Nigeria develop 5G deployment policy

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that it is developing a policy for the deployment of 5G technology in the West African country. Following successful demos in six locations the launch of 5G trials in cooperation with MTN Nigeria in November last year.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has started working on a policy for the deployment of 5G in Nigeria. The policy will require the input of relevant stakeholders, from different parastatals in Nigeria.

The three-month tests involved different equipment vendors and utilized spectrum in the 3.5GHz and 2.6GHz bands in order to assess the performance of the technology in comparison with existing platforms and ensure that it is in compliance with health and safety guidelines.

Following the successful conclusion of the trials, the NCC has begun developing a policy for the deployment of 5G more widely, and this will be followed ‘in due course’ by a public consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the Ministry of Health and mobile operators.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced this on Thursday, June 11, 2020, stating that it started developing the policy following a directive from the Ministry of Communications and the Digital Economy and its constitutional mandate to implement plans that promote and ensure the development of the communications industry.

5G is the fifth generation of wireless communications technologies (2G, 3G, and 4G), that experts say will be about 100 times faster than the current 4G networks.

Considering that 5G will greatly enhance technologies such as Internet of Things ( IoT ), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Drones and several others, the NCC believes that it will be of immense benefit to every sector and help achieve goals for Nigeria’s digital economy.

Recall that for three months, beginning from November 2019, the NCC permitted MTN to test the possibilities of 5G technology in their offices in three (3) major cities —Abuja, Lagos and Calabar. Companies like Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, and provided the equipment in the respective states and they have since been decommissioned.

Due to the outbreak of the pandemic following the subsequent lockdown, a series of controversies emerged in April 2020, about the health effects of 5G as it relates to COVID-19 and harmful radiation.

Though the NCC was quick to disprove the claims, in May 2020 the Nigerian Senate allegedly began investigating the status of 5G in Nigeria and ordered its suspension with the assumption that 5G is available in Nigeria.

The International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) said that as long as the right precautions are taken, 5G is safe for human health.

NCC says it will use the lessons learnt to influence the development of the policy for commercial deployment.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says new initiative will need wide public consultation, so the process of developing this policy will involve a public inquiry, especially from several relevant stakeholders whose views will influence the final policy:

For now, the outcome of the Nigerian Senate’s investigation is not clear. Given the details behind the NCC’s latest plans, their decision will greatly influence the development of a 5G policy.

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