IT News Nigeria:
As Nigerian Communications Commission sets for 5G licence come December 13 2021 there are questions about which vendours will play dominant role in the supply of the telecoms gear that will powers the next generation network in Africa’s most populous nation.
Nine (9) companies are known to sell 5G radio hardware and 5G systems for carriers worldwide. These include: Altiostar, Cisco Systems, Datang Telecom/Fiberhome, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, and ZTE.
When MTN conducted 5G network trials across Nigeria in November 2019 different companies took turn to test their technologies. The network testing in Abuja was powered by Huawei. Calabar and Lagos were powered by ZTE and Ericsson respectively.
The November 2019 trial was in preparation for proposed 2020 launch of the Fifth Generation telecommunications services in Nigeria and the NCC had set aside and dedicated specific spectrum bands to network operators for the trial of 5G telecom services, preparatory to the commercial launch of 5G in Nigeria by 2020. But Things changed.
5G licence: What did NCC say?
NCC under the leadership of Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, has said it has officially declared that the auction of the 3.5 Gigahertz (3.5 GHz) spectrum for the deployment of the next generation technology in Nigeria, will take place on December 13, 2021.
The Commission also stated that only licensees, who make down payment of 10 per cent of the reserved bid price and with 100 per cent regulatory compliance would be allowed to participate in the auction while licensees with outstanding debts that have secured NCC’s approval for a payment plan will be allowed to participate in the auction.
It added that the auction comes with a 10-year spectrum licence and a minimum requirement of an operational Universal Access Service Licence (UASL). However, new entrants or licensees without a UASL will be required to obtain a UASL operational license to be qualified for the 5G licence.
The eventual licensees will have a rollout obligation plan spanning a period of 10 years, beginning from the date of award of the licence. Between the first and second year of the licence, the operators are expected to rollout service in, at least, one state in each geo-political zone.
From the third to fifth year, they are obligated to cover all the zones. Between six to 10 years, they should cover all the states in the country.
“in line with our participatory regulation approach, we will consult widely with stakeholders in developing the right regulatory framework for 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 non-commercial trial on (25/11/2019) gives concrete expression and credence to NCC’s commitment to ensuring that Nigerians are able to access all variants of telecommunications services as they unfold and in line with their needs.
5G why it matters
During a comparison test on both 4G and 5G networks, it took just 15.78 seconds to download a 2.3 GB video on the 5G network. The same file on 4G took exactly 5 minutes, 3.84 seconds. While download speed on the 5G network was about 1 Gbps, it can apparently go as high as 4.1 Gbps.
On the other hand, the download speed on the 4G network was just about 68.2 Mbps, which is a little fraction compared to that of 5G. Worthy of note is that the 4G network is on the 2600 MHz band and 5G on 26 GHz.
What experts say
In August 2020, a professional group, Computer Professionals (Registration Council Of Nigeria) – CPN has said time is now to deploy 5G network after several months trial of the network with Huawei and others technology in Nigeria.
A heavily worded communiqué signed by its President/Chairman-in-Council, Prof. Charles O. Uwadia and Registrar/Secretary to Council, Allwell C. Achumba, the Body said 5G deployment will bring about transformation in Nigeria in many areas including smart city, smart transportation, and efficiency in medicine as well as Internet of Things connectivity.
In its virtual 2020 Assembly in July themed: “Adoption Of 5G in Nigeria: The Technological and Regulatory Challenges”, CPN said there is need to address all the misgivings, misinterpretations and misconceptions surrounding the issue of adoption and deployment of 5G network in Nigeria, according to the Keynote delivered by Engr. Deus Uche Osuji, General Manager, Network Services at MTN Nigeria.
CPN said it strongly recommended that:
The deployment of 5G in Nigeria is capable of fast tracking our economic growth and migrating us fully into a digital economy.
- Deployment of 5G in Nigeria has numerous advantages which include faster internet connection, smoother user experience and huge deployment of Information Technology to drive growth and development of industries.
- CPN is now recommending the adoption of the network to Government at all levels because Nigeria will derive huge socio-economic benefits from commercial deployment of the fifth generation networks. The new networks will come with great potentials that will boost the entire spectrum of Nigeria’s socio economic ecosystem.
- Adoption of the network in Nigeria will bring about transformation in the country in the area of smart city, smart transportation, efficiency in medicine as well as a lot of automation in respect of our appliances and devices with respect to Internet of Things (IoT).
- The country will also benefit immensely from the adoption of the network in terms of faster speed, high latency and high capacity that will transform consumer and business experiences because the difference between all other existing generations of technologies such as 2G, 3G and 4G lies in speed and data capacity.
- Provision of good and adequate supply of power will enable the citizenry to enjoy the benefits of 5G network and derive huge socio-economic benefits from commercial deployment of the fifth generation networks. Therefore, there is need for the Federal Government to intensify its efforts in addressing the power challenges in the country.
- The Federal Government is hereby enjoined to ensure that the cost of 5G compatible devices is affordable to Nigerian so that the citizens can benefit from the new technology
- The Federal Government of Nigeria should declare Information Technology and Telecommunications as a critical national infrastructure to facilitate the success of the national broadband strategy
- Governments at various levels should also intensify their efforts to embrace Information Technology with its attendant potentials of facilitating governance and eradicating corruption in the country
- The complete adoption of Information Technology as well as migration of Government operations from manual to digital will make the country to conform with the benchmark of Government operations in the 21st century