From Cyriacus Nnaji, Lagos
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has cleared the air on permutations and side talks surrounding the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) Mobile Technology in Nigeria, even as the commission said it is still consulting.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta made the clarification at the Capacity Building Programme for members of Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) which took place on November 18, 2020 at the Citiheight Hotel, Lagos.
Danbatta said “A lot of falsehoods and misinformation have been peddled both on online and traditional media outlets about the health and safety implications of deploying 5G technology.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission just recently published the Draft Consultation Document on the Deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) Mobile Technology in Nigeria and I wish to use this medium to draw your attention to the fact that the Commission has not concluded plans for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) network,” he said.
Danbatta who was represented on the occasion by the Director of Public Affair, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, said that Nigeria only undertook 5G trials in selected locations within the country in collaboration with an Operator in 2019. The trial, according to Danbatta, was to study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present. “The Commission also has an ongoing engagement with the academia while at the same time funding 5G related research projects, all in a bid to ensure the nation is provided with the best in terms of research findings and policy input to drive the implementation and deployment of 5G Technology in Nigeria.”
According to the NCC Boss, the Draft Consultation Document for deployment of the 5G technology in Nigeria has been produced and uploaded on the Commission’s official website (www.ncc.gov.ng). “I invite you all to please take advantage of this document, peruse it and share it with your readers so they can be informed about the 5G technology,” Danbatta stated.
He maintained that a recent landmark economy study conducted by Qualcomm states that 5G will affect the global economy and drive growth exponentially. “5G’s full economic effect will likely be realized across the globe by 2035, supporting a wide range of industries and potentially enabling up to $13.2 trillion worth of goods and services. This impact will be much greater than the current 4G network.”
Danbatta disclosed that 5G when fully deployed will provide increased speed and bandwidth as well as provide deeper coverage to reach people in rural or challenging locations, adding that 5G will provide strong security for the various sectors of government and private organizations.
He stated that due to its sheer scale and scope, the ITU predicts 5G will accelerate the achievements of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) from affordable and clean energy to zero hunger, adding that the misrepresentation of 5G technology has the potential of derailing the launch of this new technology in Nigeria.
Commenting on the training he said “Training such as this is necessary for members of NITRA who have continued to cover the ICT industry in Nigeria. We will ensure that the NCC maintains this training periodically for our crucial stakeholders in the media to ensure that the information that reaches the average Nigerian is accurate and timely.
“It is our duty and responsibility to ensure that whatever we want to introduce to the Nigerian telecoms space is well understood by Nigerians and all those who make use of our telecoms services.
“The onus is on all of us here today to make sure that we take this training seriously and take advantage of it to expand on our horizons. This is very necessary so that when we report events or activities relating to the industry, we are able to translate them into a language that the common man will readily understand,” Danbatta stated.
Danbatta added that the Commission will continue to support capacity building and other initiatives which foster closer interaction and build stronger relationship with NITRA members.