Following the approval by President Mohammadu Buhari, Nigeria becomes the first country in West Africa to test-run 5G technology and applications.
The president gave the endorsement at first live demo of 5 network event in Abuja, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Present at the occasion was Dr Isa Pantami, the minister of communications and digital technology. He addressed the challenges facing telecoms sector, adding that an executive order was in place to kick start telecommunications infrastructure. He further expressed his delight to be a part of the historical moment of migrating from 4G to 5G.
“We are working day in day out to make sure that the environment is conducive for people to do their business. The administration is passionate about developing Nigeria’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) Sector which contributes more than Oil and Gas to GDP,” the president said.
MTN made the announcement that Nigeria would get its own 5G network as early as next year. The telecom giant revealed that the feat became possible following the strong collaboration between the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and MTN Nigeria.
The test will be implemented in three cities using hardware from Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson in four cities across the country. MTN noted that the 5g trial will run for three months utilizing trial spectrum allocated to MTN Nigeria by the NCC.
To show the swiftness of 5G, MTN deployed a high-speed, low-latency virtual reality game. The visitors were not left behind. They experienced ultra-high-speed streaming and downloads on 5G devices and interacted in real-time with life-like 3D holographic projections. According to the telecoms giant, “3D holographic communication has potential applications for education, medical imaging, video conferencing and gaming, and requires about four times as much data as a streamed 4k video.”
However, the issue of the exorbitant cost of data in the country cannot be ignored. Stressing the issue of the high cost of data in the country, the Federal government has mandated that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) must implement modalities to reduce the cost of data in the country.
There had been numerous complaints from concerned Nigerians about the high cost of data by telecom operators. Dr Isa Pantami said he had been saddled with the responsibility.
While this may sound like good news, commercial roll out of 5G net may still be a long way from realisation. From waging a way against the high cost of data to installing broadbands infrastructure, it still is a long way to go.