June 12, (THEWILL) – The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has harped on the need for synergy with critical stakeholders to guarantee success of the fifth generation (5G) technology deployment in the country.
This was contained in the presentation of the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, as when delivering his keynote address at Nigeria Digitalsense forum on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) in Lagos.
Danbatta, represented by the Head, Spectrum Administration, NCC, Engr. Abraham Oshadame, commended the organiser of the event, for bringing together various stakeholders and key representatives from the telecommunications sector to exchange ideas that will foster growth and innovation in the industry, especially as they are being ushered into the era of ultra-high-speed access to the internet which 5G delivers.
He noted that the theme of the event “5G Enthronement in Nigeria’s Telecoms sector” is timely because of the strategic and critical role of the Nigerian Communications Commission in the implementation of Government policies that seek to foster growth and innovation in the telecoms industry.
According to him, this is evident in the efforts the Commission has demonstrated in the smooth uptake of previous technologies (2G, 3G & 4G) and the ones the Commission is implementing to ensure the deployment and adoption of 5G infrastructure and services in Nigeria.
The EVC highlighted that unlike the previous generations of mobile networks, the fifth generation (5G) technology is expected to fundamentally transform the role that telecommunications technology plays in society.
“5G is certainly expected to enable further economic growth and pervasive digitalisation of a hyper-connected society, in which not only are people connected to the network whenever needed, but also many other devices/things, thus, creating a smart society with almost everything connected (i.e. Internet of Everything).
“5G technology will also Enhance Mobile Broadband with very low latency and consequently enable new use cases such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Quantum Computing, Smart City initiatives and Mission Critical Operations amongst others,” he added.
The realisation of the full potential of this promising technology, he said, comes with vast socio- economic benefits and responsibility.
He pointed out that to drive these benefits, there is a need for vigorous collaboration between Government and non-Government actors to ensure the development of focused policies, robust regulatory framework and build-out resilient networks.
He stated further that to ensure readiness in the telecommunications industry, especially as it relates to the uptake of anything new, such as emerging International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) technologies like 5G (IMT 2020), several critical stakeholders must synergise to guarantee success. He listed some of these critical stakeholders to include: Government (Policymakers), National Regulatory Authorities (Regulators), the Network Operators, Consumers. Industry based organisations (like Digital Sense for example).
The NCC boss explained that these stakeholders play a critical role in unlocking the vast potential of 5G, stressing that this potential can be achieved by collaboration and partnership with various stakeholders in the telecoms industry ecosystem, as well as ensuring the provision of robust government policies and excellent regulatory framework being implemented.
In his words: “Within any administration, the Government is required to put in place excellent policies that would foster innovation and development. As policymakers, the government should also consider to undertake its own independent economic and social assessment and viability of deploying new technologies (such as 5G in this case) with a view to providing a clear regulatory direction that will enable all relevant stakeholders including the network operators to make informed decisions that will ensure the deployment of these technologies in a manner that is most beneficial to the Nation and its citizens.
“Today, as some of you may know, in Nigeria, the Government has already developed some policy documents, such as the Nigerian Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS 2020 – 2030), which aims to accelerate the National Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria. The objectives of this document amongst others include; Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy & Skills, Solid Infrastructure, Digital Service Development and Promotion, and Digital Society & Emerging Technologies. “Government has also developed a Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020 – 2025) which has a target to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (i.e. 2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage).
“In order to achieve these ambitious targets, the plan is focused on 4 critical pillars namely: Infrastructure, Policy, Funding and incentives. Similarly, a National Policy on Fifth Generation (5G) Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy was developed to address the provision of the required Spectrum and the enabling environment to ensure full deployment of 5G technology to effectively cover major urban areas by 2025, and to ensure the security of the 5G ecosystem as well as the protection of data amongst many others.”
Continuing, the EVC said “On the other hand, regulators are to primarily develop regulatory framework and standards for the telecoms industry. They also come up with action plans and methods for implementation of Government policies through robust regulation to ensure competitive market, environment focused compliance monitoring and enforcement mechanism, market-based Spectrum access mechanisms, Broadband facilitation and Penetration, capacity development as well as strategic collaboration and partnership with relevant state and non-state actors. The regulators are also to collaborate and to facilitate the exchange of similar ideas, views and experiences amongst industry experts through appropriate avenues for regular participation in relevant Conferences, Fora, symposia and Workshops.
“As for the operators, they must continue to invest in new infrastructures and capabilities, think more innovatively, identify and design novel business models and enrich their insights from other partners, regions and industries. It is important that they integrate their next-generation networks that will provide the flexibility required to foster growth and innovation in the mobile communications ecosystem.
“As a regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), already identified the unique benefits and the role of IMT technology particularly 5G services in accomplishing the Digital Economy objectives of the Government.
“The Commission has outlined a Strategic Vision Plan (SVP 2021-2025) to ensure the implementation of Government well developed policies. The SVP is designed to achieve among others: Organisational Renewal for Operational Efficiency and Regulatory Excellence; Facilitating the Provision of Infrastructure for Digital Economy which fosters National Development; Promoting Fair Competition, and Facilitating Strategic Collaboration and Partnership.”
In line with this SVP, he said the Commission in collaboration and with full support of the Federal Ministry of Communications and digital Economy under the Leadership of the Honourable Minister, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has recorded significant success in the drive towards National Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria.
He listed the following as some of the achievements: creation of a full-fledged department of Digital Economy with a mandate amongst others to ensure that the programs and targets set in the NNBP 2020-2025 and NDEPS 2020 – 2030 are rigorously pursued, tracked, and attained; INFRACO Companies have been licensed to deploy fibre on an Open Access Basis in Six Geopolitical Zones of the country and Lagos State. Approval to commence rollout was given in April, 2021; Developed and secured the Federal Executive Council Approval of the Nigerian 5G Policy to guide deployments of 5G services in Nigeria amongst others.