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NCC Says Its Decision On 5G Deployment In Nigeria Remains Inconclusive

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) explained extensively that it is yet to conclude plans for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) network as consultations with stakeholders is still underway.

The Director of Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde has signed a statement explaining the draft document earlier released defined the implementation plan for the deployment of 5G in the country.

“The Draft Consultation Document for deployment of the 5G in Nigeria has been produced and uploaded on the Commission’s official website. This document defines the implementation plan for the deployment of 5G in Nigeria,” Adinde said.

The Draft Consultation Document published by the Commission on the deployment of 5G in Nigeria provides a background information on the benefits of the technology to businesses and individuals, and also outlines the Commission’s plans and strategies for a successful implementation.

Some countries are already in the first phase of 5G technology and are already enjoying the benefits. Recall that Nigeria undertook 5G trials in selected parts of the country in 2019. The trial was to determine if there would be health or security challenges associated with the network.

Adinde said further that the Commission also has “an ongoing engagement with the academia, while at the same time funding 5G related research projects, all in a bid to ensure the nation is provided with the best in terms of research findings and policy input, to drive the implementation and deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria.”

Accordingly, the engagements are necessary to put the country’s economy in the best place to contribute maximally to the digital economy drive of the nation.  Some of the enlisted targets include maximising the productivity and efficiency benefits of 5G to the nation and creating new opportunities for Nigerian businesses at home and abroad and encourage in-country investment and to also ensure that the 5G operations conform with international standards.

However, the Commission mentioned that it will not resume deployment without consulting every relevant stakeholder as with the previous technologies such as 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G. The deployment of such technology is of high importance and as such, must follow the due process of consulting with the appropriate stakeholders or body involved.

There had been rumours concerning the deployment of the technology and its relationship with COVID-19 in May. The commission had called on Nigerians to disregard such information making the rounds that telecom operators were laying 5G cables in Lagos and Kano in preparation to switch to 5G network.

This information had highlighted fears in some, especially those who believed the 5th generation network was somehow linked to the spread of the Coronavirus which infected many people globally. The telcos did not deny that they were planting fibre optic cables in those locations. They explained that the cables were in line with the initial plans to lay metro fibre in cities to sustain broadband penetration which is currently put at 40% to 70% by 2025.

No doubt, the 5G technology is an improvement of 4G with advanced capabilities and will provide a platform for emerging technologies such as Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to improve the way we live and work. However, an improvement of the broadband penetration is more paramount for now.

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