The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has urged stakeholders of the telecommunications industry to collaborate for effective deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) technology in the country.
Pantami said this in his keynote address on ‘Deploying 5G Networks in Nigeria: The Critical Role of Stakeholders‘ at the Stakeholders Engagement Forum on the Draft Information Memorandum on auction of 3.5Ghz Spectrum Band on Thursday in Lagos.
Pantami who was represented by Engr. Abubakar Ladan, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, said the collaboration would harness the social and economic benefits the network.
The event was orgainsed by the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) in conjunction with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
The minister said, among other mandates, the policy stipulated collaboration with relevant stakeholders and provision of the required spectrum and enabling environment to ensure the full deployment of 5G.
According to him, this will also serve as a catalyst for the successful implementation of the country’s National Digital Economy Development and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria.
‘’0n the implementation of the policy, NCC under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, is saddled with the responsibility of developing strategies, standards, guidelines and frameworks for the deployment of the 5G networks nationwide.
‘’Accordingly, to ensure a coordinated approach, the Commission has been directed to not only collaborate with relevant agencies under the Ministry, but with all other relevant stakeholders in order to achieve the aims and objectives of the policy.
‘’Further to the above, the policy is designed and formulated to achieve many other goals, a few amongst which are: ensure effective deployment of 5G to cover major urban areas by 2025,” he said.
He noted that this would not be achieved without the collaboration of all the stakeholders.
According to him, other achievements include ensuring the security of the 5G ecosystem and the protection of data; ensuring that international best practices and globally accepted standards and specifications are entrenched in Nigeria’s 5G ecosystem; among others.
He said transparency and accountability in the sale of the 3.5GHz Spectrum Band allocated for deployment of 5G network in Nigeria, the Federal Government thought it wise to involve relevant stakeholders.
He added that the purpose of the gathering was, therefore, to discuss the Information Memorandum on the auction of the 3.5GHz Spectrum Band.
‘’I, therefore, urge you participants to use your time, energy and expertise and accord this national assignment the attention it deserves.
‘’Your service is for the advancement of our national interest and for the benefit of the generations yet unborn,” said Pantami.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr Umar Danbatta, said as a world class communications regulatory agency, the action of the NCC must include inputs from all stakeholders in the industry.
He said there was need for active participation in the deliberations that would follow the licensing of the 3.5GHz Spectrum Band for the deployment of 5G services, amongst others in Nigeria.
He said the Nigerian Communications market was one of the biggest in Africa and was also the largest contributor to the Information and Communications Technology sector of the Nigerian economy.
“Nigeria has an estimated population of 214 million, with an average growth rate of 2.6 per cent annually, approximately 76.46 per cent of the population is under the age of 35.
‘’In line with these demographic changes, internet penetration grew from 3 per cent in 2004 to 73.82 per cent as at September 2021, and broadband penetration increased from less than 10 per cent in 2015 to 40.01 per cent in September 2021,” he said.
According to him, arising from the significant growth of broadband penetration in Nigeria, which stands at 40.01 per cent as at September 2021, it has become imperative to evolve to the next phase of global development of the sector.
Danbatta said the 5G technology would bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.
He added that in doing so, it enabled novel use cases and applications that would positively impact on different sectors of the economy and improve efforts towards achieving the Digital Economy objectives of the Federal Government.
He said the 5G technology did not only offer enhanced broadband and ultra-reliable low latency communications, it also provided massive machine type communications.
He said lots of devices would seamlessly connect and interact independently with the Internet without human intervention thus, enabling the Smart City Initiatives and making Broadband Use Cases a reality. (NAN)