NCC Intensifies Training, Stakeholder Engagement, Collaborations For Effective 5G Deployment

Prof. Umar Danbatta, EVC, NCC

As the timeline for the rollout of the Fifth Generation (5G) networks in Nigeria approaches, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that training programmes are ongoing just as the telecoms regulator noted it is expanding the spectrum of beneficiaries, especially engineers, and others who will extend knowledge to others for an effective launch of the digital technology in December.

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs of NCC, in a statement issued in Abuja, FCT, said the NCC Chief Executive, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, noted this development in respect of the Commission’s level of preparedness for imminent 5G deployment in Nigeria Monday, November 22, 2021, while responding to questions during a high-profile and captivating webinar, titled: “Unlocking 5G Potential in Africa”, held on StreamYard, a live streaming studio.The Commission stated this at Qualcomm and Forum Global jointly organised the webinar under the auspices of “Tech Policy Talks”, instituted to power technology policy debates in the European Union (EU).
Qualcomm, a creator of software and owner of patents central to 4G and 5G usability, is a US multinational corporation, while Forum Global is the international arm of Forum Europe which specialises in the organisation of policy-focused conferences on a global scale.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had earlier explained that: “We are emphasising enhanced Broadband both in the wholesale and retail segments; we will also continue to sensitise people about the usefulness of 5G.

Prof. Danbatta said the Nigerian telecom regulatory authority previously, had made a remarkable presentation that captured the multisectoral nature of 5G applications, indicating that the technology transcends the telecoms and ICT sector to embrace every facet of human life.

The EVC/CEO provoked a debate that demonstrated Nigeria’s readiness to deploy 5G, and by so doing emphasised the centrality of multi-stakeholder nature of the emerging conversations around the technology that have triggered great enthusiasm.

Danbatta, at the forum, informed the audience that Nigeria has enjoyed collaborating with the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA), Africa Telecommunications Union (ATU) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the global superintendent of telecommunications.According to the Commission’s EVC/CEO, the country has continued to receive visitations by countries who wished to benchmark NCC’s operations.

Likewise, Prof. Danbatta noted that Nigeria has visited other countries to explore how 5G and associated technologies can be deployed effectively, stressing that 5G-related technologies are not just valuable, they are so significant due to their derivable social and economic benefits.Danbatta further explained how to unlock the potential of 5G, using a triangulated framework pivoted on Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Massive Machine Type Communication, and Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications.

The Commission said he also disclosed to the enlightened audience that the above scenarios would find expressions in gigabytes in a second, robust voice and real-time digital social mediation, massive Internet of Things (IoT) like smart city and smart homes (connectedness of appliances and home security).

Other areas, Danbatta stated, are pervasive 3D videos and Ultra High Definition screens, augmented reality, self-driving cars, industrial automation, high-speed trains, lifeline, and ultra-reliable communications in telemedicine and natural disasters that will deliver successful services using critical applications.The EVC/CEO as well said NCC’s efforts at readiness for 5G deployment consist of dedicated follow up on the industry trends on the recently harmonised spectrum from World Radio Conference -19; clearing of relevant Spectrum bands identified for 5G, for instance, the 3.5GHz; identified spectrum for 5G in line with global trends; development of 5G deployment plan.
Danbatta also recalled the development and presentation of a draft Information Memorandum (IM) for the 3.5GHz auction, and constitution of a committee to auction 3.5GHz mid band spectrum in Nigeria.
According to Danbatta, other initiatives of NCC include licensing of Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to deploy Metro and Intercity fiber with at least a point of presence in each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country, besides opening up of Microwave and Millimeter wave, for instance, the 60GHz V-band, 70/80GHz E-band, 38GHz, and 42GHz, among others.

He outlined other additional measures in the ‘enthralling’ discussion to include re-planning and re-channelisation of spectrum bands to keep abreast of industry changes in terms of data requirements; and the development of guidelines for spectrum trading, Television White Space (TVWS) and commercial satellite communication.

Danbatta further emphasised that the NCC “is irrevocably committed to technology neutrality, even as the Commission has developed guidelines for infrastructure sharing (colocation), and continued to encourage capacity development, including the participation of staff at ITU Radiocommunications (ITU-R) Study Groups, and at other international fora.”

All these as well as balanced spectrum cost (not too high and not too low), and deeper collaboration of governments, regulators and operators, will ensure that Nigeria, nay Africa, can consolidate the gains of 2G, 3G and 4G, and ensure that 5G improves connectivity measurably and remarkably.

Dr. Adinde also noted that the next ‘Tech Policy Talks’ is scheduled to take place on December 13, 2021.

The NCC stated that the forum is focused on “Technology and Education: The Right Digital Tools at the Right Time”, and it will feature another set of policymakers and multisectoral stakeholders in the African digital culture sector.

In a related development, The Nigerian Communications Commission has also shifted the deadline for submission of bids and Initial Bid Deposits (IBDs) for the 3.5 Gigahertz Spectrum band auction to Monday, November 29, 2021

As part of the process leading to the imminent launch of the Fifth Generation (5th) technology in the West African country, the Nigerian Communications Commission informs the stakeholders and the general public that the submission of responses in respect of the 3.5 Gigahertz Spectrum band auction, earlier scheduled to close Wednesday, November 24, 2021, has been extended.

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, disclosed this development in a public notice he signed and published on the Commission’s corporate Web site Tuesday, November 23, 2021.

The telecoms regulatory Commission noted that due to the challenges posed to air travels as witnessed recently, and considering that it may have some impact on intending bidders regarding the submission of their bids, the NCC “hereby extends the deadline for submission of bids and Initial Bid Deposits (IBDs) to 5.00 p.m. on Monday, 29th November 2021.”

The Director of Public Affairs stated that all other events as scheduled in the Information Memorandum (IM) remain unchanged.

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