30th of December 2012 Author: Glo Wood
Nigerian Communications Commission imposed a temporary ban on mobile lottery services based on the assumption that the speed of the national network was impacted by too extensive use of mobile devices for betting activities.
However, although local media report that the Commission's act has not improved the situation so far, the authorities decided not to lift the ban, demanding from the providers to show that they are capable of handling such high volumes.
The trade association for telecoms companies, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, disagreed with the ban, claiming that the network congestion has been caused by floods in the southern region of the state together with the insurgent attacks on facilities in the northern Nigeria. The Association further concludes that the problem cannot be solved by banning commercial ventures such as SMS lottery.
This is not the first time that the Association has disputed decisions reached by the government agencies, causing even on one occasion the physical shutdowns of telecom facilities.
As per the World Bank statistics, the use of mobile devices in Africa has skyrocketed over the last decade, the continent closely following the leading South Asia in mobile phone usage for all kind of services, especially in financial transactions. The number of African mobile phone users has already reached almost 650 million, exceeding the figures valid for Europe and USA, while the organisation forecasts that the number will reach one billion by 2020.
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This is an interesting article because it has so many twists and turns. The public demand for services such as mobile device use for playing the lottery vs. the government's ban on using mobile devices for fear of overloading the bandwidth capabilities is a classic example of us vs. them.
The Association vs. the government issues have reached a violent state. Who will back down first? It's amazing the number of mobile device users that are flooding the continent is growing so quickly. Perhaps the government should focus more on making sure the public's wants and needs are met instead of on creating events that are seemingly not based on facts.
I'll say that the popularity of the mobile lottery access is certainly an indicator that some US state's initiatives to offer the same services shows a lot of promise for success and a high rate of growth of users and income. It would be interesting to get an update on this topic once the ban on the services has been lifted or when other new information becomes available.
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