5G Deployment:  FG Approves Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, Migration Of C-Band Services  

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Isa Pantami
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved an Enterprise Licensing Agreement for Microsoft Products and the clearing up of C-band spectrum, to accelerate the deployment of 5G services in the country. 

This approval was given during the meeting of the council yesterday (May 29, 2022) after the presentation of three memos by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami.

The government-wide Enterprise Licensing Agreement for Microsoft products is a software acquisition cost-reduction strategy for the government and it will be implemented by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMC&DE).  This agreement is part of the Federal Government’s efforts toward keeping the cost of IT projects within sustainable levels.

The agreement will give the government access to discounted prices and other cost benefits, as well as reduce project duplication across federal public institutions (FPIs).  Also, it will guarantee proper technical support for Microsoft products and services, ensuring protection against cybersecurity threats which will guarantee the availability and reliability of government IT services. 

A statement by the minister’s technical assistant on research and development, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, said the Enterprise Licensing Agreement will provide a projected savings of a minimum of 35 per cent of the government’s current investment in Microsoft’s products and services.

According to the statement, this will not only substantially reduce the cost of license procurement for FPIs, it will reduce and simplify licensing complexity, facilitate accounting and cash flow predictability and monitor utilisation and impact of government investment. The council directed all FPIs to key into the agreement for the procurement of Microsoft licenses and services.

The statement added that FEC also approved the request of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to clear part of the C-band spectrum within the country’s telecommunications industry of any encumbrances and migrate the current users towards the successful roll-out/deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria.

“Furthermore, with seven-and-a half years before the end of the lifetime of NigComSat-1R satellite operated by Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) which currently operates C-Band services on the 3.4 – 3.9GHz spectrum range, NCC and NIGCOMSAT have agreed to relocate/migrate the operations of NigComSat-1R C Band service to another frequency (Standard C Band) and release its current frequency for immediate deployment of 5G in the country. 

“The approved memos will accelerate the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), especially the pillars on solid infrastructure (broadband) and service infrastructure (platforms). The ministry will continue to promote initiatives that will transform Nigeria into a country with a sustainable and thriving digital economy,” it added.

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