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Nigeria is 97% ready for 5G network – NCC

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said Nigeria is 97 percent for deployment of fifth-generation (5G) cellular network technology.

MTN and Airtel are the two major operators that plan to secure a 5G spectrum licence to deploy the technology. While MTN has already conducted a trial of the technology across its offices in the country which was deemed successful, Airtel has also secured approval to trial the technology in the country.

The EVC of the commission was speaking on Tuesday at a Public Inquiry on the Draft Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations; SIM Replacement; and Spectrum Trading Guidelines. The three regulatory instruments are being proposed to position the industry in line with current realities in the global telecommunication sector and also align the industry with the government’s quest for a digital economy.

The commission said it would assign 5 slots of the 5G spectrum to the operators. This is why the Spectrum Trading Guidelines are important as it seeks to promote certainty and transparency in the processes of the commission by outlining the detailed procedure and conditions for spectrum trading in the Nigerian communications sector.

Read also: FG to transform telecom ecosystem as NCC launches Strategic Vision Plan

“The availability of spectrum frequency is a necessary element in the deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria,” Danbatta said. “Furthermore, the recent approval of the 5G Deployment Plan by the federal government makes this process expedient.”

Nigeria’s 5G preparation has come under increasing scrutiny in view of increasing insecurity that is threatening operators’ investments in different parts of the country. Currently, many communities in the northwest region of the country have no access to communication services as the military shut it down to tackle terrorist activities.

Apart from terrorists disrupting communication services and destroying infrastructure, vandalism of the equipment has also risen. An Airtel representative at the Public Inquiry said the telco suffers about 300 fibre cuts every month from activities ranging from construction to vandalism.

The NCC boss however, says these challenges are part of what the three regulatory instruments are meant to address and further strengthen the market structure.

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