By Emma Okonji
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami has said the committee for 5G network deployment has concluded and submitted its report.
Pantami, who explained that technology remains a necessity for rapid transformation of the Nigerian economy, however said government would seek the input of industry stakeholders on 5G deployment, before the report would be released as well as before licences would be issued for the network deployment.
The minister who spoke at the recent 2020 Virtual IT Professionals’ Assembly, with the theme: “Adoption of 5G in Nigeria,” organised by the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), said the theme around 5G network deployment became necessary because of the many benefits that 5G network presents.
According to him: “Shortly after I resumed office as a minister last year, there was a plan by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator to roll out 5G network in Nigeria, but I had to put it on hold to enable me get in touch with the wider industry stakeholders, before we eventually had a trial 5G network rollout in collaboration with MTN in November 2019.”
Pantami further said: “After the trial 5G rollout, a committee was set up to look at the possibility of its rollout. The committee has submitted its report, but I believe now is the right time for all industry stakeholders to take a critical look at the report and make recommendations that will enable government take a decision on the deployment of 5G network.
“If we take a decision to deploy or not to deploy 5G network, then it becomes a collective decision. We have listened to several complaints about the perceived health risks associated with 5G rollout, but as government, our priority is to protect the citizens, but we do also know that 5G is a necessity and it has been deployed in other regions like US, South Korea, China, and South Africa.”
On his part, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Echono, said: “5G wireless network will deliver ultra-low latency and high speed connectivity that would support Nigeria’s drive for digital transformation.”
The General Manager, Network Operations at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Uche Osuji, who was the keynote speaker, said the technology would open up new use cases in areas of mobile broadband, Internet of Things (IoTs) and mission critical applications.
Addressing the economic impact of 5G network, Osuji said global industry projections had it would enable $12 trillion worth of economic activity by 2035, and that the manufacturing sector would account for $3.4 billion, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) would account for $1.4 billion, and that global 5G adoption would reach 16 per cent, which would represent about 1.4 billion connections.
In his opening remarks, the President/Chairman-in-Council at CPN, Prof. Charles Uwadia, said: “There is no doubt that the adoption of 5G, which has been touted as the next frontier of investment, has the proficiencies and potentials to drive economic growth and social inclusion. Presently, Nigeria’s ICT sector contributes more than oil and gas to the GDP. 5G is important because it has the potential to support millions of devices at ultrafast speeds; it is also capable of transforming the lives of people around the world.”
Highlight of the 14th IT Professionals’ Assembly, was the induction of 500 persons into the computing profession.
The Chairman, Registration, Regulation and Control Committee at CPN, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, advised the new inductees on professionalism and legitimisation.
“We have designed a professional development programme that will enable you to grow professionally and keep you abreast of new developments in the profession,” Sodiya said.