Actualizing 5G technology: NCC Holds The Ace in Nigeria’s Digital Ecosystem

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Prof, Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC/CEO,NCC

Growing business-focused population, ever increasing service demand, and complexity of services are the driving force for the mobile operations necessary for a paradigm shift in their core technology and radio access networks. In recent times though, 5G mobile network has become the result of the paradigm shift and currently under deployment in many developed countries such as United States, UK, South Korea, Japan, China, to mention a few.

While most of the Least Developed Countries and developing countries like Nigeria have implemented the 4G mobile networks, it is most worrying that actualizing the 5G networks has continued to elude stakeholders and indeed players within this financially robust industry. Today, internet-based services such as internet banking, webmail searching, social networks, online chatting and gaming are becoming a part of people’s day-to-day activity. As computation and storage continue to move into cloud, the number of mobile internet users is expected to increase at the same pace. Consequently, mobile internet service providers are under pressure in making their tremendous pressure in making their systems reasonably scalable and providing guaranteed performance with low latency and high availability to achieve such laudable objectives deployment of the 5th generation, mobile networks or simply 5G is inevitable.

Despite the negative propaganda that has been weaved against the 5G in Nigeria, it known that 5G networks are high capacity, faster response time with near-zero latency (4-5ms), high speed up to 10 Gps, supports of wide range of applications, accommodating 100 times more devices, more software options to upgrade and ubiquitous connectivity. In more recent times, the deployment of 5G networks will undoubtedly place a heavy demand on mobile operators in Africa. Needless to say that, the mobile operators have not started realizing Return On Investment (ROI) yet for the 4G networks that they are implementing in developing countries.

More recently, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has reinforced its commitment toward the introduction of the Fifth Generation Network (5G). Riding on the create of federal government through the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry has continued to seek ways to liberalize the sector beyond the 21st Century. The Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC), of Nigerian Communication Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, in his speech explained that the Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) took cognizance of all the existing developmental documents that is supposed to be the roadmap for actualizing the 5G network.  Danbatta made this disclosure during the official launch of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) Strategic Vision Plan (SVP), 2021-2025, Podcast and the Book Compendium of his Speeches recently.

Titled: “Catalyzing Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Transformation through Broadband Infrastructure,” the book is a compilation of carefully selected, seminal speeches and presentations of Prof. Danbatta, touching on all strategic areas of the nation’s telecoms industry development and the entire digital economy ecosystem, since his assumption of office as the EVC/CEO of NCC in August 2015.

Industry analysts opined that the liberalization of the telecommunications sector in 2000 resulted in significant improvement in the lives of Nigerians and changed the nature of everyday business. According to Danbatta, “We have taken cognizance of the several notable advancements in the Nigerian telecommunications industry within the last five (5) years, as well as the current global realities such as International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Strategic Plan (2020-2023). The Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030 for a digital Nigeria”.

Danbatta outlines some benefits of 5G technology and stressed that the need for its deployment across the country will impact on the economy of Nigeria. “5G has remined one of the new technologies identified and regarded as a game changer”.

He stated further that “the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government. Thus, the new plan has been guided by and aligned to the NNBP (2020-2025), the NDEPS (2020-2030), the SMP (2020-2024), the ITU Strategic Plan and the ERGP of the Federal Government.”

Speaking further, he said that the new SVP 2021-2025 had five items, which included Organizational Renewal for Operational Efficiency and Regulatory Excellence; Facilitating the Provision of Infrastructure for a Digital Economy which fosters National Development; Promoting Fair Competition, Inclusive Growth, Increased investment, and Innovative Services; Improve Quality of Service (QoS) for Enhanced Consumer Quality of Experience (QoE); and Facilitating Strategic Collaboration and Partnership.

Danbatta, a professor of telecommunications engineering, accomplished academic, and seasoned administrator has made extensive speeches and presentations on a wide range of subjects in telecoms and ICT at important national, regional, and international events since leaving the ivory tower to become the EVC of NCC in 2015.

His landmark speeches and presentations from 2015 till date have, thus, been codified in a concise collection, as a compendium, providing useful information that will significantly add value to the existing body of knowledge in the telecoms sector, and by extension, the entire Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry.

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