The coast for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology in the country has gotten clearer for MTN and Mafab Communications, winners of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) last December 13, with the issuance of the final letters of award of the 5G Spectrum Licences to them.
Management of the Commission led by its Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Garba Danbatta, confirmed this to the Board of Commissioners at its Special Meeting on April 20 and 21, this year, where the Board considered update from management on the status of the spectrum auction.
With the issuance of the final letters of awards of 5G spectrum and in line with the 5G auction’s Information Memorandum (IM), the two licences are expected to accelerate the deployment of 5G network that will usher Nigeria into a robust Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a more digitised economy among the comity of nations.
Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, in a statement, explained that in line with the terms and conditions of the 5G licence, the licences were expected to roll out the 5G, from August 24.
The 5G network, when deployed, will bring a lot of benefits that will engender accelerated growth and smart living in the country. The technology is also expected to bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.
Following a credible auction of 3.5GHz last December, the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, had, on February 22, this year, handed over the spectrum allocation for 5G deployment as well as Federal Government-approved National Policy on 5G to the Commission.
Subsequently, the Commission, on February 24, this year, confirmed the full payment of $273.6 million each by the two spectrum winners, in addition to spectrum assignment fee paid by MTN, for the 5G spectrum licence. The Commission is optimistic that effective implementation of the National Policy on 5G will accelerate the actualisation of the national targets in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, as well as other sectoral policies designed to enhance Nigeria’s digital transformation.
While the licensees are expected to meet the timetable regarding their 5G network rollout obligations, the NCC requires collective efforts and support of the private-sector and government toward transforming every aspect of the nation’s economy through 5G, which will herald greater transformation than what the nation witnessed with the 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G.