Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has listed some challenges that raise concerns for the deployment of the fifth-generation (5G) network in the country.
Umar Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice-chairman, who expressed these concerns at a recent media capacity-building workshop organised in partnership with TheCable, said the bottlenecks include inflation, unfavourable exchange rate, right of way issues and unreliable electricity.
Represented by Anthony Ikemefuna, head of wireless networks, NCC, the EVC however highlighted benefits of the 5G network to include unique latency, improved transparency in governance, increase in GDP, job creation, among others.
According to him, “1Gbps capacity from traditional microwaves cannot meet the 20Gbps demand of 5G, we need to step up into the e-Band spectrum/fiberisation of base stations.
“Some people write to us every day, begging us to establish base stations (in) their area, while some people are writing to say it should be taken away.
“Another challenge is that of inflation because you know inflation has a way of dragging cost up. When we’re talking about 5G, we’re talking about a new radio base station. So, the point is we’re going to spend a lot of money. We don’t manufacture those things here. We’ll have to import them and inflation isn’t helping matters. A dollar is about N570 now and that’s not good at all.
“And, of course, every device that will be coming into Nigeria has to be type-approved. So, you can imagine the type of work that NCC will have to go through to type-approve different types of devices that will be shipped into the country as a result of 5G.
“Also, there has to be reliable energy. Virtually every base station in Nigeria today has a generator. Our power system has to be more reliable.”
Meanwhile, the problems highlighted by the commission are not peculiar to 5G deployment, they are age-long bottlenecks affecting the telecoms sector in Nigeria, some of which are being addressed by the authorities.
Against all odds however, the telecoms regulator on Friday successfully carried out mock digital and manual auction of the 3.5 gigahertz spectrum for the commercial roll out of 5G technology in Nigeria.
The software-based simulated auction exercise involved three operators, namely Mafab Communications Ltd, and Airtel Networks Ltd, which are the qualified candidates for the actual auction slated for Monday December 13, 2021 in Abuja.