One week after Mafab Communications rolled out its 5G network in Abuja, Lagos and four other cities, Nigerians are waiting to experience the 5G high speed connectivity on the Mafab network, writes Emma Okonji
Mafab Communications Limited, which bided and won 5G licence along side MTN in December 2021, last week took the country by surprise when it announced a soft launch of its 5G network in Abuja and Lagos, with claims that it has also launched in four other cities and assured Nigerians of super high speed internet connectivity for data service as well as seamless voice service.
According to Mafab’s spokesman, Mr. Adebayo Onibanjo, Mafab will be offering voice and data services from day one of its rollout, stressing that Mafab will ride on an existing telecom company to rollout its services to Nigerians on the 5G infrastructure and will continue to expand as the market grows.
Some Nigerians are however concerned about the capacity of Mafab to rollout 5G, without an existing telecom infrastructure. At the moment, Mafab is not a known telecom operator and has no subscriber base like other established telecom operators in the country. It has no offices across the country and no customer care service centres where intending subscribers could go and make enquiry about their services in order to sign up on its network. Nigerians are therefore asking questions as to the possibility of a successful rollout of Mafab’s 5G services to Nigerians who have been waiting since 2021 when it won the 5G licence.
Onibanjo however tried to provide answers to questions raised by journalists during the Lagos launch, which addressed some of the concerns of Nigerians about Mafab’s 5G network rollout plan.
According to Onibanjo, Mafab has identified the areas of rollout and will be installing its Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) also known as base stations in the identified areas, as it expands its rollout plans.
Addressing the issue of market penetration, Onibanjo, said the 5G technology would help Mafab to roll out fast and achieve deeper market penetration. He said the Nigerian population would need significant huge amount of data and that the market remained open for all plays and could accommodate more players in the space. Although Onibanjo deliberately refused to mention the technical partners that Mafab is working with for its rollout plan, he however said Mafab would partner with all vendors and service providers to achieve results. “Mafab is more concerned about the service offerings and not about technical partners and vendors. What the customers need is quality service and not about the technical partners and vendors,” Onibanjo said.
Mafab, alongside with MTN, won 5G Licence in December 2021, and was expected to rollout its 5G services, but deferred its rollout plan till January 2023.
Lagos 5G Launch
Speaking at the Lagos launch, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the State Commissioner of Science and Technology, Mr. Hakeem Fahm, said Mafab’s 5G launch in Lagos would further enhance smart city projects embarked upon by the state government.
According to the governor, “The historic launch of the Mafab Communications Limited 5G Network, marks another important milestone in our nation’s technology and telecommunications journey. For us in the Lagos State government, this launch will bring us even closer to realising our dream of becoming a smart city.”
Though relatively new in the telecommunications industry, Mafab Communications Limited has recorded a milestone achievement in the tech space through the launch of the 5G Network. I want to commend the management of Mafab Communications for working hard to deliver this next level technology that out guns the 4G network by a very wide margin and as such its capabilities exceeds expectations, Sanwo-Olu said.
“The telecommunications industry has been a significant economic driver for Lagos State in particular and Nigeria as a whole, contributing more than $70 billion and helping to create over half a million jobs. The prospects of what we can accomplish with the 5G network, which is next level technology, fills me with high hopes for the future of the different sectors of our economy, most especially the security sector,” Sanwo-Olu further said.
In his welcome address, the Chairman, Mafab Communications, Dr. Mushabu Bashir, said Mcom would play a major role in advancing new technologies that would push Nigeria beyond just being a consumer of technology but a country playing an active role in developing and implementing new technologies.
“It will also enable our country take its position as a global technology hub in Africa and the world at large. Our plans are quite ambitious and realistic. With the initial rollout in six cities, Abuja, Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Kaduna, Kano and Enugu, Mcom plans rollout additional sites and cities across the country,” Bashir said.
The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented at the Lagos launch by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at NCC, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, said 5G would usher in lots of opportunities for Nigerians and the service providers, and commended Mafab for keeping to its rollout promise, after getting an extension for 5G network rollout.
Although some stakeholders present at the Lagos launch commended Mafab for rolling out its 5G network, most Nigerians are still in doubt about the capacity of Mafab to roll out 5G network across the country, since it is not a known and established telecom brand in Nigeria.
Nigerians want to know the technical partners that Mafab is working with for its rollout plan, and they equally want to know its infrastructure rollout plan and the number of customer centres it currently has across the country. Some are also asking how to sign up on the Mafab 5G network, and the number of subscribers that have signed up in the last one week of rollout.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), had in August last year, granted Mafab Communications, five months extension period for the rollout of its 5G network.
In order to beat the five months extension, which elapses this week, Mafab, last week, had a soft launch of its 5G network in Abuja, Lagos and four other cities.