The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, said that Africa provided fertile ground for 5G investment.
Danbatta disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Dr Henry Nkemadu, the Commission’s Director of Public Affairs, where he spoke as a panellist on the topic “5G Centre Play” at the ongoing International Telecommunications Union (ITU Telecom World 2019) holding in Budapest, Hungary.
He noted that Africa government alone could not do it; hence it beckoned on the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities provided by 5G and invest in Africa, a continent which guaranteed adequate returns on investment.
“We need to look at 5G usage scenarios, and there are 3 of them: The enhanced mobile broadband applications, the ultra-reliable low latency applications and the Machine to Machine applications.
“With a large number of 3.7 billion global unconnected populations, out of which 1.2 billion reside in Africa, the global community that African continent holds the ace and that 5G is the next frontier of investment.
“With the representatives of global ICT giants, including Nokia, Orange, and AT&T among other panellists, 5G will provide a very veritable and convincing investment for investors.
“In our own part of the world, (Africa) we are looking closely at these key areas of usage scenarios. The one that African countries will subscribe to quickly is the enhanced mobile broadband applications.
“The reason is that African countries are trying to roll out broadband infrastructure for broadband applications. So this will spur us on to ensure we put in place the necessary infrastructure,” he said.
Addressing the audience further, the NCC boss said that African countries were going to take important step to address new forms of anxiety occasioned by the emerging 5G technology.
He, however, said that African nations were trying to reserve the spectrum for the roll-out of broadband services.
Danbatta said though 26, 38 and 42 GHz existed in Nigeria, no plan to license them as frequencies for other applications.
“We are waiting in anticipation for the standardisation process to be completed at the World Radio Communication (WRC) in Egypt and see how we can go forward with the licensing processes in the 3 frequencies.
There is also the regulatory anxiety. Therefore, to do that successfully as we had done in the past with every service we deployed, we start with a proof of concept trial.
“Preparations are underway for this important trial to take place.“
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“The whole idea behind the trial is to be able to see what these challenges are-security challenges, levels of radiation power density.
“It is also to know whether this is within the acceptable limits provided for by the international non-ionization radio regulatory agencies.
He said the aim was also to ensure that whatever factorsNigeria needed to come to terms with preparatory to commercial deployment of services were identified in readiness for the commercial roll-out of services using 5G.”
He further told the audience that Africa countries were currently exchanging information and experiences on what they were seeing, which was the promise of the 5G rollout in the area of enhanced Broadband mobile services.
Danbatta said that panellists agreed, at the session, that 5G was not only evolution but also a revolution in Africa
He described the journey as long complete standardisation and underway by the ITU, adding that everybody looked forward to 2020 for standardisation to take root.
He said that panellists also agreed that satellite communications would complement the terrestrial deployment of 5G services.
Reports have it that ITU Telecom World 2019, which began on Sept. 9, will end Sept 12.