Nigeria approves trial spectrum for 5G network


The National Communications Commission, NCC, Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator said it has approved trial spectrum for the country’s 5G next-generation network.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, disclosed it at the Umar Danbattamaiden International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Digital African Week on Tuesday in Abuja.

While he did not give further details, the spectrum is meant to be used by Nigerian mobile carriers to test their proposed 5G networks prior to proper market launch.

The development is coming several months after several mobile carriers in China, the United Kingdom and other developed economies launched their 5G services.

For the sakes of explanation, 5G is the fifth generation cellular network technology. According to the industry association, 3GPP, 5G is any system using “5G NR” software as “5G”.

The importance of a 5G network in the present and future of an economy is limitless. For instance, a 5G network is 100 times faster than the blink of a human eye. This unprecedented speed makes it an invaluable infrastructure needed to power connected devices, self-driving cars, media and entertainment industry as well as smart cities.

Neither MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, Bharti Airtel, Globacom Nigeria Limited nor Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited (EMTS), four of Nigeria’s mobile carriers have confirmed they have started any of the trials.

All these four networks are just ramping up their customers to migrate to their 4G networks. A telecoms analysts told that it could take more than three years to this time before 5G could see any of its tests in Nigeria given the massive investment required to build the network.