By Adeyemi Adepetun
MTN Nigeria Communications Plc kicked off an open Fifth- Generation (5G) pilot in the lead-up to its highly anticipated commercial launch.
The Company, which intends to launch 5G services in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri, and Maiduguri, is testing the next-generation network infrastructure. Customers with certain enabled devices will be allowed to connect with and try out the new service where coverage is available.
To access the 5G network and enjoy its benefits, customers will need compatible devices, such as routers and mobile phones, which can be pre-ordered from designated MTN walk-in stores and online via the MTN Nigeria website and e-marketplace. The pre-ordered devices can be picked up or will be delivered to customers post the launch event scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.
The telecommunications firm, in a statement on Wednesday, said the advanced technology promises to extend the reach and capacity of MTN Nigeria’s data network in Nigeria and enable much faster speeds and lower latency, giving customers near-instant access to the things they care about and downloads that take seconds, instead of minutes.
Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria, Adia Sowho, said: “Every major technological evolution redefines what is possible – changing the way we live and the way we connect. MTN Nigeria has been at the forefront of every leap in telecommunications: from GSM to 2G, 3G, and 4G. 5G has the potential to change everything. It will allow us to connect, create, collaborate, and compete in ways we’ve not even begun to imagine.
“We appreciate the unwavering support and leadership of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Communications Commission in implementing the National Policy on 5G Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy, which has driven the implementation of 5G in the country. We’re honoured to be a part of this revolution and being the first to bring 5G to Nigeria we are truly excited about all the possibilities for the nation.”
The spectrum issued to MTN Nigeria as one of the two successful winners of the 5G license bid holds a promising future for technology in Nigeria, and is projected to contribute $2.2 trillion to the global economy by 2034, according to a 2020 GSMA Intelligence report -“The Mobile Economy”. The implementation of 5G will accelerate the actualization of the national targets in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, as well as other sectoral policies designed to enhance Nigeria’s digital transformation.
With this launch, leveraging the largest spectrum dedicated to 5G in Africa, Nigeria will join a handful of African countries that have rolled out the 5G network.
Customers can visit the nearest MTN service centre or visit the MTN Nigeria website to order 5G-enabled devices for home delivery.
On the readiness of the players, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said, “Mafab has been given the Universal Access Service License (UASL) two weeks ago and they requested for extension of time to roll out services. Confirm more from MTN and Mafab.”
Confirming this development, Mafab issued a statement, also at the weekend, disclosing that NCC has granted it five months extension for service rollout.
The statement reads in part: “In line with the conditions of the 5G licence, the licencees were expected to commence rollout of 5G services effective from August 24, 2022.
“However, Mafab has been issued a five-month extension following the delays in receiving its unified operational license (UASL) and Numbering plan, which did not happen until the end of July.
“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 have no doubt that the service will help deliver improvements in the fields of education, business, smart cities and entertainment,” said Chairman Mafab Communications Limited, Dr. Mushabu Bashir.
According to him, the goal remains to launch before the five-month extension period and “we will be sharing more information in the near future. The 5G will offer Nigerians higher data speed, improved reliability and availability.
“The benefits are far reaching as the service will enable Nigerians to achieve more with broadband and increase the nation’s broadband penetration, quality of service and capabilities.”