Telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria Communications PLC has become the first network provider with the gained license to rollout the 5G mobile network. This currently places Nigeria in the 5G race alongside South Africa and Kenya.
Why it matters:
In February, telecommunications regulator, the National Communications Commission (NCC), received a $273.6 million license fee from both MTN and Mafab Communications – both parties had won the auction for 3.5gigahertz (GHZ) 5G spectrum in December, 2021. Unfortunately, the latter was unable to meet the deadline of the regulatory body; this led to a five (5) month extension given to them. MTN is however expected to increase the number of its 5G sites to 600 by October 2023.
“In line with the conditions of the 5G license, the licenses were expected to commence the roll-out of 5G services effective from August 24, 2022. However, Mafab has been issued a five-month extension following delays in receiving its UASL and Numbering plan, which did not happen until the end of July,” Mushabu Bashir, chairman Mafab Communications said.
With backing from Huawei, ZTE, and Ericsson, the telecommunications network had performed 5G network testing as far back as 2019 – all tests were successfully run in its various offices in Abuja, Calabar and Lagos.
About the 5G network:
Although the rollout of the network have stirred up mixed reactions amongst Nigerians, here are a few notable things curated by CRESTHUB for you to know about the 5G network;
- Not every MTN user will be able to gain access to the network. According to a report by Ericsson – a Swedish networking and telecommunications company that partnered with MTN Nigeria for its 5G trial in 2019, less than 1% of mobile phone connections in Sub-Saharan Africa are on 5G, and this number is not expected to grow this year but is likely to reach 7% in 2026.
- The mobile router is available on preorder for ₦50,000 ($100).
- The states with access to the service are Anambra, Borno, Delta, Edo, Imo, Kano, Lagos, Rivers, Oyo and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
- Not all mobile phones/devices can easily access the 5G network. The mobile phones compatible for the service include Huawei and Xiaomi. For iPhone users, it would take 2-3 months for an upgrade while Samsung would take 4-6 weeks before it can fully be functional.
According to content creator and product reviewer, Fisayo Fosudo, the question, “Is Nigeria ready for 5G?” becomes a thing of concern. This is as a result of a series of complaints by network users in regards to poor network services by network providers.
Although the 5G network carries a long list of benefits for the digital economy of Nigeria; this includes a projected 70% internet penetration by 2025, there are a few questions which needs answers in regards the efficacy, strength and longevity of the network.