Nigerian telecom regulator makes case for 5G

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Executive Vice Chairman/ CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has enumerated the benefits of 5G to building a robust economy. The telecom regulator posited that the country’s ability to transition into a digital economy and provide numerous opportunities for millions of young people depends on the rapid deployment of 5G.

While addressing a critical audience at a recent virtual event organised by the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), Danbatta said: “the economic benefits of 5G to Nigeria post corona virus pandemic will be huge, especially as almost all businesses and activities of government are migrating and offering their services online.

“5G will enable a new kind of network for Nigerians designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices. It will usher in the era of Internet of Things and faster innovation in Artificial Intelligence applications.”

NCC is already working on a framework for the deployment of 5G according to the telecom regulator. His words:

“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.

“The socio-economic benefits of the expansion in telecommunications capabilities embarked upon by the commission would be of immense benefit to the country, especially with the roll out of the 5G technology, which currently is being test run in about 40 countries. This will be a significant upgrade for networks and will be the backbone for the ICT industry post-pandemic recovery.”

NCC mindful of 5G controversies

Danbatta assured that the regulator was mindful of the controversies around 5G and has opted to adopt a progressive approach to examining the arguments. “We are all aware of the controversies surrounding COVID-19 and 5G technology. It is normal for the emergence of new technologies to be followed by such disagreements and the debate is mostly useful. However, and more importantly, we at the Commission are inevitably committed to examining the pros and cons,” said the NCC’s boss.

Adding: “According to the ITU, 5G technology 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.

“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 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.

5G will drive new businesses and empower young people

Danbatta affirmed faith that 5G holds the ace to creating vast new opportunities for Nigeria’s huge and growing population of young people. His words: “Nigeria’s vibrant youth population stands to benefit immensely from the deployment of 5G as it will offer technopreneurs, technology enthusiasts, SMEs and Tech-startups the platform to expand and network with other global players on a scale that has never been witnessed before.

“With high speeds, superior reliability and negligible latency, 5G will expand the mobile ecosystem into new realms. 5G promises to impact every industry, creating safer transporting systems, improving access to healthcare for our rural populace, increasing output from the agriculture sector, and digitized logistics among others.

“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 ITU predicts 5G will accelerate the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) from affordable and clean energy to zero hunger.”


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