NCC Set To Deploy 5G Network, Signs Pact With NIGCOMSAT

L-R: Engr. Oluwatoyin Asaju, Director, Spectrum Administration, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Mr. Hadi Muhammad, Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT); Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, NCC; Chief Uche Onwude, Member, NCC Board of Commissioners; Dr. Abimbola Alale, Managing Director, NIGCOMSAT; Prof Abdu Bambale, Executive Director, Technical, NIGCOMSAT, and Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Fifth Generation (5G) spectrum on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has disclosed that all issues impeding the deployment of 5G network in Nigeria has been adequately addressed.

Prof. Danbatta disclosed this at the NCC signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) on the clearing of C-band for deployment of 5G services, Wednesday in Abuja.

He noted that the policy attached to the deployment of 5G network services in the country was ready for Federal Government’s approval.

“First of all, issues associated with the safety of this technology have been adequately addressed. Nigerians have been sensitised on the safety of this technology with regards to health the security dimension.

“We have gone to the government and very soon they will come up with a statement on the date for the deployment of 5G services because the policy is equally ready.

“So the information of the state of readiness as we can see is satisfactory. We have the policy, we have the resource for the deployment of 5G services in the country.

“We have mobile network operators that are willing to bid for the available spectrum that will be used for the deployment of this subs to Nigerians. So our state of readiness is really high indeed,” he said.

The EVC intimated that the next step was for the spectrum to be allocated to the NCC by the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), assuring that government would give approval for the utilisation of the spectrum to deploy 5G services in the country.

“Well the next step is for the spectrum in question to be allocated to the NCC by the National Frequency Management Council which has the honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as chair.

“The minister is aware about this signing of the MOU, he has given his blessing and therefore we are not envisaging any problem at the level of the national frequency Management Council.

We are assured of getting the approval for the utilisation of the spectrum to deploy 5G services in the country.

Speaking further he said that 5G would build on this momentum, bringing substantial network improvements, including higher connection speeds, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.

“We are glad that the Management of NigComSat and NCC have taken a bold step in the right direction to release contagious quantum of Spectrum in the 3.5GHz band for early deployment of 5G.

Danbatta, however, said that the 3.4 GHz -3.9GHz arel the best frequency allocated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

He said that the C-band was most suitable and appropriate for immediate deployment of 5G services taking into consideration availability of device ecosystem with 60-70 per cent of global commercial 5G network deployment currently in the band.

He said this was the importance of the spectrum for early deployment of 5G services in Nigeria and it cannot be over emphasised.

According to him, amongst the Frequency Spectrum bands allocated to 5G by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU, the C-band (3.4GHz – 3.9GHz) stands out because its balancing point between coverage and capacity provides the perfect environment for 5G connectivity.

The two agencies have been in discussions on how to relocate the operations of NG-1R to the standard C-band 300MHz (3.9GHz – 4.2GHz) potion of the band, which is more suitable in terms of Satellite service offering because end user terminal are cheaper there,

While leaving the non-standard C-band 400MHz (3.5GHz–9GHz) portion of the band for 5G use.

The cost of relocating the NG-1R is expected to be offset from the proceeds of the auction of the 5G Spectrum.”

“For optimal 5G service performance, an average of contiguous 100 MHz of spectrum in the C-band is required by an Operator.

However in Nigeria, only 120 MHz of the band (3.4 – 3.52) GHz is available for mobile services while the remaining 680 MHz (3.52 – 4.2) GHz of the band is used by NigComSat (NG-1R) satellites”.

Dr Abimbola Alale, Director General, NIGCOMSAT, appreciated all stakeholders that made the MoU a reality and added that she cannot thank them enough for their efforts.

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