Exclusive: Globacom inks deal with BCX Network to launch GloBiz
By TECHNOLOGY TIMES Reporter
Lagos. June 5, 2013: Nigeria is now recording growing spate of interests in its Internet space from China in one of the key trends that have followed massive price cuts on top level domain names, managers of the country’s online real estate have told Technology Times exclusively.
Nigeria’s DotNG, (written as .ng) the unique suffix that identifying the country on the Internet share a common affinity with popular Chinese names ending with ‘NG’ sparking interest in acquisition of local Internet names from the Asian nation.
This comes just as indications emerged that plans are underway by Nigeria’s Second National Operator (SNO) Globacom to launch a subsidiary business unit which is for now codenamed GloBiz that will offer cloud-based and several suite of services targeting diverse business segments in Nigeria. The subsidiary from the SNO is expected to rival MTN Business, a service offered by the rival mobile phone company, MTN Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Ope Odusan, the Chief Operating Officer of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), says the growing Chinese interest in the Nigerian Internet space has lately been on the upswing in the wake of new price cut by the domain name managers.
According to the NIRA COO, NIRA took the decision to in the first quarter of the year under a strategic plan to key leverage Nigeria as a major player in the global domain name market estimated at over $6 billion annually.
NIRA cut the price on the second level Internet domain names from N500, 000 to N15, 000, a development that has opens a new vista for DotNG uptake by individuals and businesses to buying their unique online names for keep.
Folks from the Asian nation of China appear not to want to be caught napping in the race for a share of the Nigerian Internet space which has since then recorded increasing uptakes in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
Popular Chinese surnames and common names include Ng, Chang, Wong, Wang and the likes may come under the radar of Chinese domain name speculators who are moving in to acquire valuable space on the Nigerian Internet space.
Hitherto, top Nigerian brands as well as their global counterparts have leveraged the first mover advantage to buy and keep unique names identifying their brands.
ThisDay and Leadership Newspapers have bought thisday.ng and leadership.ng in a race that has not excluded MTN Nigeria (mtn.ng), Google (googli.ng, google.ng), Microsoft (bi.ng), among others in key corporate strategies to target the growing online community in Nigeria and beyond.
NIRA says that a new online land grab underway on the Nigerian virtual real estate has also spiked following price cuts that went into effect in the first quarter of this year is driving prospects of “increased renewals and sustainable growth.”
According to Odusan, within the first two weeks of go-live of the lower-priced direct DotNG domain names, more than 700 were sold by the accredited registrars of NIRA underscoring that the policy review has positively impacted the domain name marketplace.
The domain name manager says that it so far crossed over 30,000 name mark in sales recorded by through its 45 accredited registrars while also recording 80 per cent renewal, a key indicator of sustained interest in the national resource.
The second level domain name is often preferred as it removes the need for .com.ng and people can register their preferred name with the .ng suffix.
But NIRA remains concerned over relatively slower interest among Nigerian entities in buying their own names on the DotNG space for keep before foreign buyers beat them to the valuable online real estate.
Not wanting to be left out in the new online real estate land grab, DotNG domain registrars are pitching the lower pricing as new opportunities to tap a virgin market being opened for domain name business.
Oluniyi Ajao, Managing Director of Web4Africa Ltd., says that things are about to change with the new price cuts as the old price made the top level domain affordable to big business.
“Direct .ng domain names had always been open to anyone in the world, but at a very high premium price. This made them exclusive to only a few big companies but that is about to change”, the company announced in the wake of the price cuts to pitch a more affordable $93.75 to the Internet community.
Ajao says that notable examples of existing direct DotNG domain names, known in the industry as second level DotNG domains are bi.ng (registered by Microsoft), google.ng (registered by Google), among others.
According to him, “.ng domains are valuable to the extent that they lend themselves to being used for coming-up with creative domain names considering a multitude of words in the English language end with ‘ng’. The examples are endless: si.ng, pi.ng, selli.ng, buyi.ng.”
The creative uses also apply to other major languages, especially Chinese. In China, many names end in ‘ng’ and thus, registering a .ng domain is a smart way to procure a short domain name, Web4Africa says.
He further explains that the popular social media platform Twitter has made the use of URL shortener bit.ly very necessary for sharing long website addresses.
“Considering the 140-characters limitation, .ng domains will open the possibility of short domain names for new URL shorteners that are easy to remember” he adds underscoring that direct DotNG domain names will be available for registration for a minimum of one year and a maximum of 10 years.
In a related development, while launch date is being kept under wraps for now, indications have emerged that the Second National Operator, Globacom and South Africa’s BCX Networks may have inked a deal on a cloud service expected to go live soon to compete with MTN Business, a similar service offered by rival mobile phone company, MTN Nigeria, Technology Times has learnt.
Technology companies are offering cloud and other business applications that allow companies to conveniently centralising access to services eases the administrative burden for businesses where instead of dealing with multiple service providers, they now deal with a single service provider offering essential business tools to manage their process and operations.
Barring any last-minute change, GloBiz is expected to be launched in the second quarter of the year as operators come under new pressure to unfold layers of new services that open new revenue stream from their mobile phone customer base and keep churn at bay.