By G9ija

Despite the hue and cry against the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said only the Federal Government has the final say on the matter, even as Nigeria is not expected to play catch-up with other countries in the areas of technology advancement.x

The Commission explained that currently, there is an industry-wide consultation on the 5G technology, especially regarding the various myths and controversies surrounding it.

The Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, disclosed this yesterday when he led the Commission’s media team to Rutam House, headquarters of Newspapers on a familiarisation visit.

Adinde said the Commission has not concluded plans for the deployment of the 5G network, adding that the Draft Consultation Document for the 5G of deployment in Nigeria has been produced and uploaded on the NCC’s official website.

He explained that this document defines the implementation plan for the deployment of 5G in Nigeria, adding: “it provides a background into the benefits of 5G technology and outlines the Commission’s plans and strategies for a successful implementation of 5G in Nigeria. It presents guidelines for the relevant areas of the technology and the expectations of the Commission from the operators. This Plan takes into account the expectations of all the stakeholders in the communications industry in Nigeria.”

According to him, 5G trials were held in selected locations within the country in collaboration with an operator in 2019, too, among others, study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present.

Adinde said the Commission also has an ongoing engagement with the academia, while also funding 5G-related researches, to ensure the nation is provided with the best in terms of findings and policy input, to drive the implementation and deployment of the 5G technology.

“These engagements are targeted at enabling the development of robust policies, which will put Nigeria in the best place to contribute maximally to the digital economy drive. The specific targets of these engagements include the development of policies with the potential of accelerating the deployment of 5G networks in Nigeria; maximizing the productivity and efficiency benefits of 5G, creating new opportunities for Nigerian businesses at home and abroad, and encouraging in-country investment, and ensuring the operations of 5G networks are in conformity with international standards,” he stated.x

On broadband, Adinde revealed that the efforts of the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, have deepened penetration, as, within a space of five years, penetration rose from six to 43 per cent as of September.

He said efforts including the introduction of Infrastructure Companies (InfraCo); spectrum trading, spectrum re-farming, among others have been introduced by the Commission to ensure broadband is escalated even to the remotest part of the country.

Also, he noted that NCC’s efforts on Right of Way (RoW) are fast yielding fruits, as some state governors have complied with the N145/linear meter charges, while some have even made it free, to ensure that their states attract investments.

While calling for constructive criticism of the Commission’s activities, Adinde assured that the regulator is working to ensure that consumers get the benefits of telephony service, including impacting their experiences.

To enhance security, he said SIM registration is on-going and is being done in collaboration with the telecoms operators and the Nigeria Identity Management Commission (NIMC), which is expected to issue the National Identity Number (NIN) to subscribers to ensure that it is properly documented.