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Nigerian researchers develop ”SIMless telecom operator”, digital walking stick

Some researchers at the Federal University of Technology [FUT] in Minna, Niger state have developed prototypes of SIMless multiple operator and mobile communications-enable walking stick.…

Some researchers at the Federal University of Technology [FUT] in Minna, Niger state have developed prototypes of SIMless multiple operator and mobile communications-enable walking stick.

The two innovations which were funded by the Nigerian Communications Commission are expected to solve problem of drop calls associated with bad quality network among the telecom operating companies in the country, and could reduce domestic accidents among the aged people who often live alone, according to the researchers.  

Speaking with journalists shortly after the prototypes were demonstrated at the NCC headquarters in Abuja on Monday, the lead researcher, Prof. Abiodun Musa Abinu said the SIMless data and voice connection over multiple operator-enabled SIM card will enable Nigerians to have just one SIM card that can automatically have access to all the telecom operators’ networks.

 ‘’We are talking about you having one SIM card for all networks or having one mobile phone with one SIM card for all networks we are talking about applying this thing to all available network.

‘’We are talking about disrupting the eco-system in the telecommunication industry in the sense that with just one SIM card you can access the available network without porting or buying multiple SIMS’’, Prof Abinu who is a mechatronics engineer said.

According to him, the walking stick is about having a walking stick that has anything you can imagine – your mobile phone is embedded in it, obstacle avoidance and then it has means of communicating with your healthcare givers.

He said, ‘’People carry a lot of phones or SIMs  as a result of quality of service and you are not certain of the network strength of an area. So using basic engineering and the technology behind Mobile phone we infused in it artificial intelligence system to be able to take intelligent decision on behalf of the user to switch from the network with poor quality of service to another with better quality service what this means is that subscribers are now the king and can enjoy quality of service even without having more than one phone and the product will soon hit the market.’’

In a chat with journalists earlier, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta said the SIMless card innovation is in keeping with the consideration for national roaming that is being promoted now by the commission.

Prof Danbatta who was represented by the NCC’s Executive Commissioners Technical Services, Engr Ubale Maska said  the commission was pleased with the results shown by the researchers because it showed ‘’that they have been able to accomplish every single thing with the grants given by the NCC.’’

He said, “they are visionary enough to look beyond what we expect them to do, and they are determined to take it to the next level.

‘’You notice today there are phones that have multiple SIM cards you have to consciously choose the SIM you want but their project on super SIM card can automatically select the SIM with the available network based on pre-determined instructions so it is very relevant.

‘’The industry is very dynamic and this certainly looks at the future of a device that selects any network that is available is something that all the network operators will accept and it is in keeping with the consideration for national roaming that is being promoted now by the commission.

‘’The fund is about N4million. We had hoped they would do it within a year so that they will get more but it has taken the last three years but we are happy because normally work like this is usually on-going all the time.

‘’We will encourage them to get investors who will continue to explore their possibility; it is something that is keeping to the mandate of the commission, the eight point agenda of the current leadership.’’