With the deployment of 5G network service, the Federal Government has said it is targeting to achieve N390 per 1GB of data by 2025. The Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed this, informing that government was determined to achieve the 90 per cent broadband coverage set in the National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) through the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders. Danbatta disclosed this while delivering a keynote address at a forum on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D).
He said the plan sets a speed target of a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas and 10Mbps in rural areas, at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (i.e. two per cent of median income or one per cent of minimum wage). According to him, government would do everything to create an enabling and conducive environment for the telecom operators to continue investing in new infrastructures and capabilities and think more innovatively, identify and design novel business models and enrich their insights from other partners, regions and industries.
Danbatta, who was represent ed by Head, Spectrum Adimisntration, NCC, Abraham Oshadami, said the country is getting ready for the deployment of 5G to grow its economy. He said: “In order to achieve these ambitious targets, the plan is focused on four 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 cover major urban areas by 2025 effectively and to ensure the security of the 5G ecosystem as well as the protection of data, amongst many others.”
He said further: “Unlike the previous generations of mobile networks, the fifth generation (5G) technology is expected to fundamentally transform the role that telecommunications technology play in the 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, AugmentedReality, Quantum Computing, Smart City initiatives and Mission Critical Operations, amongst others. “The realisation of the full potentials of this promising technology comes with vast socio- economic benefits and responsibility.
Therefore, to drive these benefit, there is need for vigorous collaboration between government and nongovernment actors to ensure the development of focused policies, robust regulatory framework and build-out resilient networks. “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. According to Danbatta, “within any administration, government is required to put in place excellent policies that would foster innovation and development.
As policymakers, 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 take informed decisions that will ensure the deployment of these technologies in a manner that is most beneficial to the nation and its citizens.
“Today in Nigeria, as some of you may know, 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 objective of this document, amongst others, include developmental regulation, digital literacy and skills, solid infrastructure, digital service development and promotion and digital society & emerging technologies. He noted that “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 per cent of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (i.e. two per cent of median income or one per cent of minimum wage). “In order to achieve these ambitious targets, the plan is focused on four 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. According to the NCC vice chairman, “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 nonstate 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.