Glo, MTN, other 5G network not possible in 6 years — Experts


By Bukola Olanrewaju

Experts in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector have  declared that achievement of 5G network is not possible  in six years by  telecommunication operators. However,, they agree that full switch over to 5G network will be possible by 2025.

This is against earlier belief and position of switch over set soonest.

Recall that in quick succession, the trio of Glo, MTN, and Etisalat, now 9Mobile, rolled out the wireless communications standard designed to provide up to 10 times the speed of 3G networks for mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, notebooks and wireless hotspots in October 2016.

In a chat with Nigerian NewsDirect, the President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola stated that 5G is not feasible in Nigeria right now, but in 2025, it might become prevalent.

“Right now, we have 3G and 4G rolled out in mega cities and the roll out of 4G will continue to ensure the increase in broadband penetration from its current 32per cent to 70per cent in the next five years.

“4G is the chosen technology to enable the increase in broadband to happen at the required speed to make a difference in the lives of each Nigerian citizen.

“2G is equivalent because most rural areas in the country has been connected with voice network and voice only need 2G.

“There will be a decision in the next 5 years if 2G will co-exist with 3G and 4G or will be phased out.

“5G as a concept and as the latest generation of mobile technology will be prevalent and ubiquitous in Nigeria from 2025 not anything before that.

“Even though Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is looking at chosen and preparing the spectrum to be used for 5G, there will be no time to roll it out unto 2025.

“5G might be tested in Nigeria in 2020 or 2021 even though in some part of the continent, operators are already testing out 5G network”, he said.

Speaking on the difference in the download speed (Mbps) rate in Nigeria as against the global average download speed with , Teniola noted that the commercial viability of the network is at place.

“There is no point rolling out a very high speed network in areas where people are not using it. Demand for certain speed need to be gauged.

“It solely depends on the consumers’ demand, the type of application and services they want.

“The difference also depends on how far the user is from the technology signal.

“Technology like 4G and 5G can give very high speed close to what one expect from optic fibre but it can only work if there is a backbone network to carry this capacity.

“In some states in Nigeria, we still need a lot of fibre to be rolled out to maximize the 5G speed spoken of now.

“More so, we have to have users that can actually utilised the sophisticated applications that we will rise

“What we are looking for is a digital strategy for Nigeria. How are effectively going to use 4G and 5G going forward. What type of e-commerce and businesses will be created on this platform are questions to be asked”, Teniola explained.

The Chief Executive Officer, (IXPN), Mohammad Rudman agreed with Teniola on this in a telephone conversation with Nigerian NewsDirect.

According to him, it will take for Nigeria to roll out 5G because we are yet to fully deploy 4G.

“Some reasons can be attributed to affordability; how many users can afford the cost.

However, Rudman noted it’s possible for  5G to be rolled out in not too long future.

He explained that for marketing purposes the big telcos can roll out 5G, even though the coverage might just be one per cent.

Rudman pointed the example of rolling out 4G when most of the places in the country are laid with 2G.

Furthermore, he posited that the difference in the download speed can be based on the fact that most countries still maintain the wired line infrastructure similar to what NITEL had.

“Our population has to be noted too.

Rudman called for the localization of content.

“We’ve done a lot, but more needs to be done because internet is expensive. Internet Exchange point has achieved 30-40% localization of internet but more needs to be done”, Rudman said.

The 4G is the fourth generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology, succeeding the 3G. Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, and 3D television.

Investigations also showed that consumers are currently not satisfied with these services stating that “operators needs to do more to convince subscribers that they were offering 4GLTE services”and have therefore called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to quickly act accordingly.