Stakeholders: 5G Network Rollout, Broadband Penetration, E-commerce Are Game Changers in 2022

Emma Okonji

Having survived the difficult times in 2021, occasioned by the effect of COVID-19 and other variables, industry stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector are optimistic that the planned rollout of 5G network in 2022, coupled with the planned acquisition of MainOne by Equinix in 2022, among others, will boost Nigerian economy in 2022.

Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, told THISDAY that the successful auction of two slots in the 3.5GHz spectrum band to MTN and Mafab Communications in December 2021 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), would open the stage for a nationwide 5G technology rollout, after the spectrum winners must have paid for the licence fee in February 2022, as directed by the NCC.

According to him, 5G would revolutionise the Nigerian economy, deepen broadband penetration and enhance Nigeria’s digital transformation agenda, as 5G has the capacity for low latency, increase broadband speed and faster downloads, with seamless internet connectivity.
He also said the planned acquisition of MainOne in 2022 by Equinix, an American multinational data centre operator, would further boost broadband penetration, increase internet access and connectivity speed and reduce cost of internet.

“When we begin to experience all of these in 2022, it will impact on e-Commerce, e-Government, as well as the application of Internet of Things (IoTs), Machine to Machine Communications and Machine to Human Communications. The development that these technologies will bring, will in no small measure, help in repositioning Nigeria to achieve her smart city project and her digital transformation agenda that will further boost the Nigerian economy,” Adebayo said.

Giving details of the many benefits of a successful spectrum auction for 5G deployment, the Chief Executive Officer of Tetconsult UK and the immediate past Secretary General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (WTO), Shola Taylor, said the ultimate beneficiary of the successful launch of 3.5GHz spectrum, would be the Nigerian telecoms consumer, whom he said, would enjoy the enormous and real-time benefits of 5G technology, considering its high speed downloads, high internet connectivity capacity, with very low latency that would drive a faster digital transformation across Nigeria.

CEO of MainOne, Ms. Funke Opeke, who expressed her joy over the planned acquisition of MainOne, said the deal would open digital opportunities for Nigeria since the presence of Equinix in Nigeria would help speed up Nigeria’s journey towards achieving her digital economy goals.

According to her, “It has become imperative for Nigeria to be part of the global digital economy drive, and participate in the value chain, and I see Equinix bringing this opportunity into Nigeria, through the planned acquisition of MainOne in 2022.”

Opeke further explained that the presence of Equinix in Nigeria would further deepen broadband infrastructure rollout and deliver more value chain in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
Chairman, Zinox Technology Group, Leo Stan-Ekeh, told THISDAY that e-Commerce would change the narrative of the Nigerian economy in 2022, as online shopping would continue to gain traction in 2022. He advised governments across Nigeria to be digitally compliant and ensure that all government transactions were done online in order to drive online traffic and make access to government activities a lot easier.

Managing Director, Africa Data Centres, Wole Abu, said the launch of 10 megawatt data centre facility in Nigeria by the Africa Data Centres in Lagos last December, would drive positive competition and faster growth of the Nigerian economy in 2022.

Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said: “The diversification of Nigeria’s economy is a key priority for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, and government therefore welcomes Africa Data Centre to Nigeria to further boost her diversification process. Growing the ICT sector is a priority for government and we welcome Africa Data Centre to join government in further growing the sector in 2022.”

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