Nigeria’s fifth Generation (5G) coverage will be the largest in Africa by 2022, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has said.
Pantami gave the projection at the auction of the 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) spectrum organised by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Monday in Abuja.
With two telecommunication companies expected to emerge winners after the auction, the minister spoke about the benefits of 5G network, which includes helping to solve some of the security challenges in the country, since the technology provides real time services and platforms.
“We have already made a number of giant strides in the development of our digital economy and the development of 5G networks will further support our efforts,” the minister said.
“This will harness the social and economic benefits that come along with it. It will serve as a catalyst for the successful implementation of our National Digital Economy Development and Strategy (NDEPS) for a digital Nigeria,” he added.
The National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), he said, would ensure the required spectrum for 5G standard was made available in the timeliest manner.
He said this would enable investment, innovation and competition in the development of 5G services for the benefit of consumers and businesses.
The 5G trial, he noted, was critically reviewed by stakeholders with a view to understanding its health and security implications.
The review, he said, showed that 5G was safe for deployment in Nigeria and would not compromise the country’s security.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), organs of the United Nations, have also confirmed that the deployment will not cause any adverse health effects and are safe,” Pantami said.
The NCC announced that three telecoms companies were prequalified as approved bidders for 5G permit after meeting all requirements for participating in the licensing process.
The three prequalified bidders, namely MTN Nigeria, Mafab Communications Ltd and Airtel Networks Ltd, participated in the software-based simulated auction.
They used the Ascending Clock Auction System for the mock session, with each bidder expected to go through a bidder room, beginning with an opening round, where all bidders are expected to participate.
The Department of Security Service (DSS) would monitor the officials in each room to ensure that nobody was allowed to leave the room until the process is over.
In November, the Commission fixed the price for the bid at N75 billion ($197.4 million), although the telecommunications companies asked for a slash on the licensing fee. (NAN)
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