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Nigeria inches closer to 5G, as NCC mulls multi-sector policy for adoption


…Network to trigger $13.2 trillion sales, services by 2035

5G, Businesses

By Juliet Umeh

Despite the controversies surrounding the fifth-generation network, 5G over perceived relations with the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria appears closer to adopting it.

This is apparently owing to the huge economic benefits the network has been said to accrue to countries that have adopted it.

The network is also said to trigger up to $13.2 trillion in goods and services by 2035.

The country most probably wants to have a cut in this pie, as the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, just recently revealed plans for setting up a multi-sector policy framework for adoption.

The executive Vice-chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta who spoke at a conference organised by the Nigeria ICT Reporters, said the plan was to use 5G as a Post Covid economy recovery plan.

In his keynote address on the topic: ‘Multi-Stakeholder Approach to National Recovery Post-Pandemic, Danbatta said that socio-economic benefits of the expansion in telecommunications capabilities embarked upon by the NCC would be of immense benefit to the country, especially with the rollout of the 5G technology.

He said: “The Commission is vigorously working to establish a policy for 5G with multi-sector Stakeholders, including the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, the Academia, Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, Industry Consultative Advisory Forum, ICAF, and a host of others.

“Our goal is that when the Federal Government is able to establish a policy that will drive 5G, all the benefits of 5G will be properly harnessed by Nigerians. The Commission is also working to ensure the safety of 5G networks in Nigeria by having a multi-stakeholder approach in environmental impact analysis on the use of 5G and the Electromagnetic Fields, EMF, impact on humans in Nigeria.

“Once this is done, Nigerians can safely utilize 5G and reap all the economic, human and material benefits of 5G,” Danbatta said.

He promised that the Commission will continue to work vigorously with industry partners and stakeholders in ensuring that the nation’s information and communications technology, ICT infrastructure is able to meet the increasing demand for connectivity.

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He stated that the new normal life caused by the covid-19 require reliable means of connectivity which can only be achieved by adopting 5G technology.

Benefits of 5G

The EVC noted that the economic benefits of 5G to Nigeria post coronavirus pandemic will be huge, especially as almost all businesses and activities of the government are migrating and offering their services online. He stated that 5G is currently being test run in about 40 countries.

Danbatta said: “According to the ITU, 5G techlov,. ,.wnology is expected to connect people, things, data, applications, transport systems and cities in smart networked communications environments.

“5G is meant to seamlessly connect a massive number of embedded sensors in virtually everything through the ability to scale down in data rates, power, and mobility, providing extremely lean and low-cost connectivity solutions,” he stated.

Also, EVC said: “According to a landmark economy study conducted by QUALCOMM, 5G will affect the global economy and drive growth exponentially. 5G’s full economic effect will likely be realized across the globe by 2035, supporting a wide range of industries and potentially enabling up to $13.2 Trillion worth of goods and services. This impact is much greater than previous network generations.

“5G promises to provide increased speed and bandwidth as well as providing deeper coverage to reach people in rural or challenging locations. In addition, 5G will provide strong security for the various sectors of government and private organizations.

“Due to its sheer scale and scope, the International Telecommunication Union, ITU, predicts that 5G will accelerate the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDG’s, from affordable and clean energy to zero hunger,” NCC Boss itemised.

Meanwhile, earlier in his remarks, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, Mr. Olusola Teniola, said there is a need for all stakeholders to work collaboratively in order to achieve a much-desired digital economy.

He noted that such collaboration would enable the country to shift from a consumer of tech to a producer of tech.

Also, the CEO of a tech company, Medallion, Mr. Ike Nnamani, said that there are still gaps in service availability in other parts of the country.

He pointed out that a lot of ICT infrastructure seems to be domiciled in Lagos alone.

Nnamani said: “We have to extend telecommunications Infrastructure to other cities of Nigeria, it has to be achieved.”

On his own, the Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, spoke on factors challenging the deployment of ICT infrastructures.

He listed such challenges as inconsistency on the part of some state, mere rhetoric of some state governments, and multiple taxations.

Also, he frowned at the rate at which the country is experiencing high mobility of ICT experts in the country.

Adebayo said: “There should be a deliberate effort to keep our young ICT experts here. We need decisive steps to keep them within the country.”


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