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By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor, LAGOS

MTN Nigeria yesterday confirmed that it will roll out 5G network by August 24, 2022. The Operator disclosed this at the 90th edition of the telecom consumer parliament, organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC in Ikeja, Lagos

In May 2022 when the NCC handed over the final letters of award of 5G spectrum licences to winners of the December 3.5GHz spectrum auctions, it mandated them to roll out services in August 2022.

Also, yesterday, while declaring open the consumer parliament, themed: 5G Technology: Opportunities and Challenges” the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta reinforced the mandate and said the winners, MTN and Mafab Communication, are now expected to accelerate the deployment of 5G network that will usher Nigeria into a more robust Fourth Industrial Revolution, 4IR, and a more digitised Nigerian economy.

According to Danbatta, “in line with the terms and conditions of the 5G license, the licensees are expected to commence roll out of 5G services effective from August 24, 2022”

He however said Industry collaboration is very essential to successful deployment of 5G Services in Nigeria and urged industry stakeholders to stand with the Commission to explore the prospects and potentials of the new technology, which is enormous.

Reacting to the mandate during a panel discussion, representative of MTN, Chinedu Ezeigweneme, said MTN had put plans in place and working with all relevant stakeholders to ensure a smooth roll out.

He said: “We have put all plans in place. We have discussed with relevant stakeholders and I can assure you that come August 24, 2022, MTN will roll out 5G services”

Although the other winner of the spectrum, MAFAB Communications, could not give such assurances, the NCC was upbeat that both winners would comply with the rollout timeline, having agreed to it as part of the license conditions.

The Commission also used the opportunity of the parliament to dispel rumour and fears that 5G network has health implications.

Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity at NCC, Dr Bako Wakil who presented paper on the theme of the parliament, said there is no relevant health and safety authority that has confirmed any health hazard arising from 5G network. His position was echoed by almost all the panellists comprising all the telecom operators in Nigeria.

He tipped 5G to provide a lot of benefits and opportunities that will accelerate growth and smart living in the country.

He said the technology is also expected to bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.

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