Pantami affirms Nigeria’s readiness for 5G, alerts on need to address security concerns

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Nigeria’s Communications Minister, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has expressed the country’s readiness to deploy 5G network even as he cautioned that global stakeholders must rally to address security concerns and other issues raised by worried critics around the world.

“We are about to launch a test run of 5G and the regulatory body has been asked to come up with the regulatory instrument to guide the deployment of 5G,” Pantami told a global audience of experts on Monday at the ‘GITEX Showdown Debate on 5G: Are we at risk of the next cyber-Pearl-Harbour?’ during one of analytical sessions on technology trends in the global ICT industry at the ongoing 39th GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, UAE.

The other speakers include: Elisabeth Braw, Journalist, Senior Research Fellow – RUSI (Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies); Jawad Jalal Abbassi, Head of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – GSMA; and Dritan Kaleshi, Head of Technology (5G) – Digital Catapult.

“The transition from 4G to 5G is not an evolution but a revolution that is bound to disrupt everything as we know it now and understandably has raised genuine concerns across the world”

The five day event kicked off Sunday October 6th and will end Thursday October 10th. The global technology exhibition every year brings together over 200,000 trade visitors, investors, innovators, IT experts, countries, technology startups from over 145 countries of the world, to share trends of ICT and ways of advancing technology innovations. Nigeria’s participation is spearheaded by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

“The transition from 4G to 5G is not an evolution but a revolution that is bound to disrupt everything as we know it now and understandably has raised genuine concerns across the world,” said Pantami

5G mobile network deployment has raised series of security concerns as a next-generation standard for wireless communication designed to go full steam from 2020. It is able to deliver more capacity, lower latency and faster speed more than 100 times above 4G meaning it would completely redefine communication the way we know it now.

The technology is at the heart of the US economic with diplomatic spat with China with the US government accusing Chinese Huawei of embedding spy-features in the 5G it has deployed in Europe and elsewhere. Huawei is currently banned in the US.

“We are working to handle the challenges of pre-deployment but the approval has been given for the trial. There could be potential challenges that could obstruct 5G network, which include regulations. You cannot just rush into it without preparing your ground,’’ said Pantami adding that the Nigerian government had already engage some security agencies like the National Intelligence Agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Nigeria Police, among others to ensure a seamless process, while establishing regulations on deploying the 5G network.


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