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Telecoms: NCC advocates robust risk management for seamless tech integration

Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of NCC

*Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, at a recent telecoms risk management conference, in Lagos, offers insights into application of proactive measures before the introduction of 6G  networks for seamless technology integration towards building a resilient telecoms industry

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has expressed its commitment to collaborations with other industry stakeholders to address potential risks in the country’s telecoms ecosystem in view of the emerging technologies and trends.

Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, disclosed this at a two-day Telecoms Industry Risk Management Conference, held in Lagos recently.

The EVC/CEO, represented by Engr. Ubale Maska, immediate past Executive Commissioner, Technical Services at NCC, at the event with the critical theme, “Evolution and Future Risk Management in the Telecoms Industry: Harnessing Emerging Technologies and Trends”.

Maida opined that risks, such as expanded attack surfaces, advanced cyberattacks, data breaches, and an increased sophistication of cyberthreats would come with emerging technologies like 6G.

Maida also stressed the telecoms sector regulatory Commission’s commitment to fostering an environment that encourages innovation while prioritising the security and stability of Nigeria’s telecoms infrastructure.

The EVC/CEO stated: “As we navigate through 5G and the uncharted territory of the next generations of wireless technologies, collaborative efforts among regulators, industry players, and other stakeholders become even more crucial for sharing best practices, threat intelligence, resources  and implementing robust risk management strategies.”

He equally urged the stakeholders move beyond “mere compliance and reactive measures”.

Maida said instead, they should harness the power of these new technologies and trends to build a resilient and future-proof industry.

The NCC Chief further emphasised that implementing proactive measures before the introduction of 6G was crucial for ensuring seamless technology integration.

Significance of robust risk management by industry stakeholders: EVC/CEO

Maida also underlined the increasing importance of robust risk management practices in order to navigate this dynamic environment of new technologies and trends in the ecosystem.

“Today, we stand at the crossroads of tradition and transformation, where emerging technologies and trends present both unprecedented opportunities and challenges.

“While we discuss the current landscape of 5G networks, which boast of wider attack surface due to the increased number of connected devices and denser network infrastructure, it is imperative to even cast our gaze into the future.

“We are witnessing the dawn of 6G technology, the next frontier in wireless communication,” Maida said.

In regard to the promises of even faster speeds, lower latency, and groundbreaking applications, the NCC Executive Vice-Chairman noted that 6G has the potential to revolutionise the way people experience connectivity.

According to him, emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) should be leveraged to generate data-driven insights needed to predict, detect, and respond to risks in real-time.

Maida as well urged the stakeholders to vigilantly monitor evolving threats and vulnerabilities, urging continuous refinement of incident response processes to fortify the resilience of the telecoms industry.

He noted as 5G offers theoretical speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, 6G is expected to be 100 times faster than 5G.

Risk management practices remain a collective responsibility

As Nigeria joins the league of countries already adopting some of these new techs, the EVC/CEO of NCC averred the stakeholders can build a shared understanding of emerging risks and develop comprehensive mitigation strategies.

He also said in his address: “Building a culture of risk awareness is paramount.

“As an industry, we must empower our people with the knowledge and skills to proactively identify and report risks and embed security awareness and risk management practices throughout our business processes.”

Maida explained the emerging technologies, such as AI, should be leveraged to generate data-driven insights needed to predict, detect, and respond to risks in real-time.

“We should also monitor evolving threats and vulnerabilities on a continuous basis and streamline incidence response processes to build a resilient telecoms industry,” Maida stated.

He assured: “Together, we can build a shared understanding of emerging risks and develop comprehensive mitigation strategies.”

It is recalled that 5G telecoms services have been rolled out in some major cities in the West African country, including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri, and Maiduguri.

MTN Nigeria was the first to launch commercial 5G activities September 2022, followed by Mafab Communications Limited and Airtel Nigeria Networks January and June 2023, respectively.

However, the adoption of 5G in Nigeria remains low, according to reports.

Likewise, the high cost of equipment, routers, android devices, as well as poor infrastructure, have constituted major barriers to widespread adoption in the telecoms ecosystem.

Despite these challenges, the Nigerian Government has announced a national 5G policy for network deployment, as part of efforts at ensuring effective deployment of 5G networks in major urban areas by 2025.

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