By Na’ankwat Dariem
The Nigerian government has granted approval for the trial of 5G,(5th Generation technology network) services, making Nigeria the first in West Africa to trial the 5G technology and applications.
This is as result of collaboration between the Ministry of Communications Technology and Digital Economy, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, MTN and Huawei (Abuja), ZTE (Calabar) and Ericsson (Lagos.)
Speaking at the demonstration of the first live demo trial of the 5G technology by MTN in Abuja ,Nigeria ‘s capital, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technology, Dr. Isa Pantami said the approval for the trial in the country was endorsed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dr. Pantami expressed delight to be part of the historical moment, stressing that migration from 4G to 5G will be a revolution in the industry.
The Minister underlined the potential of 5G for sustainable growth saying that “I believe as long as we are able to handle the potential challenges, the deployment of 5G is very critical to our economy, because of so many advantages of 5G, the issue of latency, speed and many more.”
Stressing the importance of an enabling regulatory framework and protecting telecommunications infrastructure, Dr. Pantami explained that on the instruction of the President, he has signed a draft Executive Order declaring telecommunications infrastructure ‘critical national infrastructure’ which has been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation for review.
The Minister also referred to the proposed Executive Order as a short-term measure, stressing that the President has instructed that a proper legislation be facilitated to deal conclusively with threats to telecommunications infrastructure.
The Chairman of MTN Nigeria Mr. Ernest Ndukwe, thanked the Nigerian Government for the support so far demonstrated in ensuring the deepening of the impact of telecoms in the country.
In a remark, the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta noted that: “in line with our participatory regulation approach, we will consult widely with stakeholders in developing the right regulatory framework for 5G rollout in Nigeria. We are not oblivious of the global concerns around 5G network security vulnerabilities and we will be working with our parent Ministry and security agencies to develop measures to ensure a high level of cybersecurity of 5G networks”.
The NCC had earlier approved the spectrum for 5G trial to network operators for the trial of 5G telecom services, preparatory to the commercial launch of 5G in Nigeria by 2020.
The Commission also organisinsed a workshop in Abuja, in collaboration with the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), to map out strategies for 5G technology that will usher in a much faster broadband experience in the country.
Highlighting the importance of partnerships, the Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria , Ferdi Moolman said “Pushing boundaries is easier when your aspirations are supported by likeminded people. We are here today because of the support and guidance of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Communications Commission who provided the trial spectrum used for this.Also key to this achievement are our equipment vendors who shared our vision, and whose capabilities were brought to bear in making the 5G trials across the country a reality. We are grateful for these partners, our customers and everyone who made it possible. Today’s success underlines the fact that we are good together.”
The Chief Operating Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mazen Mroue, stated that “In collaboration with our technical partners and the support of the Federal Government, we are proudly putting Nigeria on the 5G technology map. As we continue to invest in technology solutions to meet the wide needs of our customers, MTN will continue to strengthen these partnerships as we move to build our 5G capacity in future, guided by the standards and spectrum set by the Nigerian Communications Commission.”
It creates vast possibilities in innovation and transformation, and will immensely improve quality of living, as users gain a better experience of services and technology in general – from financial services, healthcare, education, and even public service delivery to more leisurely purposes, such as video streaming services, gaming and even self-driving cars.
“5G offers tremendous benefits in terms of speed, latency (less delays), efficiency and security. This pilot offers a unique opportunity for us to explore use-cases and applications in Nigeria, and we are excited about its potential for our country and our company” Mohammed Rufai noted
By working together, MTN and its partner – Huawei, provided a glimpse into a range of 5G use cases and applications at a test Lab designed to show proof-of-concept in Abuja.
It also demonstrated how 5G has the potential to support key socio-economic objectives Nigeria has set for itself, and to be a key contributor to the emergence of a fully digital economy.
According to MTN , the 5G-demo train will moves to Calabar and Lagos and four other cities across the country to showcase the capabilities of 5G ,its potential to enable economic growth, and social inclusion. The 5G trial will run for three months utilising the trial spectrum allocated to MTN by the NCC.