Ahead of the anticipated 2022 rollout of the Fifth Generation (5G) network in Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has organised capacity-building workshops for media executives in the northern and southern divides of the country, as part of efforts to support their continuous professional development critical stakeholders in the telecommunications industry.
The workshops, which took place in Kano and Lagos recently with the theme: “5G Deployment and the Next Level of Nigeria’s Development,” provided an avenue for media stakeholders to have better knowledge and understanding of the potentials of the new technology.
The workshops, in turn, are expected to position the journalists to be able to accurately report issues around 5G, through explanatory, incisive, analytical and evidence-based reportage, while also being able to clarify misconceptions and misinformation on the new technology.
Through the workshops, the commission believes the journalists will be able to focus on how 5G will impact different sectors of the economy, including agriculture, e-commerce, e-banking, information and communication technology (ICT), education, healthcare, tourism and hospitality, security, entertainment and other aspects of digital Nigeria.
Speaking at both workshops, the executive vice-chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, in his opening address, said the theme of the workshops was most apt at a time when the commission is on full throttle to drive the implementation of 5G deployment in the country, following the approval of the Federal Government on September 8, 2021.
Delivering his address at the Kano and Lagos workshops through the director, public affairs, NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde and the head, online media, NCC, Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, respectively, Danbatta said the workshops were organised to equip the media stakeholders with greater insights and knowledge around 5G to improve their overall understanding of the new technology, its usage, opportunities and the benefits it offers for the overall development of Nigeria’s socio-economic life.
“As we progress in our journey of 5G deployment, the media has a critical role in the process by ensuring proper and adequate reportage of the programmes and activities of the commission as it unfolds the 5G deployment plan of the Federal Government,” he said in his opening address.
The EVC said Nigeria’s promising 5G Plan has the objectives of ensuring efficient assignment of spectrum for 5G deployment, creating an enabling environment for investment in the telecom industry, ensuring effective deployment of 5G to cover major urban cities by 2025, among others.
“In line with the objectives of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2025 for a digital Nigeria, and the positioning of Nigeria as an early adopter of digital technology in the growing global digital economy, the successful and timely deployment of 5G is crucial and it is expected that the roll-out of the 5G will be carried out in phases beginning with major cities in the country, where there is need for high-quality broadband,” Danbatta said.
The commission also made technical presentations to journalists at the workshops focusing on how the commission is setting the stage for the 5G journey, in terms of requirements, deployment, use cases and possible challenges which it is working with relevant stakeholders to tackle for effective implementation of 5G deployment plan for Nigeria.
While NCC’s director, technical standard and network integrity, Bako Wakil, made the technical presentation to media stakeholders at the Kano workshop, the NCC’s head, fixed network and converged services, Tony Ikemefuna, handled the delivery of the presentation at the Lagos workshop.
A statement by the commission’s director, public affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, said during the technical sessions in Kano and Lagos media stakeholders were adequately informed on 5G characteristics such as enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-reliable low latency and speed, explaining to them that 5G will facilitate several emerging technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine communication, among others.
The media professionals also used the opportunity to ask various questions and clarify conflicting issues bordering on security and health implications of 5G deployment.