Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC

5G Deployment: NCC intensifying training, stakeholder engagement and collaborations ─Danbatta

*The Nigerian Communications Commission reels off updates on the telecoms regulatory Commission’s preparedness for the Fifth Generation (5G) technology rollout towards consolidating the gains of 2G, 3G and 4G, while maximising 5G networks to improve connectivity for socio-economic benefits of consumers

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As the timeline for the rollout of the Fifth Genertion (5G) networks in Nigeria approaches, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has stated that training programmes are ongoing just as the telecoms regulator noted it is expanding the spectrum of beneficiaries, especially engineers, and others who will extend knowledge to others for an effective launch of the digital technology in the country.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said: “We are emphasising enhanced Broadband both in the wholesale and retail segments; we will also continue to sensitise people about the usefulness of 5G.

“And we will continue with existing collaborations with sub-regional, continental and global partners to ensure we deploy 5G with effectiveness.”

READ ALSO 5G Tech: Updated AOL, Spectrum Pricing Regulations To Boost Telecoms Market, Enhance Competition ─NCC

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs of NCC, in a statement issued in Abuja, FCT, said the NCC Chief Executive noted this development in respect of the Commission’s level of preparedness for imminent 5G deployment in Nigeria Monday, November 22, 2021, while responding to questions during a high-profile and captivating webinar, titled: “Unlocking 5G Potential in Africa”, held on StreamYard, a live streaming studio.

The Commission stated that Qualcomm and Forum Global jointly organised the webinar under the auspices of “Tech Policy Talks”, instituted to power technology policy debates in the European Union (EU).

RELATED: NCC Holds Stakeholder Engagement Forum On 5G Spectrum Auction in Lagos

Qualcomm, a creator of software and owner of patents central to 4G and 5G usability, is a US multinational corporation, while Forum Global is the international arm of Forum Europe which specialises in the organisation of policy-focused conferences on a global scale.

Multisectoral nature of 5G applications

Prof. Danbatta said the Nigerian telecom regulatory authority previously, had made a remarkable presentation that captured the multisectoral nature of 5G applications, indicating that the technology transcends the telecoms and ICT sector to embrace every facet of human life.

The EVC/CEO provoked a debate that demonstrated Nigeria’s readiness to deploy 5G, and by so doing emphasised the centrality of multistakeholder nature of the emerging conversations around the technology that have triggered great enthusiasm, said the NCC.

RELATED: NCC’s Policy Engagement With Stakeholders For Quality Consumer Experience, Says Danbatta

Danbatta, at the forum, informed the audience that Nigeria has enjoyed collaborating with the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA), Africa Telecommunications Union (ATU) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the global superintendent of telecommunications.

According to the Commission’s EVC/CEO, the country has continued to receive visitations by countries who wished to benchmark NCC’s operations.

Social and economic benefits of 5G networks

Likewise, Prof. Danbatta noted that Nigeria has visited other countries to explore how 5G and associated technologies can be deployed effectively, stressing that 5G-related technologies are not just valuable, they are so significant due to their derivable social and economic benefits.

Danbatta further explained how to unlock the potential of 5G, using a triangulated framework pivoted on Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Massive Machine Type Communication, and Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications.

RELATED: NCC Urges Stakeholders To Activate Digital Economy For Diversification, Transformation

The Commission said he also disclosed to the enlightened audience that the above scenarios would find expressions in gigabytes in a second, robust voice and real-time digital social mediation, massive Internet of Things (IoT) like smart city and smart homes (connectedness of appliances and home security).

Other areas, Danbatta stated, are pervasive 3D videos and Ultra High Definition screens, augmented reality, self-driving cars, industry automation, high-speed trains, lifeline and ultra-reliable communications in telemedicine and natural disasters that will deliver successful services using critical applications.

The EVC/CEO as well said NCC’s efforts at readiness for 5G deployment consist of dedicated follow up on the industry trends on the recently harmonised spectrum from World Radio Conference -19; clearing of relevant Spectrum bands identified for 5G, for instance the 3.5GHz; identified spectrum for 5G in line with global trends; development of 5G deployment plan.

NCC’s activating draft Information Memorandum for 3.5GHz spectrum auction

Danbatta also recalled the development and presentation of a draft Information Memorandum (IM) for the 3.5GHz auction, and constitution of a committee to auction 3.5GHz mid band spectrum in Nigeria.

RELATED: Nigerian Government Tasks NCC On Speedy, Effective Implementation Of 5G Technology

Accoding to Danbatta, other initiatives of NCC include licensing of Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to deploy Metro and Intercity fiber with at least a point of presence in each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country, besides opening up of Microwave and Millimeter wave, for instance, the 60GHz V-band, 70/80GHz E-band, 38GHz, and 42GHz, among others.

He outlined other additional measures in the ‘enthralling’ discussion to include re-planning and re-channelisation of spectrum bands to keep abreast of industry changes in terms of data requirements; and the development of guidelines for spectrum trading, Television White Space (TVWS) and commercial satellite communication.

“We have been working with the Federal Government to convince States of the federation to accept harmonised Right of Way charges of N145 per linear meter.

“We are talking to relevant government agencies to facilitate site acquisition, and we are conducting studies on socioeconomic impact of 5G in Nigeria.”

READ ALSO: 5G Deployment In Nigeria Is In Line With Global Innovation Curve ─Buhari

Danbatta further emphasised that the NCC “is irrevocably committed to technology neutrality, even as the Commission has developed guidelines for infrastructure sharing (colocation), and continued to encourage capacity development, including participation of staff at ITU Radiocommunications (ITU-R) Study Groups, and at other international fora.”

All these as well as balanced spectrum cost (not too high and not too low), and deeper collaboration of governments, regulators and operators, will ensure that Nigeria, nay Africa, is able to consolidate the gains of 2G, 3G and 4G, and ensure that 5G improves connectivity in a measurable and remarkable manner.

Other members of the panel specially constituted for the webinar include Her Excellency Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation, Republic of Rwanda; Daniel Obam, Moderator of the sessions and Chairman ITU Radiocommunication Advisory Group; and Lacina Kone, Director-General/CEO, Smart Africa.

Others are Nkateko Nyoka, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Vodacom, South Africa; John Omo, Secretary General, African Telecommunications Union; Elizabeth Migwalla, Vice President International Government Affairs at Qualcomm; and Kezias Mwale, Coordinator for Radiocommunication Affairs at ATU, the Commission stated.

Dr. Adinde also noted that the next ‘Tech Policy Talks’ is scheduled to take place December 13, 2021.

The NCC stated that the forum is focused on “Technology and Education: The Right Digital Tools at the Right Time”, and it will feature another set of policymakers and multisectoral stakeholders in the African digital culture sector.

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