Thursday, June 11, 2020 / 3:08 PM / By NCC / Header Image Credit: @NgComCommission
The Nigerian Communications Commission (the Commission} is mandated by Section 4(q) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 [the NCA). to prepare and implement programmes and plans that promote and ensure the development of the communications industry and the provision of communications services in Nigeria.
Further to this mandate, the Commission considered that the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G} Technology will be beneficial for socio-economic development of Nigeria. The technology is an advancement of existing mobile technologies (2G - 4G] with enhanced capabilities providing new and enhanced mobile communications services.
Such enhancement include applications like Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (Al), Robotics. Drones, Advanced Communication Systems, Cloud, 3D Printing. Mixed Reality, Simulation / Imaging, Gamification. These will bring improvements in Manufacturing, transportation. Public Services, Health and Social Works, Agriculture, Energy, Logistics, Media and Entertainment, Mining and Quarrying. Machinery and Equipment, Automotive, Education, information and Communication, urban infrastructure, Consumer experience, Sports, Semiconductor Technologies etc.
The deployment of 5G technologies will consequently promote the National Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria that will improve the way Nigerians live and work. 5G has been deployed commercially and in use in some Countries. As with the previous technologies, the international Commission tor Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has classified radiation from SG as non-ionizing and therefore safe for human beings.
Following global trends in telecommunications development of 5G, the Commission in November 2019 embarked on a Proof of Concept (trial) with MTN in six locations using different equipment vendors for a period of three (3) months. Relevant stakeholders including members of the security agencies were involved in the trial.
The trial was conducted to enable the Commission assess the performance of the technology in comparison with existing technologies, evaluate compliance to health and safety guidelines and also use the lessons learnt to guide Policy towards commercial deployment.
The trial which was conducted on the 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands was successfully completed with performance showing improvement of 5G over the previous technologies with THe radiation levels well below the specified human safety guidelines. The equipment used in the trials have long been decommisioned in all the locations.
In view of the successful Completion of the trial and a directive from the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, the Commision commenced the development of a policy for the deployment of 5G in Nigena. In line wtih its powers under section 57 of the NCA, and the need for wide public consultation, the process of developing this poicy will involve a Public inquiry which will involve all relevant stakeholders in the review and consultalion process.
The following Stakehotders have been identified: Minisiry of Communications & Digital Economy. Office of fhe National Security Adviser, the Notional Assembly. Ministry of Health. National Environmental Standards & Regulations Enforcement Agency, Consumer Advocacy Groups, Academia, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Medical Association, Word Health Organisation, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria. Mobile Network Operators, Nigerian institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer, Nigerian institute of ICT Engineers, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria amongst others.
The Consulative Document is curentty being devetoped and will be shared with these stakeholder and the general pubic, followingwhich a Stakeholder Consultative Forum will be held. The views of all Stakeholder will be considered in the final Policy.
Accordingly, the details of the propored public consultation will be widely published in due course. 5G will not be deployed in Nigeria until the Policy is conciuded and approved.