For the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), the future is bright. Going by the reviews and presentations by Stakeholders who converged on Thursday, September 16 2021 in Lagos, the company has been well positioned to make major contributions to the nation’s economy, TechEconomy.ng can report.
The stakeholders acknowledged that in a bid to provide an advance satellite communication solution in Nigeria, NIGCOMSAT’s modest contributions to the nation’s digital economy service infrastructure cannot be overemphasized.
Speaking at the 2021 NIGCOMSAT Stakeholders Forum, Dr Abimbola Alale, the managing director, highlighted NIGCOMSAT recent activities, including actions taken to reposition the company for better service delivery, training of 600 youth in 12 states of the federation on VSAT and TVRO installations skills; establishment of 2 subsidiary companies-the Satellite Infrastructure Company (SIC) and the Satellite Broadcasting and Broadband Company (SBBC) to conduct commercial businesses with strategic partners; as well as collaborating with stakeholders to sponsor 4 teams at the international innovation contest, ActInSpace, where Nigeria won the audience award, based on the popularity of a video created by one of the teams.
According to Dr Alale, “Satellite communication is a technology associated with rapid changes, hence, NIGCOMAT continues to build capacity that matches global trends and requirements.”
She acknowledged the strategic vision of the Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, the minister of Communications and Digital Economy, towards building a digital Nigeria and repositioning the Departments and Agencies under his supervision, to be among the major contributors to the nation’s economy.
She said that satellite communications is a technology with rapid changings, in view of this, NIGCOMAT has continued to build capacity that match global trends and requirement.
Dr. Alade said, “Last year, NIGCOMSAT with the support of some of the stakeholders sponsored four (4) teams (Astromania, Floews, Future Generations, and Pyloops) to compete in the ActInSpace® international innovation contest of 100 cities across 5 continents.
“Nigeria however won the audience award, which was based on the popularity of the video created by Team Astromania to provide information about their solution.
“Quality of service and customers’ experience are very important in service delivery. NIGCOMSAT has acquired the latest DIALOG HUB with 5IF for the satellite broadband Ka services as well as building a stronger relationship with our channel partners. Our business processes are seamless in accordance with International Standard Organisation (ISO) certification”.
The MD said that, NIGCOMSAT, in its bid to achieve its ambition as the be the leading satellite communication solutions provider in Nigeria and Africa, obtained approval early 2020 to form two subsidiary companies (SUBCOs) the Satellite Infrastructure Company SIC to provide satellite upstream services such as Transponder leasing, and In-Orbit-(IOT) services, Carrier Spectrum Management (CSM) services etc. & the Satellite Broadcasting and Broadband Company (SBBC) to provide satellite downstream services such as broadband internet services, Broadcasting (DTH) services etc.
“The SUBCOs were formed to carryout commercial businesses on behalf of NIGCOMSAT with strategic partners and expand its business operations and in the information & communications technology space, NIGCOMSAT realizes the need to strategically position its subsidiaries for potential opportunities and risks, put in place operational structures to facilitate its business aspirations”.
She disclosed that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has given the company a set of KPIs that are linked to the development of a strategic document which identifies the key market opportunities and risks in the Nigerian market as well as to define the SUBCO’s operational framework
Continuing, Dr. Alade said, the Special Project Office of NIGCOMSAT Ltd has successfully deployed modest and ubiquitous services to the health sector by providing an e- platform for automation of work process at National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) offices across the country.
“Also last year, NIGCOMSAT Ltd provided satellite connectivity services via NigComSat-1R for the live broadcast of the virtual commissioning of the Ajaokuta, Kaduna and Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Another milestone was achievement late last year, to be precise, in September 2020. Our collaboration with Thales Alenia Space of France, and Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) to provide a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) using NigComSat-1R Navigational services for the first time over Africa and Indian Ocean.
The demonstration of real SBAS flight in Lome (Togo) using fixed wing Aircraft and Duoala (Cameroun), using Rotor Aircraft. Demonstration was also done in Brazzaville (Congo)”, she said.
Apparently, the stakeholders’ forum was part of the Company’s efforts to rub minds with key players on areas they may need expansion and improvement in line with its core mandate.
The MD also informed the stakeholders of the plans to acquire more satellites between now and 2025 with the NigComSat-2 (Hight Throughput Satellite) due for launch in 2023 while NigComSat-3 will be launched in 2025.
Also speaking, Alma Okpalefe, the Company Secretary, gave an introduction of NIGCOMSAT, its mandate, structure and journey so far; whilst, Engr Abdulraheem Adajah, general manager, Satellite Applications spoke on “Satellite Business New Opportunities/Frontiers (NIGCOMSAT Products and Services).”
In a goodwill message, Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), represented by Engineer Oluwatoyin Asaju, director, Spectrum Administration, NCC, they are happy working with NIGCOMSAT for a successful deployment of 5G services in Nigeria.
Recall that NCC and NIGCOMSAT had in May this year signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to leverage C-Band Spectrum for 5G services.
Also in his message, Engineer Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), underscored the importance of the Forum due to the role of NIGCOMSAT in the nation’s digital economy.
He however, warned against non-remittance of payments for services rendered to sister agencies. This, he said should be discouraged so that the company does not go moribund.
Adebayo said, “NIGCOMSAT is important in 5G deployment especially on the issue of lastmile. It has quality service and should be given every support it needs to succeed.
“We cannot allow NIGCOMSAT to go the way of NITEL and NEPA (now defunct). Government agencies should pay for services rendered. When people owe you don’t be nice ‘politically’, disconnect them until they pay you. That is how NIGCOMSAT will survive”, he added.
The Forum also hosted panel discussions on various topics as they concern the business of satellite, amongst other areas.
Stakeholders who participated at the Forum were sister agencies including the NCC and GBB, the Military, implementing partners such as the IT Sky Solutions Ltd, DOTMAC Technologies Limited, and industry players-ALTON, ATCON, amongst others.
Here are photographs showing some of the stakeholders at the Forum:
(Photos Credit: NIGCOMSAT/Facebook)