MTN Nigeria has confirmed at the 90th edition of the telecom consumer parliament, organized by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC in Lagos that it would roll out a 5G network by August 24.
The News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) reports that in May, the Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) and Mafab Communications Limited were both awarded the slots for the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) Fifth Generation (5G) Technology spectrum as they emerged winners of the auction by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), beating Airtel in the process.
At the time of winning the auction, Mafab did not have UASL, which was a requirement to operate a 5G network in the nation. According to the NCC, any winner without a UASL would need to acquire it at an additional fee of N374.6m.
While speaking to a few correspondents on the sidelines of the NCC’s Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Emerging Technologies in July, the technical adviser to Mafab, Kingsley Uwazie, confirmed that getting an operational licence was crucial to the firm’s rollout plan.
According to him, the firm would explore all its option before rolling out 5G. He stated, “I cannot answer questions as regards whether we want to acquire an active mobile network operator, but the truth is Mafab communications wants to come in on the best foot possible and provide services to the country.
“Yes, we’ve purchased the 5G licence, but we will look for the best possible way to provide penetration in Nigeria. We are looking at various options, like I said we are working that is why we are not talking.
MTN was mandated to roll out services in August by NCC. Reacting to the mandate during a panel discussion, the representative of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Chinedu Ezeigweneme, said MTN had put plans in place and worked with all relevant stakeholders to ensure a smooth rollout.
“We have put all plans in place. We have discussed with relevant stakeholders and I can assure you that come Aug. 24, MTN will roll out 5G services,” Ezeigweneme said.
NCC, during the parliament discussion, stakeholders dispelled the fears that the 5G network had health implications.
Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity at NCC, Dr Bako Wakil who presented a paper on the theme of the parliament, said there was no relevant health and safety authority that had confirmed any health hazards arising from the 5G network.
Wakil however said Industry collaboration was key to the successful deployment of 5G Services in Nigeria and urged industry stakeholders to stand with the Commission to explore the prospects and potentials of the new technology, which was enormous.
Wakil said 5G would provide many benefits and opportunities that would accelerate growth and smart living in the country. He said the technology is expected to bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility, and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.
NAN reports that the theme of the meeting was “5G Technology: Opportunities and Challenges.
While MTN has confirmed the launch of the 5G service, Mafab Communications Limited is set to miss the Nigerian Communications Commission 5G rollout commencement date of August 24, 2022.
This is as the Commission grants it a five-month extension to roll out 5G services in the nation following delays in receiving its Unified Access Service Licence and Numbering plan, which was not granted until the end of July.
While speaking at the 90th Edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta declared the commencement date.
He said, “The final letters of the award have been issued to MTN and Mafab Communications, which emerged winners of the 3.5GHz Spectrum auction conducted on Dec. 13, 2021.
“In line with the information memorandum, the licensees are expected to commence the rollout of 5G services effective from Aug. 24, 2022.
“The successful completion of the process leading to the final letters is confirmation that the rollout of 5G technology services in Nigeria is on course.”
In a statement, Chairman, Mafab, Musbahu Bashir, was quoted as saying, “We are fully committed to bringing the benefits of 5G services to Nigerians and deploying a network that will drive economic development with increased broadband capabilities Nationwide.
“I do not doubt that the service will help deliver improvements in the fields of education, business, smart cities, and entertainment. The goal remains to launch before the 5-month extension period, and we will be sharing more information shortly.”
Based on this development, MTN Nigeria will be the only telecommunication firm to roll out 5G services based on the NCC’s timeline. In line with the conditions of the 5G licence, licences were expected to commence the rollout of 5G services from August 24, 2022.