May 27, 2024
Work of the Committee, a major step towards the realization of 5G services in Nigeria — NCC
– By Alison_Godswill

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Work of the Committee, a major step towards the realization of 5G services in Nigeria — NCC

By Eyo Nsima                                                                                                                             

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has stressed that the work of the 18-member committee to develop the Information Memorandum (IM) for the auction of 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum band will culminate in the realization of 5G services in Nigeria.

While expressing delight at the current stage of the 5G deployment process in Nigeria, especially with respect to established mutual understanding among stakeholders that 5G service poses neither security nor health risk to users, Danbatta said the outcome of the work of the Committee is a major step towards the realization of 5G services in Nigeria.

According to him, the NCC, in line with its mandate, has committed enormous resources to ensure harmonized spectrum is secured and released in a timely manner for present and future deployment of services that will underpin the fourth industrial revolution, including International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT-2020) services.

This, according to him, is in recognition of relevant provisions of the Nigerian Communication Act (NCA-2003) and its strategic plan for effective communications resource management, facilitating broadband penetration, and improving Quality of Service (QoS) amongst others.

Speaking further, the EVC said the Commission had ensured the participation of relevant staff in international fora, especially in the International Telecommunication Union Radio Telecommunication Sector (ITU-R) study groups, to enable the allocation of strategic Spectrum to IMT services, especially IMT 2020, which, he said, has been in the front burner in the last two ITU-R study cycles towards World Radio Communication Conference (WRC-15 & WRC-19).

“Arising from these efforts, which include engagements with relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations during preparatory meetings at National, Regional and Continental level, we have been able to secure harmonized frequencies for 5G deployment in Nigeria,” he said.

He, however, stated where NCC desired premium spectrum like the 3.5GHz with good propagation characteristics suitable for capacity and coverage with good device ecosystem but did not have sufficient allocation, “we put in extra efforts and secured additional 160MHz in the 3.5GHz band by making the huge commitment of resources to secure additional Spectrum from Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NigComSat),” culminating in a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NCC and NigComSat.

“Having put in these efforts and resources to secure, amongst others, contiguous Spectrum in a premium brand like the 3.5GHz band that is being adopted as the best Spectrum for early deployment of 5G with about 70 percent of 5G global deployment so far, it has become imperative to immediately re-purpose the 3.5GHz band in Nigeria for auction in accordance with best practices.

“In view of this, Danbatta said NCC Management deemed it necessary to constitute the committee with clear ToRs, adding that the committee members are expected to demonstrate the strong commitment required to carry out these tasks and in a timely manner,” he said.

Meanwhile, Danbatta stated that even though some successful auctions have been conducted by the Commission in the past, “extra effort is required of us to ensure the success of this particular exercise since the 5G technology is just being adopted around the globe.”

The EVC tasked the committee to consider benchmarking its activities against other countries where 5G has been successfully deployed through the successful auction of relevant spectrum bands like 3.5GHz.
In his remarks, Asaju as the Chairman of the Committee amplified the EVC’s voice on the MoU with NigComSat. Asaju stated that the Commission had, in line with the NCA- 2003, filled a request for bulk allocation of 380 MHz bandwidth (3.52 – 3.9) GHz in the 3.5 GHz band from the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC).

While assuring the EVC of the Committee’s readiness to deliver on its ToR, Asaju said the outcome of the actions will, no doubt, form the basis and put NCC on the right pedestal for 5G deployment in Nigeria.

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