The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nigeria Satellite Company (NIGCOMSAT) for the release of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band for early for 5G deployment.
Speaking during the signing of the MoU in Abuja today, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta noted that amongst the Frequency Spectrum bands allocated to 5G by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU, the C-band (3.4GHz - 3.9GHz) stands out because its balancing point between coverage and capacity provides the perfect environment for 5G connectivity.
“The C-band is most suitable and appropriate for immediate deployment of 5G services taking into consideration availability of device ecosystem with 60-70% of global commercial 5G network deployment currently in the band, thus the importance of this Spectrum for early deployment of 5G services in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized.
“For optimal 5G service performance, an average of contiguous 100 MHz of spectrum in the C-band is required by an Operator. However in Nigeria, only 120 MHz of the band (3.4 – 3.52) GHz is available for mobile services while the remaining 680 MHz (3.52 – 4.2) GHz of the band is used by NigComSat (NG-1R) satellites,” he said.
Danbatta added that the Commission initiated negotiation with NIGCOMSAT whom it estimated could make some adjustment to its satellite operation and release part of its Spectrum holding in the band to facilitate the deployment of 5G in Nigeria. “The impeccable team at NigComSat proved us right,” he said.
While appreciating the Management of the NIGCOMSAT under the distinguished leadership of Dr. Abimbola Alale , Danbatta said the two agencies had been in discussions on how to relocate the operations of NG-1R to the standard C-band 300MHz (3.9GHz – 4.2GHz) potion of the band, which is more suitable in terms of Satellite service offering because end user terminal are cheaper there, while leaving the non-standard C-band 400MHz (3.5GHz – 3.9GHz) portion of the band for 5G use.
“The cost of relocating the NG-1R is expected to be offset from the proceeds of the auction of the 5G Spectrum,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Alale, thanked the NCC for collaborating with her company in order to advance the course of the digital economy of the Federal Government.