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How UBA, Google free Wi-Fi, will boost SMEs

By Moses Nosike

The new free Wi-Fi launched by United Bank for Africa Plc, UBA, Google and ISP is all encompassing  as it will reposition SMEs to transact and operate well in the country. This new innovation to launch Google Station in 11 key UBA branches in Lagos State is part of plans to roll out 200 stations in the country.

Damilola Abike Makanjuola née Fademi centre during training of community people on adire making recently in Lagos.

The Google Station App will boost small and medium enterprises to do business at its comfort zones convenietly as the platform that provides free, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots in public places, began in Lagos last year, and extended to Abuja in December in partnership with Backbone Connectivity Network.

The UBA google-powered initiative would allow the bank’s customers access to internet connectivity within the 11 branches and its environs, thereby facilitating their day-to-day businesses and activities, while ensuring unhindered connectivity.

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The 11 branches where the hotspot will be located are: UBA Bank Road, 810-811 Bank Road, Daleko; UBA Matori, 21 Fatai Atere street; UBA Surulere, 152 Ogunlana Drive; UBA Allen, 13 Allen Avenue, Ikeja; UBA Tisco Plaza, Alausa; UBA Apapa, 11-13 Warehouse Road, Apapa; UBA Marina, 55 Marina, Lagos Island; UBA HQ, Broad Street, Marina; UBA Lekki Admiralty; UBA Oke Arin and UBA Aspamda Plaza, Trade Fair.

During the official launch at UBA’s Head Office recently, UBA’s Executive Director/ Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Chuks Nweke, said that the bank’s excitement over the collaboration, adding that the move will go a long way to present opportunities far beyond the imagination of both organisations.

He noted that the challenges of financial inclusion which the USSD platform has not been able to solve will be eased through the Google Station, as the financially excluded will now be able to access the internet and enjoy the services provided free of charge.

He said, “It is an interesting platform which will ultimately benefit everyone. It is a win-win for everyone. Customers will have ease of doing businesses, especially with the growing use of smart phones, and the 52 million Nigerians who have otherwise been financially excluded will now have access to data through this collaboration and can carry out their transactions with ease.”

Google Nigeria’s Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, noted that the institutions remained focused on providing internet services to users for free.

She said, “With the help of our partners, we are offering high-quality internet access in heavily-trafficked areas like airports, markets, malls and bus stations throughout the country, especially in areas where there were no internet connections before.”

Josh Woodward, Director, Product Management, said the collaboration will aim to solve a basic need and allow customers access to connectivity to assist them in their day-to-day businesses and activities.

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