Africa holds the ace in 5G investment – NCC

Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja


The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, says that the African continent holds the ace in 5G which is the next frontier of investment.

Danbatta stated this as a panelist on the topic, “5G Centre Play” at the just concluded Intentional Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecom World 2019 in Budapest, Hungary.

Danbatta said 5G would provide a very veritable and convincing investment for investors.

He, however, said that government alone cannot do it hence,  he urged the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities provided by 5G and invest in Africa which guarantees adequate returns on investment.

“We need to look at 5G usage scenarios, and there are three of them: The enhanced mobile broadband applications, the ultra-reliable low latency applications and the Machine to Machine (M2M) applications.

“In our own part of the world, we are looking closely at these key areas of usage scenarios. The one that African countries will subscribe to quickly is the enhanced mobile broadband applications.

“The reason for this is that, African countries are trying to roll out broadband infrastructure for broadband applications. So, this will spur us to ensure we put in place the necessary infrastructure,” Professor Danbatta explained.

According to him, African nations are trying to reserve the spectrum for the roll out of broadband services.

“Specifically in Nigeria, we are talking about three, 26GHz, 38GHz and 42 GHz. These frequencies exist and we are not licensing them for other applications”.

“We are waiting in anticipation for the standardisation process to be completed at the World Radio Communication (WRC) in Egypt and then, we can see how we can go forward with the licensing processes in the three frequencies,” he stated.

The NCC boss explained that another  step that African countries are taking is to address new forms of anxiety that is occasioned by this emerging technology, 5G.

“There’s also the regulatory anxiety. And therefore, to do that successfully like we had done in the past with every service we deployed, we start with a proof of concept  (PoC) trial. And preparations are underway for this important trial to take place.”

“The whole idea behind the trial is to be able to see what these challenges are:security challenges, levels of radiation power density, whether this is within the acceptable limits provided for by the international non-ionization radio regulatory agencies as well as to ensure whatever factors that we need to come to terms with in preparatory to commercial deployment of services are identified in readiness for commercial rollout of services using 5G.” he emphasised.

He added that African countries were currently exchanging information and experiences on 5G.

“The promise of the 5G rollout in the area of enhanced broadband mobile services in our individual countries as well as addressing the anxiety of the citizens by giving them the information that will make them receptive to this technology that is already here,” Danbatta noted.

Peace PIAK