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Wednesday, 25 May 2022

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Good morning!

The race to become Africa's tech hub is not for the faint of heart. An underdog that has been a bit over looked, Ghana, the West African country that houses tech giant, Twitter is now flexing its muscles.

In a new move to announce its credentials as a burgeoning tech hub, it inked a new deal that makes it the first West African country with a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite gateway station.

Below are the tech stories and news you need to know to start your day, carefully curated by Technext.
5G LAUNCHINGS
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Summary of the news

  • Telcos have pushed againts the FG’s move to impose new GSM phone call tax
  • Ghana has gotten the first Low Earth Orbit satellite gateway station in West Africa
  • Despite NIN challenges, SIM ban etc, Nigeria added 4 million new mobile users in Q1, 2022
  • Google Maps workers have circulated a petition pushing against the company's decision that they return back to the offce
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Telcos fault FG’s move to impose new GSM phone call tax

Technext Round1
Telecommunications operators in the country have faulted the newly proposed tax on phone calls by the Federal Government, Nairametrics reports.

The telcos under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said the decision was contrary to the position of the government recently when they (the operators) announced plans to increase tariffs because of the high cost of diesel powering their base stations.

According to the Chairman of ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, telecom subscribers will bear the brunt of the new tax because they will now get less value for what they pay for. He adds that the operators will have no choice but to start deducting the tax from the subscribers’ recharge once mandated by the government.
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Airtel
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Ghana gets first Low Earth Orbit satellite gateway station in West Africa

Amazon
Ghana has become the first West African country with a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite gateway station, Technext reports.

This follows an announcement by OneWeb, a satellite company that it had successfully completed the installation of 15 OneWeb antennas and associated equipment at a Satellite Network Portal (SNP) in Accra, Ghana’s capital in collaboration with TinSky Connect, a converged communication solutions provider.

According to a statement, the getaway station is located on a six-hectare facility in Tema, a city in the country’s capital. It is currently being commissioned and it will be operational later this year.

OneWeb’s successful project and satellite installation in Ghana is the company’s first move into West Africa. OneWeb is preparing to launch its first SNP gateway in Africa, with Hartebeesthoek, South Africa, as the preferred location, followed by Senegal and Mauritius.
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Google Maps workers say they can’t afford the trip back to the office

BitCoin
Google Maps contract employees who are required to return to their office in Washington State recently circulated a petition to keep working from home since some cannot afford their commutes, presenting another challenge to Google’s plan to refill offices and restore campus life, the New York Times reports.

The issue affects more than 200 workers who are employed by the outsourcing firm Cognizant Technology Solutions, which mandated that they work in an office in Bothell five days a week starting on June 6. The workers play an essential role updating routes and destinations on Google Maps, a service used by more than one billion people a month.

About 60 per cent of the 200 workers signed the petition. They demanded that managers suspend the return-to-office timeline and first address employees’ financial, health and childcare concerns.

“Gas is around $5 per gallon currently, and many of us in the office are not able to afford to live close to the office due to our low salaries and the high cost of housing in Bothell,” the Cognizant employees wrote. The petition was supported by the Alphabet Workers Union, which has more than 900 members employed by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and its suppliers.
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Despite NIN challenges, SIM ban, Nigeria adds 4m new mobile users in Q1, 2022

Netflix
According to the Nigerian Communications Commission‘s recent industry statistics report, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country acquired a total of 4,094,642, (4.1m) new mobile phone subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 (January to March 2022), Technext reports.

According to the report, active telephony subscriptions in Nigeria rose to 199,558,540 in March 2022, up from 195,463,898 in December 2021.

This was at a time when agencies such as the Nigerian Immigration Service, telcos and banks are affected by this downtime as it makes it impossible to verify the National Identity Number (NIN) of their customers before attending to them, in line with the Federal Government’s directive.

As a result, a huge number of mobile telecommunications subscribers across the country who have been seeking to retrieve their lost Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards or acquire new lines have been unable to do so.
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