Everything that is wrong with MTN

Or almost everything. This MTN kvetch that seems to have originated from a BBM broadcast, and has eventually made its way to the internets might not exhaustively capture all of Nigeria’s seething angst at the dominant yellow network, but it is funny nontheless.

An excerpt:

I found out that you, MTN had topped an extra 10 naira to your 100, 200 and 400 airtime packages. Literally, the cost of fuckery (pardon my bad language) has increased by ten naira. We have been told by MTN that the cost of those tools they have been using in torturing has risen and as such, we should pay an extra ten naira to make up for this…Of course I have every right to rant. Didn’t I mention some weeks back I am in a serious relationship with MTN. Don’t even tell me about abusive relationships. I have had my fair share with MTN. I subscribed for a data plan last week and MTN had the guts to bind and destroy my network till my data expired. Last year, I was walked out of an exam hall by the supervisor because my phone rang! One missed call from 180! The painful part of everything is, its difficult to leave them!

Upon on top of the barrage of spam, QoS issues and more that all mobile telcos in Nigeria are already guilty of, it would seem that MTN is now selling airtime at a premium — retailers claim that the company recently obliterated their thin margins, leaving them no choice but to mark up their recharge cards beyond the listed price. Will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and sends their customers scurrying over to their competition?

10 Memes To Celebrate Our Transition To Bits.ng

Having made a transition from OTEKBITS to BITS.ng, here is a compilation of memes to celebrate just that.

 

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Which is your favorite? 

How To Get Quick Customer Care From Your Mobile Network Provider

Having network trouble and want to stick it to the telco real fast? Well all you have to do is report to the National Communications Commission on Twitter, as this Etisalat subscriber here has demonstrated.

Okay, maybe it took the NCC five whole days to respond, but Etisalat customer care was quick and sure to point out that said customer’s issues had been attended to, so you’re probably just as good not cc-ing the NCC with your complaints.

We Are Bits

The technology blog that used to be known as OTEKBITS now wishes to be known simply as Bits. Bits.ng. But asides from dropping the “otek” from our name, and perhaps this new unfamiliar layout that will change pretty soon, we are still the online magazine that brings you coverage of everything happening with startups, technology, developers and socialmedia in Nigeria/Africa with links and everything intact from the old otekbits.com website.

If you already follow us on Twitter on Facebook, we are now on @bitsdotng.

Forget That Puny USB Charger, Huawei’s Latest Phablet Will Power Your Other Devices

Giant

Announced at the ongoing International Consumer Electronics Show, Chinese tech challenger Huawei’s latest monster, the Ascend Mate 2, sports a non-removable 4,050mAh battery. In everyday speak, the device can hold three times the quantity of power an iPhone could ever hope to store, and Huawei estimates that one charge will take you through two days of unrestrained use. Against that very, well, powerful backdrop, it makes absolute sense that the 6.1-inch 4G/LTE phablet comes with a USB port for reverse charging: this thing is effectively a backup power pack for other devices. No, Samsung didn’t see this one coming.

See the Ascend Mate 2 charging an iPhone in a cheeky photo from Huawei’s CEO of consumer services, Richard Yu’s CES presentation below.

Giant 2

Images via GSM Insider, International Business Times

This Is Lagos: Angry Bus Driver Lays Into Passenger, Lands On YouTube

Who passes up an opportunity to watch a danfo driver battle a passenger (and the conductor, apparently) on his bus verbally, as captured via smartphone camera?

WTF: Comedian Basketmouth Under Fire For Viral ‘Rape’ Joke, And It Isn’t His First

He may have deleted it, but funnyman Basketmouth’s ‘rape’ joke posted on his Facebook fan page yesterday may yet cost him far more than he could have ever imagined. See screenshot of post below.

Nigeria 8

Reactions to the clearly ill-conceived joke have been pouring in, mostly channeled through Twitter. A sampling of tweeted opinions (and one blog post that has itself gone viral) indicates that a majority think the comedian’s misguided humour to be in bad taste.


And it isn’t Basketmouth’s first ‘rape’ joke either. Last Valentine’s Day at the African Kings of Comedy show in Manchester’s The Birdcage nightclub, the now repeat offender made an elaborate joke about grandmothers wanting to get raped by armed robbers. Video’s below if you can stomach it.

Basketmouth has since apologised (see tweet below), but this is definitely not the end of the matter.

Screenshot via Jaguda

Jason Njoku Beats Dangote, Adenuga and Sim Shagaya To Win Y!/YNaija.com Person of the Year 2013

The editors of Y! – TV, Magazine & Online – today announced the Y!/YNaija.com Person of the Year 2013 – founder and chief executive of iROKO, Jason Chukwuma Njoku.

The Y!/YNaija.com Person of the Year is in its third year and is awarded this year to the individual who has most visibly influenced the Nigerian society for good in the past year, breaking new boundaries or consolidating on gains – and driving the advancement of the public, especially young people. The editors announced there was no winner for its first edition in 2011. The 2012 winner was entrepreneur and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.

Nominees for 2013 were Aliko Dangote, Tony O. Elumelu, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Mike Adenuga, Sim Shagaya, Akinwunmi Adesina and Omobola Johnson.

The editorial making the announcement is below:

Editorial: The Y!/YNaija.com Person of the Year 2013 is … Jason Njoku

Jason Chukwuma Njoku, 33, is chief executive and co-founder of iROKO Partners, an online start up that has revolutionised the availability and distribution of African media content. He is young, big, bold, brash and in his own words, “an asshole.”
He is also the Y!/YNaija Person of the Year 2013.

It is simple really: No one has captured the imagination of young (and many older) Nigerians the way this University of Manchester graduate has. The outlines of the story are now firmly etched: iROKO partners, founded after Njoku had dabbled in scores of unsuccessful businesses started in his bedroom in London with money loaned from his friend and in a space of three years has become the most talked about internet business this side of Africa.

It was at the nadir of his life, when he moved back in with his mother, penniless after his string of failed enterprises that he picked up on her love for Nollywood films. He also noticed his mother’s difficulty in getting these films and decided to do something about it. He soon boarded a flight to Lagos and entered the trenches, directly engaging the producers and copyright owners, paying money for their catalogue. Two and a half years later, and Njoku’s company has amassed the largest collection of African content online with well over 5,000 titles in the kitty. And, with high profile mentions in Forbes, Financial Times, CNN and the Wall Street Journal, iROKO Partners has been able to attract investors and seed money like no other start up.

Criticised across the technology eco-system for pomp and bluster – and those who do so do not exaggerate – Njoku (and iROKO) is that rare individual that deserves all the praise. He has proven that much is indeed possible in Nigeria, by Nigerians – in spite of Nigeria.

Stories like these read easy on paper but it is pertinent not to forget or overlook the grit and tenacity, the wheeling and dealing that has gone into creating his success story. A story that is still far from finished. With his entrance into the online space, Njoku in many ways pioneered the online Nollywood market and with his success, has created a whole new sub specie of industry for interested participants to dabble into, showing them exactly how it is done.

iROKOtv has built peerless library of content has been dubbed the Netflix of African movies reaching 178 countries with about 1million unique visitors a month. Despite the seemingly grudging resistance to accept his influence at home, he continues to fly the Nigerian flag by sheer willpower, just by doing what he does.

Apparently, he does it excellently. Because, this month, iROKO managed the unthinkable, andsuccessfully raised $8million in venture capital from a group of international investors led by American hedge fund and Facebook investor, Tiger Global. This unprecedented feat – even for start ups across the world – brings iROKO’s tally to about $21million raised in two years of doing business making it one of the most heavily funded businesses in all of Africa.

Then there is the matter of the music arm of the company, iROKING. Pronounced dead in the water prematurely after a public – battle with it’s erstwhile leader, Jason Njoku finally had to re-take charge. While still an unprofitable venture, when compared to it’s elder iROKOtv, it speaks to the stubbornness of his vision, and why investors choose to take risks on people more than the particular idea.

With an average monthly unique visitor-ship of about 5million (according to Njoku), iROKING stands a fighting chance of eclipsing revenue figures generated by the movies arm. Music industry piracy issues will have to be tackled head on and it will be excruciating work, but if anyone has done so, Njoku has proven time and time again that he is unafraid to put his money where his mouth is.

He did this in spectacular fashion in May, when – with his business partner Bastian Gotter and wife Mary Remmy Njoku – he launched SPARK, an exciting new business initiative dedicated to building and grooming profitable internet start ups in Nigeria. After a $10million valuation in 3months of existence, Sparks was able to raise $2million in investment from Lagos to London. This money will be ploughed into expanding the company – which currently has 9 start ups under it’s wings, employing about 130 staff – and providing seed money for it’s babies.

Impressively, Njoku – unlike many Nigerian businessmen – is not unashamed to tell his story, sharing as much as he can about the innards of running a successful internet company at a time when many young start-ups desperately need to learn from the experience of those before them.

Of course, blog posts tend to gloss over the dirt, and for all we know, Njoku may be bleeding money. Still, as businesses like iROKO and those in SPARK typically need an average of five years before profitability, it is enough for now that Njoku is crashing ceilings, breaking boundaries and moving mountains.

Whether his businesses fail or succeed, whether or not Njoku eventually becomes the kind of business leader he already fancies himself to be, he would have already won. Because he dared. And to dare is the hardest part.

For creating a globally respected business from scratch, for continuously innovating, setting standards for others to follow, for building a generation of young business people that might just change Nigeria; and for inspiring a whole new generation to believe in themselves and their dreams, we are proud to announce Jason Njoku as the Y!/YNaija Person of the Year 2013.

As seen on YNaija

Support HealthMobile this season on Indiegogo

HealthMobile is an android phone application focused on preventive healthcare solutions for Africa. The app also contains content that allows its usage in the global community feasible. The developers of HealthMobile is NIXIT, a technology start-up based in the city of Calabar in Cross River State Nigeria.

The company has today launched an Indiegogo Trust campaign to raise funds for the coming 2014 year. NIXIT is seeking to use funds raised from the campaign to make HealthMobile available on the Windows, Blackberry and iOS platforms, as well as to create a web server, that would make their content easily available through the web, on all devices.

IndHm

Perhaps most importantly though, the company is seeking to fund a ‘Symptom Checker’ app that it says would help users in Africa diagnose accurately between the top three water and air borne diseases in Africa, of which malaria is chief.

You can support this campaign, by visiting their Indiegogo page here. You can make contributions using your local ATM or debit card.

Contact the developers: nixithealthmobile@gmail.com or follow them on different platforms: TumblrFacebookTwitter or call: +2347030951502 for any further inquiries.

Is BRCK The Solution To Your Internet Connectivity Problem?

No network signal, no power. There’s power, but there’s no network signal. The network signal is strong, but your battery is “too low for radio use.” That’s the nature of getting online in Africa.

Enter: BRCK.

Engineered by Kenya-based non-profit tech startup Ushahidi, developers of the eponymous data crowdsourcing platform that wowed Africa a few years ago, BRCK — a solidly-built cloud-managed modem/router — may well be the solution to widespread Internet connectivity problems on the continent.

The rugged (oil/dirt/splash resistant) 510-gram box touted as a “backup generator for the Internet,”  will suck juice from Ethernet, Wi-Fi or 3G/4G mobile networks for a blissful eight hours (without a mad dash for a nearby power source), piping the good stuff to up to twenty connected devices (top that, Huawei). It also comes with USB ports so you can charge stuff off its huge 8,000 mAH battery, as well as an Arduino-compatible expansion controller that should interest would-be hack.., er, hobbyists.

No word yet on when the approximately ₦32,000 device will land on store shelves in Nigeria, but you can learn more about BRCK here and from Ushahidi co-founder Juliana Rotich’s TED Talk below.

Image via Wired