December 30, 2012 : DID MOBILE LOTTERIES SLOW DOWN NIGERIAN NETWORK?
 
Nigerian Communications Commission calls a halt to mobile lottery action, but trade association says they have it all wrong.
 
Nigerian mobile punters have been using their mobiles so extensively to bet on sms lotteries that the volume has had an impact on national bandwidth, prompting the Nigerian Communications Commission to slap a temporary ban on the genre in hopes of restoring some semblance of speed to the system.
 
The move does not appear to have improved matters, according to local media reports, but the Commission has elected to keep the ban in place anyway, placing the onus on providers to prove that they can handle such high volumes.
 
Challenging the ban, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, a trade association for telecoms companies, has debunked the Commission's reasons for the ban, claiming instead that floods in the southern region of the nation, along with insurgent attacks on facilities in the north of Nigeria are the real cause for congestion, and that closing down commercial ventures like sms lotteries will not solve the problem.
 
The Association has a history of arguing with government agencies over arbitrary and on occasion conflicting decisions by different government departments which in the past have resulted in physical shutdowns of telecom facilities.
 
The use of mobile communication devices in Africa generally has soared over the last decade, with the continent second only to South Asia in mobile phone usage, according to World Bank statistics.
 
The organisation estimates that there has been a massive increase in African mobile phone subscribers, who now number almost 650 million – more than in either Europe or the United States – and that number could exceed a billion users by 2020.
 
Africans use a full range of services via their mobiles, especially in financial transactions, the study notes.