Plans have been initiated by the Federal Government of Nigeria to deploy fifth generation (5G) technology network across the country.
5G mobile technology which is an improvement on the current 4G technology, is already in deployed in some countries like China, Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand.
Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Garba Danbatta, on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat) at the headquarters of the commission in Abuja. It was on the use of C-band spectrum for 5G services in Nigeria.
According to Danbatta, the C-band is the most suitable frequency spectrum band for the deployment of 5G network.
The Vice Chairman said the commission initiated negotiation with NigComSat in making some adjustment to its satellite operation to release part of its spectrum holding in the band to facilitate the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.
His words: “Amongst the Frequency Spectrum bands allocated to 5G by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the C-band (3.4GHz – 3.9GHz) stands out because its balancing point between coverage and capacity provides the perfect environment for 5G connectivity.
“The C-band is most suitable and appropriate for immediate deployment of 5G services taking into consideration availability of device ecosystem with 60-70% of global commercial 5G network deployment currently in the band, thus the importance of this Spectrum for early deployment of 5G services in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized.
“For optimal 5G service performance, an average of contiguous 100 MHz of spectrum in the C-band is required by an operator. However in Nigeria, only 120 MHz of the band (3.4 – 3.52) GHz is available for mobile services while the remaining 680 MHz (3.52 – 4.2) GHz of the band is used by NigComSat (NG-1R) satellites.
“The two agencies have been in discussions on how to relocate the operations of NG-1R to the standard C-band 300MHz (3.9GHz – 4.2GHz) potion of the band, which is more suitable in terms of Satellite service offering because end user terminal are cheaper there, while leaving the non-standard C-band 400MHz (3.5GHz – 3.9GHz) portion of the band for 5G use.
“The cost of relocating the NG-1R is expected to be offset from the proceeds of the auction of the 5G Spectrum.”
In the same vein, NCC Board Chairman, Adeolu Akande, said 5G network has been deployed in several developed countries.
According to Akande, 5G does not only offer enhanced broadband and ultra-reliable latency communications but also provides massive machine type communications, where a lot of devices will seamlessly connect and independently interact with the internet without human intervention.
He said, “In recent times, precisely from the last quarter of 2019, several administrations have begun to license Spectrum for commercial deployment of 5G. Today, 5G services has already been deployed in United States of America, South Korea and many more countries.
“Telecommunication evolution from inception to date has led to improvement in user experience witnessed from 2G, 3G and later 4G. The global impact of 4G brought about increases in mobile usage and network performance.
“5G will build on this momentum, bringing substantial network improvements, including higher connection speeds, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.
“Spectrum plays a critical role in realising the full extent of these new capabilities. Thus, 5G’s full socio-economic impact is dependent on access to a variety of spectrum resources.”
Reacting, Managing Director of NigComSat, Abimbola Alale, said the MoU would change the narratives of digital and telecommunications industry in the country.
Earlier, several controversies had trailed efforts to deploy 5G network in the country.