Home Big Story Is there a 5G network in Nigeria? Regulator offers answers

Is there a 5G network in Nigeria? Regulator offers answers

Is there a 5G network in Nigeria? Regulator offers answers
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Nigeria is answering the telecoms market most controversial question sparked by claims that 5G mobile technology caused the deadly Coronavirus outbreak.

Home to a booming telecoms market, Nigeria’s active phone connections was 187,435,821 (98.19%) and Internet users were 132,013,241 by February, according to official figures.

Meanwhile, claims that Coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19 and 5G mobile technology are linked are misleading, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which regulates the telecoms industry says.

Dr. Henry Nkemadu, a Veterinary Medicine graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, has become the Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the nation's telecoms regulatory agency.
No live 5G network in Nigeria: Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the nation’s telecoms regulatory agency.

“Firstly, there is no correlation between 5G Technology and COVID-19. 5G is an advancement on today’s 4G technology, designed to transform the world positively.

“Secondly, there is no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment”, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director, Public Affairs  at NCC says.

The regulator is stepping in to douse public concern after what it cites as “misleading materials with no proven evidence” emerged across social media claimed that the emerging 5G technology was responsible for Coronavirus, the deadly virus ravaging several countries around the world, including Nigeria.

Watch | 5G in Nigeria: Any Link with COVID-19?

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reports Sunday that 248 new confirmed Coronavirus cases and 17 linked deaths were recorded in Nigeria as the pandemic spreads across the country.

Within the same period, 4399 cases have been confirmed, 778 cases have been discharged and 143 deaths have been recorded in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory, NCDC says.

“Firstly, there is no correlation between 5G Technology and COVID-19. 5G is an advancement on today’s 4G technology, designed to transform the world positively.“Secondly, there is no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment”

Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Is there a 5G network in Nigeria? Regulator offers answers
5G services will transform the world positively, NCC says

Meanwhile, the telecoms regulator is assuring Nigerians that the 5G mobile technology which is yet to be rolled out commercially in the country has undergone a trial test approved by NCC.  

According to Nkemadu, “The NCC back in November 2019 approved trial test for 5G for a period of three months, and the trial has been concluded and installation decommissioned.

“The trial among others was to study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present. Relevant stakeholders including members of the security agencies were invited to participate during the trial”, he explains.

According to him, “the NCC will continue to maintain its policy of technology neutrality and will continue to encourage service providers to deploy the best technology that will meet the needs of the society in a secured and friendly manner.”

NCC’s Public Affairs Director answers 19 key questions bordering on safety, deployment, regulatory and allied issues surrounding 5G technology:

Question 1. What is 5G?

Nkemadu: 5G is a fifth generation of mobile technology which is an improvement on today’s 4G technology with enhanced capabilities. The 5G technology provides the platform for new and emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data to improve the way we live and work.

Question 2. Do we have 5G network in Nigeria now?

Nkemadu: No. There is no 5G network in Nigeria at the moment. What we had was a trial test for 3 months, which has since been concluded.

Question 3. When are we expecting 5G in Nigeria?

Nkemadu: No exact time frame but when conditions are right and all doubts are cleared.

Question 4. Do we have spectrum for 5G in Nigeria?

Nkemadu: Yes. Particularly the millimetre wave spectrum from 24GHz and above are available.

Question 5. Have we given out 5G spectrum to operators?

Nkemadu: No. It will be auctioned at the appropriate time.

Question 6. Are there 5G deployment around the world?

Nkemadu: Yes. In countries like South Korea, China, USA, Germany and others since middle of 2019.

Question 7. Is the radiation from 5G different from those of 2G, 3G and 4G?

Nkemadu: No. They all belong to the same class of Non-ionizing Radiation.

Question 8. Who is going to Allocate spectrum for 5G in Nigeria

Nkemadu: The National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has the responsibility for allocating bulk spectrum for various services.

Question 9. Should I be concerned about 5G technology?

Nkemadu: No. Nothing to worry about. Safety and human health are top priority in the design and deployment of 5G.

Question 10. What are the benefits of 5G?

Nkemadu: 5G technology will transform the world by connecting everything with everybody. It will create millions of jobs, it will add billions of dollars to the economy (GDP), and can solve some of our problems such as insecurity and improve governance and efficiency in the society.

Question 11. Is 5G causing CORONAVIRUS or COVID-19?

Nkemadu: No. There is no link whatsoever between 5G and Coronavirus or COVID-19.

Question 12. Should I ignore all the negative narratives I am hearing about 5G?

Nkemadu: No. But rely on information from world standards making bodies such as WHO, ITU, IEEE and industry experts for advice when in doubt.

Question 13. Is there standard limit set for radiation from mobile devices?

Nkemadu: Yes, there is radiation emission limits set by the International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) below which the radiation is considered safe for humans.

Question 14. Are the mobile network operators in Nigeria conforming to the Radiation emissions limits?

Nkemadu: Yes. The NCC has been regularly conducting measurements of radiation emissions from base stations across the country and they are all well below the set limits.

“As a result of the lockdown, the amount of voice and data usage has increased by huge amounts and there is need to expand the network to provide optimum quality of service to users sitting at home.”

Ikeja Computer Village in Lagos, Nigeria
A mobile phone user seen at Ikeja Computer Village Lagos, Nigeria

Question 15. Is 5G same as fibre cable?

Nkemadu: No. Fibre cable is a terrestrial technology for broadband that existed for decades while 5G is a new mobile technology for enhanced quality of service as explained in Question 1 above.

Question 16. Are there other sources of radiation apart from mobile base stations?

Nkemadu: Yes. There are other sources of radiation which include television stations, radio broadcasts stations, WiFi and so on. They all belong to the class of radiation considered to be safe for humans when operated below the set limits.

Question 17. Who owns 5G?

Nkemadu: 5G is not owned by anybody but collection of technologies, standards and processes agreed at the international level by standards making bodies.

Question 18. Has NCC issued licences for 5G in Nigeria?

Nkemadu: No. NCC has not issued any licence for 5G in Nigeria. NCC is technology-neutral, as such we don’t license technology but assign spectrum to operators for deployment of any service when allocated by NFMC.

Question 19. Why are some operators rolling out fibre during the lockdown period?

Nkemadu: As a result of the lockdown, the amount of voice and data usage has increased by huge amounts and there is need to expand the network to provide optimum quality of service to users sitting at home. Telecoms is also critical for information dissemination during the lockdown.

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