The President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani has said that none of the telecom operators currently operating in Nigeria has the financial muscle to fully deploy 5G infrastructure. Rather, he said, the operators would need to collaborate to be able to succeed in deploying the technology.
Nnamani, who made this declaration at the 2020 edition of the Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum (NIICF) held in Lagos, said the only way for the operators to succeed would be through infrastructure sharing. “Infrastructure sharing is key for 5G success in Nigeria, no operator can do it alone, the industry needs to work together, that is the only way we can achieve success. No single company has enough resources to single-handedly deploy 5G,” he said.
While noting that the country is on course with regards to processes that would lead to the deployment of 5G, the ATCON President said there is still the challenge of infrastructure, which must be addressed. He said the country would also need more data centres to be able to succeed with 5G. “We need more metro fibres, we need high capacity wireless access network, all these are essential in the 5G era,” he added.
Also speaking at the forum organised by ICT Watch Magazine with the theme, 5G: The Future is Here, the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the Commission was committed to 5G deployment in Nigeria. While noting that the Federal Government would provide an enabling environment for 5G deployment, he said the mobile network operators (MNOs) would determine their deployment strategies subject to alignment to the approved policies and other regulatory instruments in force.
“Securing spectrum for 5G is an antecedent for any Operator to commit serious investment to SG infrastructure. This makes it imperative for the spectrum allocation and assignment process to be concluded as early as possible,” he added.
According to the EVC, the successful and timely deployment of 5G is crucial to the country’s economy, as it is also in line with the strategy of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the acceleration of the National Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria, the positioning of Nigeria as an early adopter of digital technology and a major participant in the growing global digital economy. He added that 5G is expected to facilitate several emerging technologies, generate innovative new use cases, spur significant socio-economic growth, and create jobs.
In his welcome address, the Convener of the Forum and the Editor-in-Chief of ICT Watch Magazine, Mr. Tayo Adewusi, said the global impact of 4G has brought about an increase in mobile usage and network performance, adding that 5G would build on this momentum. He, however, noted that 5G’s full socio-economic impact is dependent on access to a variety of spectrum resources, including millimeter-wave bands between 24 GHz and 86 GHz.
“The mmWave spectrum allows for the increases in bandwidth and capacity that numerous 5G applications require. This will play a key role in meeting the demand for many enhanced mobile data services and new wireless broadband use cases such as remote object manipulation, industrial automation, virtual and augmented reality, and next-generation connectivity for vehicles,” he said.
The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Mr. Kashifu Inuwa, in a presentation at the event, pointed out that speed is not the only benefit of 5G. “Besides speed, the two factors that are most universally beneficial for businesses will be around latency and reliability. The speed is complemented with a huge capability for data transmission, 10 terabytes per second, and a density of 1 million nodes per Km².
“Also, it is expected that connection latency shrinks from 50 milliseconds to just 1 millisecond and network availability will be almost 100 per cent. In other words, 5G technology will allow delay time reduction in communications, an increase in information transfer rate, a significant improvement in mobile coverage, and will allow millions of devices to be connected simultaneously," he added.