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Operator promises network integrity, donates equipment to curb COVID-19

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Telecommunications operator, MTN has assured of network integrity during this period of COVID-19, even as it donates equipments to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Chief Corporate Services Officer, Tobechukwu Okigbo, in a chat with The Guardian, explained that ahead of any challenges, the firm has invested significantly in a robust network and have multiple layers of redundancy built in.

Okigbo said the telecommunications firm understands the vital role network and services play in supporting people, organisations and institutions nationwide, adding: “Government realises the critical nature of the services we and our colleagues provide and is doing everything to ensure services are not interrupted.”

He disclosed that to support government both at federal and state levels, MTN has supported the NCDC with a package that would enable it to scale up its real time surveillance of COVID 19 cases.

Okigbo explained that social distancing, contact tracing and testing are critical components in the fight to prevent widespread infection.

“Through our support, the NCDC will be able to roll out an outbreak response management and analysis system, which will enhance the capacity of each state to strengthen preparedness and respond appropriately,” he stressed.

The support package, according to Okigbo includes the provision of: 1,200 SIMs, each provisioned with N100, 000 (for calls/SMS) and 3GB monthly; for an initial period of six (6) months; 38 Toll-free lines (premium numbers) at no cost to NCDC; 38 Smart Feature phones for the toll-free lines; 10 MiFi devices, and daily COVID-19 prevention messages to all MTN subscribers.

“We continue engaging with government and our stakeholders, in pursuit of new ways to leverage our core expertise, technology and infrastructure to support government’s efforts to keep citizens safe. In the next few days, we believe that the various conversations around partnerships will start yielding visible results,” he stated.

Furthermore, he disclosed that on the sit-at-home policy, MTN has complied, largely because the firm has a common understanding of the threat posed by coronavirus, “and how our choices will impact the most vulnerable in our communities.”

He disclosed that virtually all MTN staff has been working from home through a process called tele-commuting. Okigbo said a few critical staff that needs to be on-site has been operating reduced hours, and we have taken considerable measures to protect them.

The MTN chief informed that in the past month, the firm has implemented precautionary measures in and around its facilities nationwide, suspended all non-critical business meetings, travel and events and activated travel-related self-isolation protocols.


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