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MTN Nigeria earmarks US$1.45bn to expand broadband and latch on to 5G opportunity

Nigeria , 23 Sep 2021

MTN Nigeria is eager to participate in Nigeria’s 5G licensing process.

Mohammed Rufai, MTN Nigeria’s Chief Technical Officer, told ITWeb Africa that the operator is excited about the opportunities that 5G represents and announced plans to invest US$1.45-billion in expanding broadband access.

The operator said its plans will rely on the country’s telecommunications regulator, the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), which it described as the major determinant of 5G roll out in Nigeria.

According to Rufai, MTN Nigeria’s 5G service roll out plans will be guided by the regulator’s guidelines and timelines. He noted that the company can only begin to roll out 5G services in Nigeria when spectrum is made available and licences are issued.

“Having said that, we are excited about the opportunities that 5G represents, and eager to participate in the licensing process. The speed and latency that 5G technology avails users is very impressive, and opens up a wealth of possibilities to leverage the Internet of Things and digital services in general,” said Rufia.

According to Rufia, 5G will make businesses more efficient and enable consumers to have access to more information at very high data transfer speeds.

“We demonstrated some of those capabilities to customers and other stakeholders when we worked with the federal government to trial 5G in Abuja, Lagos and Calabar in 2019.”

The Nigerian government on its own has also expressed enthusiasm about 5G roll out in Nigeria. Early September, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, announced the government’s approval of 5G at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting held on 8 September.

He said 5G roll out in Nigeria will be in phases, starting with major cities where there is need for high quality broadband.

The NCC has been saddled with the task of publishing an implementation roadmap for the deployment of 5G across the country with service roll-out obligations; the commission has also been directed to commence the development of relevant regulatory instruments to address issues related to health, safety and others to drive effective implementation of the roll-out of 5G by operators.

The government also revealed that the country’s National Frequency Management Council will soon release 5G spectrum to the NCC for auction to operators.

Rufai also revealed that MTN is aiming to expand broadband access in Nigeria with plans to invest about US$1.45-billion (NGN600-billion) over the next three years. He said this is in support of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan

“Further, it is important to remember our ultimate vision of ensuring all Nigerians experience the benefit of a modern connected life. In this regard, we are equally committed to the deployment of a mix of mobile wireless communication technologies towards ensuring the widest possible coverage for all Nigerians,” he added.

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