PIAFo: Pantami, Danbatta Lead Industry Experts To Chart Way For 5G Rollout


By Kingsley I. Ilechukwu, Senior Correspondent Lagos

Stakeholders across Digital Economy sector, including Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami  and Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer(EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications (NCC),  Professor Umar Garba Danbatta have charted way forward to see the fifth generation Network (5G) successfully deployed in Nigeria.

Converged by Business Metrics Nigeria at the second edition of Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PAIFo) dedicated to Nigeria’s national policy on 5G, held on Thursday, the industry experts dissected the policy in relation to the theme of the forum: Ascertaining Full Readiness to make 5G Work in Nigeria.

Delivering  a keynote  at the forum,  Prof. Danbatta identified three stakeholders critical to ascertaining readiness in the telecommunications industry, especially as it related to the uptake of anything new such as emerging IMT technologies like 5G (IMT 2020).

According to him, these stakeholders included Government (Policymakers), National Regulatory Authorities (Regulators), and the Network Operators.

Danbatta said: “These stakeholders must ensure the provision of robust government policies, excellent regulatory and operational efficiency as well as optimum network performance.”

The NCC boss, who was represented by Principal Manager, Spectrum Administration Department of the NCC  Joseph Emeshili further reiterated that to achieve success in the uptake of any technology within any administration, Governments were required to put in place excellent policies that would foster development and provide adequate room for innovation.

 “As policymakers, the government should foster a pro-investment and pro-innovation environment, it should also consider to undertake its own independent economic assessment of the commercial viability of deploying new technologies (such as 5G in this case) networks with a view to providing a clear regulatory path and to enable all relevant stakeholders including the network operators to make informed decisions,” he said.

The NCC EVC/CEO  further explained that as a regulator, the commission had been at the forefront of formulating policies that would always enable emerging technologies such as 5G to thrive.

In his remarks, Prof. Pantami said the 5G policy captured all the necessary information guiding the processes for the deployment of the technology in Nigeria.

Pantami, who was represented by Head of Spectrum Administration Department of the NCC, Abraham Oshadami noted that the 5G policy document aligns with other policies of government and will support their Implementation.

“Some of these policies include the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for Digital Nigeria, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020-2025) and the National policy for the promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigeria Telecommunications sector,” he said.

The National policy on 5G Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy addresses the provision of the required Spectrum and enabling environment for 5G deployment, he added.

“In summary, the 5G policy is designed to ensure effective deployment of 5G to cover major urban areas by 2025; ensure security of 5G  Ecosystem and the protection of data; ensure that International best practices and globally accepted Standards and Specifications are entrenched Nigeria’s 5G ecosystem, and to ensure that the required Infrastructure needed for Successful  deployment of the network such as data centres, power, etc are catered for in the deployment  strategies of 5G Networks,” Pantami said.

Pantami further assured that his ministry and the NCC would ensure that the requisite strategies, standards, guidelines and frameworks for the successful deployment of the 5G networks across the country were in place.

He said the NCC had also been directed to collaborate with relevant Institutions and Stakeholders in order to achieve objectives of the National 5G policy.

“No wonder this gathering is a very important part of the process for actualizing the success of the policy,” he said.

Similarly, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi acquainted the forum with various 5G use cases in Nigeria with a view to spurring investment appetite for the 5G technology.

Represented by National Director of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), Yau Isa Garba, the NITDA DG delved deep into what the 5G technology is bringing to the table and its industry applications or use cases.

He explicitly explained that the 5G technology  would bring, among others,  harnessing the power of Internet of Things (IoT); broadband-like mobile services; connectivity for edge computing; unleashing Artificial Intelligence (AI); and Immersive Gaming and Virtual Reality.

In application, the NITDA DG said 5G would find massive usage in healthcare, agriculture, education, manufacturing to lead to the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), logistics, modernized mining; and oil and gas operations.

While the forum featured various presentations and panel discussions, the focus remained intact as experts from both private and public sectors meted out useful clues to help Nigeria build a sustainable 5G ecosystem.

Meanwhile,  the publisher and editor of Business Metrics Nigeria and Lead Executive of the Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFo) Omobayo  Azeez, stressed that the focus of the forum was to ensure that critical policies were brought to fruition through active dialogue and unrelenting evaluation.

 “We believe there are two critical elements of nation building; politics is one, and policy is the other. The latter is as indispensable as the former. In other for us to walk the talk of every policy, we should at least first understand what that talk is in its entirety. This is the strategic role PIAFo is designed for,” Azeez said.

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