The executive vice-chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, has disclosed that the country was reserving 26, 38 and 42 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrum frequencies for fifth-generation (5G) mobile broadband licencing.
The telecom regulator who stated this in a paper titled: ‘5G: The State of Play,’ presented at the recently – concluded International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World in Budapest, Hungary, said these frequencies exist and would be licensed them for any other application.
Danbatta said, “We are waiting in anticipation for the standardisation process to be completed at the World Radio Communication (WRC) in Egypt and then we can see how we can go forward with licensing process in the three frequencies I mentioned.
“The other important step that African countries are taking is to address new forms of social anxiety occasioned by this emerging technology, 5G. There’s also the regulatory anxiety. And therefore to do that, because of the practice we had in the past every service we deploy is normally preceded by proof of concept trial. And the 5G is not an exception. Definitely, there’s going to be the trial as preparations are underway for this important trial to take place.
“The whole idea behind the trial is to be able to see what are the challenges. Security challenges, levels of radiation power density, whether this is within the acceptable limits provided for the international non-ionisation radio regulatory agencies as well as to ensure whatever factors that we need to come to terms with preparatory to commercial deployment of services are identified in readiness for the commercial roll-out of services using 5G.
“This is ongoing in Nigeria. The steps we are taking during the trials will involve the security agencies, who have a say on the security dimension of this new technology when it’s eventually rolled out. So, we want to ensure they are fully involved at this trial state for the purpose of advising on the elements of the security concerns we should accommodate in the regulatory frameworks that will guide the deployment of this service if it eventually becomes commercialized,” he said.
The NCC boss also added that African countries were exchanging information and experiences on what they were seeing, the promise of the 5G rollout in the area of enhanced broadband mobile services in our individual countries as well as addressing the anxiety of the citizens by giving them information that will make them receptive to this branch of important technology that is emerging that’s virtually here.
“Whether all African countries will be ready by 2020 for the roll-out of commercial 5G services is something I cannot answer immediately, but I know our state of readiness is such that spectrum is being reserved in many countries, there are trials going on in many African countries, and Nigeria is getting ready to do this trial.
“Without pervasive infrastructure, the dream of the rollout of 5G services will remain what it is, just a dream. On this, we need to share experiences. In Nigeria, we have divided the country into seven zones, and each zone has been assigned an infrastructure company to deploy broadband infrastructure.”