigeria DTH platform from TSTV has undoubtedly strengthened ABS’s presence in Africa.”

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NigComSat earmarks maintenance cash

Nigeria Communications Satellite (NigComSat) is set to spend half of its budget, amounting to N2.57bn, to maintain, upgrade and insure its satellite NigComSat-1R.

The organisation is expected to spend a total of N5.1bn this year. N2.58bn will be for recurrent spending, while the rest will go on satellite operations.

The budget breakdown includes N579.9m for insurance and upgrade of the satellite, N104.7m on its operating system, N713m for turnaround maintenance and N181.9m for its DTH platform.

NigComSat-1R was launched in 2011 as a replacement for the failed and de-orbited communications satellite NigComSat-1.

NigComSat began operating its direct-to-home services in December 2017. It provides commercial broadcasting services to Nigeria and other countries from Senegal in the west to Namibia in the south.

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NigComSat teams with FUT

Nigerian government agency Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal University of Technology (FUT) aimed at ensuring the country’s technological progress.

Abimbola Alale

Addressing representatives of the FUT in Abuja, NigComSat CEO Abimbola Alale said any innovative technology created via the collaboration would be registered by regulatory agencies, ensuring the proper copyright laws are associated with the products and that they are made profitable.

She added that all of NigComSat’s services were available to help drive the country’s economy.

According to Alale, the FUT has distinguished itself in research innovation by winning numerous grants and recognition nationwide and globally. Alale said the collaboration would also include other academic communities in Nigeria.

“We are proud of FUT, as graduates of the university are heading strategic units in NigComSat. This collaboration is aimed at bridging the gap between the industry and academia,” she said.

FUT vice-chancellor Professor Bala Abdullahi expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to partner with NigComSat, adding that the FUT was working towards improving the quality of education in Nigeria.

Established in 1983, the FUT is a government-owned university that specialises in technological education.

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Liberia reaches out to NigComSat

Liberia is seeking to partner with Nigerian government agency Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) in an effort to meet the standards of digital technology worldwide.

Liberian president George Weah

Speaking at NigComSat’s recent presentation in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, Dominic Kwenme, the country’s assistant minister of planning in the ministry of education, said that Nigeria is leading Africa in digital technology thanks to NigComSat.

“I am proud to be part of this historic meeting which is meant to drive Africa, especially the underserved countries, to quickly meet up with the developed world, and Nigeria is doing us proud,” he said.

Addressing attendees, Samson Osagie, executive director marketing and business development at NigComSat stated that the organisation has various services, including internet service provision, a land administration documentation facility and more.

Professor Ansu Sonii, Liberia’s education minister, told the NigComSat delegation that the President of Liberia, George Weah, cares for the welfare of Liberians and is working hard to get the country out of poverty by ensuring basic necessities are provided. NigComSat will aid that vision, he claimed.

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NIGCOMSAT launches DTH

Government-owned satellite operator Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) has launched its first direct-to-home (DTH) television services.

Partnering with China Great Wall Industry Corp (CGWIC) to produce high-quality satellite TV for distribution, NIGCOMSAT will broadcast multiple TV channels across the country via its satellite services.

NIGCOMSAT will also air programmes with premium content from its first customer, Ovy Network, a Botswana-based start-up DTH operator.

The Lagos-based satellite operator was unable to meet the deadline for digital switchover (DSO), but according to the agency, after six months of intensive testing, optimisation and trial services of the satellite, the NIGCOMSAT DTH system is capable of providing commercial broadcasting services to Nigeria and all countries within its satellite footprint.

This extends from Senegal in the West to Namibia in the South. NIGCOMSAT is also working on providing a solution for DSO using its NigComSat-1R satellite.

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