Nigerian Telecom Regulator Has Not Issued 5G Licences To Telcos-Prof. Danbatta


By Celestine Okorie

Telecommunications sector regulator, the Nigerian Communication Commission(NCC),  has distanced itself from misleading information that has gone viral on social media namely Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites that the Nigerian telecoms industry is going to switch on Fifth Generation (5G) in Lagos, south west, of the country, from Sunday  May 10, through Tuesday May 12, 2020, saying nothing can be far from the truth. The Commission subsequently poured cold water on the claims ostensibly emanating from some anonymous individuals or groups.

A statement from the Commission, authored by the Director of Public Affairs(DPA), at the NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, says the statement from the faceless individuals or groups cannot be further from the truth adding the Commission has unequivocally stated that there is no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment. 

The NCC back in November 2019 approved trial test for 5G for a period of three (3) months and the trial has been concluded and installation decommissioned. 

The statement credited the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer(EVC/CEO) at the  NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta as saying that ‘’the trial among others was to study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present. Relevant stakeholders including members of the security agencies were invited to participate during the trial.’’

“NCC has not issued any licence for 5G in Nigeria and therefore, the mobile network operators (MNOs) cannot switch on such technology. NCC is technology-neutral. As such, we don’t license technology but assigns spectrum to operators for deployment of any service when allocated by National Frequency Management Council (NFMC),” Danbatta said.

‘’As the telecoms regulator, we enjoin Nigerians to get accurate information from us rather than relying on information emanating on social media by some individuals out of ignorance to misinform our people,” added Danbatta.

Nkemadu maintained that the NCC would continue to maintain its policy of technology neutrality and continue to encourage service providers to deploy the best technology that would meet the needs of the society in a secured and friendly manner.

According to the DPA at the NCC, the NCC had provided clarifications through Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)on 5G in view of the recent developments in which misleading materials with no proven evidence were being circulated to link CORONAVIRUS or COVID-19 with 5G technology and therefore refuted the claim that there would be switching on of 5G in Lagos in its entirety. 

The Commission also provided clarifications on the laying of fibre optic cables within Lagos and other parts of the country to the effect that the laying of additional fibre optic cables was to strengthen the existing 3G and 4G infrastructure to provide robust and pervasive telecoms infrastructure to improve network performance. 

5G is a fifth generation of mobile technology, which is an improvement of today’s 4G technology with enhanced capabilities. 5G technology provides the platform for new and emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data to improve the way humans  live and work.

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