5G Services Underway In Nigeria… As NCC, NIGCOMSAT sign MoU On C-Spectrum

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L-R: Managing director, NIGCOMSAT, Dr Abimbola Alale and executive vice chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta signing the C-Spectrum MoU yesterday in Abuja.

Nigeria’s dream of deploying the fifth generation (5G) technology is soon to be realised with the sigining of a memorandum of understanding between the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigeria Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited.

Speaking at the ceremony yesterday in Abuja, the executive vice chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the MoU was aimed at facilitating the release of contiguous bandwidth in one of the most suitable frequency spectrum band(s) for early deployment of 5G services in the Nigerian market.

According to him, the C-band (3.4GHz – 3.9GHz) stands out amongst all the other frequency spectrum bands allocated to 5G 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 per cent 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,” he said.
The NCC boss pointed out that two agencies had been in discussions on how to relocate the operations of NG-1R to the standard C-band 300MHz (3.9GHz – 4.2GHz) portion of the band, which is more suitable in terms of satellite service offering because end user terminals are cheaper, adding the cost of relocating the NG-1R is expected to be offset from the proceeds of the auction of the 5G Spectrum.

In his remarks, the chairman, NCC Board of Commissioners, Prof. Adeolu Akande, said 5G would bring substantial network improvements in the networks in use including higher connection speeds, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.
According to him, “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.

“In doing so, it enables new use cases and applications that will positively impact different sectors and improve efforts towards achieving digital economies. It does not only offer enhanced broadband and ultra-low, ultra-reliable latency communications but also provide massive machine type communications, where a lot of devices will seamlessly connect and independently interact with the internet without human intervention, thus, enabling several Smart City initiatives.”

Earlier, the managing director of NIGCOMSAT, Dr. Abimbola Alale, thanked all the critical stakeholders who facilitated the signing of the MoU, pointing out that 5G technology provides the platform for new and emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data to improve the way we live and work.

Oluchi Okorafor
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