The telecoms regulator has today launched a phased process that will result in the rollout of 5G network in Nigeria.
The planned process followed a successful pilot operation conducted by MTN Nigeria to show the benefits 5G service that poses no health hazards to humans, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says in a statement made available to Technology Times.
“The deployment of 5G technologies will consequently promote the National Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria that will improve the way Nigerians live and work. 5G has been deployed commercially and in use in some countries. As with the previous technologies, the International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has classified radiation from 5G as non-ionizing and therefore safe for human beings, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director, Public Affairs, NCC says.
To ensure that the country does not miss out in the benefits that the new wireless technology can offer the country’s economy, the telecoms regulator has “commenced the development of a policy for the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.”Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director, Public Affairs, NCC
Road ahead for 5G network in Nigeria
To ensure that the country does not miss out in the benefits that the new wireless technology can offer the country’s economy, the telecoms regulator has “commenced the development of a policy for the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.”
NCC confirms that MTN Nigeria’s pilot operation of the 5G services served as proof of concept that services that offer faster voice, data, video and other services.”Following global trends in telecommunications development of 5G, the Commission in November 2019, embarked on a Proof of Concept (trial) with MTN in six locations using different equipment vendors for a period of three (3) months. Relevant stakeholders including members of the security agencies were involved in the trial”, Nkemadu says.
“The trial was conducted to enable the Commission to assess the performance of the technology in comparison with existing technologies, evaluate compliance to health and safety guidelines and also use the lessons learnt to guide Policy towards commercial deployment”, spokesman of the telecoms regulator says.
MTN trial operation of 5G network in Nigeria
Nkemadu says the MTN Nigeria 5G trial that “was conducted on the 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands was successfully completed with performance showing improvement of 5G over the previous technologies with the radiation levels well below the specified human safety guidelines. The equipment used in the trials have long been decommissioned in all the locations.”
The promises of 5G will bring enhancements that include applications like Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Drones, Advanced Communication Systems, Cloud, 3D Printing, Mixed Reality, Simulation / Imaging, Gamification. These will bring improvements in Manufacturing, Transportation, Public Services, Health and Social Works, Agriculture, Energy, Logistics, Media and Entertainment, Mining and Quarrying, Machinery and Equipment, Automotive, Education, Information and Communication, Urban Infrastructure, Consumer experience, Sports, Semiconductor Technologies, among others, the regulator says.
Policy plans for 5G network in Nigeria
Following the successful completion of the trial of 5G by MTN Nigeria and a directive from the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, “the Commission commenced the development of a policy for the deployment of 5G in Nigeria. In line with its powers under section 57 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (NCA), and the need for wide public consultation, the process of developing this policy will involve a Public Inquiry which will involve all relevant stakeholders in the review and consultation process.”
The NCC spokesman says that “further to this mandate, the Commission considered that the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology will be beneficial for the socio-economic development of Nigeria. The technology is an advancement of existing mobile technologies (2G – 4G) with enhanced capabilities providing new and enhanced mobile communications services.”
However, he says that 5G will not be deployed in the country until a proposed Policy on 5G Network in Nigeria is concluded and approved.
Nkemadu says the Consultative Document is currently being developed and will be shared with stakeholders and the general public, following which a Stakeholder Consultative Forum will be held, adding that the “views of all stakeholders will be considered in the final Policy.”
Stakeholders for 5G network in Nigeria
The following Stakeholders have been identified: Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy, Office of the National Security Adviser, the National Assembly, Ministry of Health, National Environmental Standards & Regulations Enforcement Agency, Consumer advocacy groups, Academia, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Medical Association, World Health Organisation, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Mobile Network Operators, Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Nigerian Institute of ICT Engineers, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria amongst others.