NCC reinterates commitment to sensitize, collaborate on effectively deployment of 5G – Danbatta

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…Says Nigerians should expect gigabytes in a second, smart cities, self-driving cars, robust telemedicine

The Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO of Nigerian Commmunications Commission(NCC) has reinterated commitment to training, sensitization, collaboration on effective deployment of Fifth Generation Network(5G) in Nigeria.
According to him, “Trainings are ongoing and we are expanding the spectrum of beneficiaries, especially engineers and others who will extend knowledge to others; we are emphasising enhanced broadband both in the wholesale and retail segments; we will also continue to sensitize people about the usefulness of 5G; and we will continue with existing collaborations with sub-regional, continental and global partners to ensure we deploy 5G with effectiveness”.

Danbatta stated this, while responding to questions during a high profile and captivating webinar, titled: “Unlocking 5G Potential in Africa”, held on StreamYard, a live streaming studio on November 22, 2021.
The webinar was jointly organised by Qualcomm and Forum Global, under the auspices of TECH POLICY TALKS, instituted to power technology policy debates in the European Union.
Qualcomm, a creator of software and owner of patents central to 4G and 5G usability, is a US multinational corporation, while Forum Global is the international arm of Forum Europe which specialises in the organisation of policy-focused conferences on a global scale.

Danbatta, had earlier made a remarkable presentation that captured the multisectoral nature of 5G applications, indicating that the technology transcends the telecom and ICT sector to embrace every facet of human life. He provoked a debate that demonstrated Nigeria’s readiness to deploy 5G and by so doing emphasised the centrality of multistakeholder nature of the emerging conversations around the technology that have triggered great enthusiasm.

Danbatta informed the audience that Nigeria has enjoyed collaborating with the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA), the Africa Telecommunications Union (ATU), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the global superintendent of telecommunications.
The EVC indicated that Nigeria continued to receive visitations by countries who wished to benchmark their operations, just as Nigeria has also visited other countries to explore how 5G and associated technologies can be deployed effectively because 5G technologies are not just valuable, they are so significant due to their derivable social and economic benefits.

The EVC explicated how to unlock the potential of 5G, using a triangulated framework pivoted on Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Massive Machine Type Communication, and Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications. He told the enlightened audience that the above scenarios will find expressions in gigabytes in a second, robust voice and real-time digital social mediation, massive Internet of Things like smart city and smart homes (connectedness of appliances and home security), pervasive 3D videos and Ultra High Definition screens, augmented reality, self-driving cars, industry automation, high-speed trains, lifeline and ultra-reliable communications in telemedicine and natural disasters that will deliver successful services using critical applications.

Danbatta asserted that the NCC efforts in readiness for 5G deployment consist of dedicated follow up on the industry trends on the recently harmonized spectrum from World Radio Conference -19; clearing of relevant Spectrum bands identified for 5G, for instance the 3.5GHz; identified spectrum for 5G in line with global trends; development of 5G deployment plan. The EVC equally recalled the more recent development of a draft Information Memorandum for the 3.5GHz auction, and constitution of a committee to auction 3.5GHz mid band spectrum. Other constitutive initiatives of NCC includes licensing of Infrastructure Companies (INFRACOs) to deploy Metro and Intercity fiber with at least one point of presence in each of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria, as well as opening up of Microwave and Millimeter wave, for instance, the 60GHz V-band, 70/80GHz E-band, 38GHz, and 42GHz, among others.

Additional measures that were outlined by the EVC so perceptively in the enthralling discussion, include re-planning and re-channelization of spectrum bands to keep abreast with industry changes in terms of data requirements; and the development of guidelines for spectrum trading, Television White Space (TVWS) and commercial satellite communication.

Prof. Danbatta also declared: “We have been working with the Federal Government to convince States of the federation to accept harmonized right of way charges of N145 per linear meter, we are talking to relevant Government agencies to facilitate site acquisition, and we are conducting studies on socioeconomic impact of 5G in Nigeria”. He said that the NCC is irrevocably committed to technology neutrality, even as the Commission has developed guidelines for infrastructure sharing (colocation), and continued to encourage capacity development, including participation of staff at ITU Radiocommunications (ITU-R) Study Groups, and at other international fora”.

Conclusively, the EVC submitted that all these as well as balanced spectrum cost (not too high and not too low), and deeper collaboration of governments, regulators and operators, will ensure that Nigeria, nay Africa, is able to consolidate the gains of 2G, 3G and 4G, and ensure that 5G improves connectivity in measurable and remarkable manners.

Other members of the panel specially constituted for the webinar include Her Excellency Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation, Republic of Rwanda; Daniel Obam, Moderator of the sessions and Chairman ITU Radiocommunication Advisory Group; Lacina Kone, Director General/CEO, Smart Africa; Nkateko Nyoka, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Vodacom, South Africa; John Omo, Secretary General, African Telecommunications Union; Elizabeth Migwalla, Vice President International Government Affairs at Qualcomm; and Kezias Mwale, Coordinator for Radiocommunication Affairs at ATU.

The next Tech Policy Talks is scheduled to take place on 13th December 2021. It is focused on “Technology and Education: The Right Digital Tools at the Right Time”, and it will feature another set of policy makers and multisectoral stakeholders in the African digital culture sector.

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