THOUGH Nigeria successfully auctioned the 3.5GHz spectrum for the deployment of the Fifth-Generation (5G) network, the deadline for the complete payment of the $273.6 million licence fees is due today, February 24, by MTN and Mafab Communications.

    While it has been confirmed that MTN has completed payment as far back as January 2022, the industry expects the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to officially confirm MTN’s payment and announce if Mafab has completed the payment, anytime from now.

   Besides, the Global System for Mobile telecommunications Association (GSMA) has reiterated calls for governments across the world to prioritise making mid-band spectrum available for 5G.

   GSMA, while backing services using the frequencies to contribute $610 billion to global GDP by 2030, noted that this would be subject to availability of sufficient allocations.

    The telecoms industry association made this prediction known in its socio-economic benefits of mid-band 5G services report released yesterday.

    It projected 5G spectrum in the mid-band range would drive a significant proportion of the $960 billion socio-economic value created by the latest network technology.

   Among the areas the GSMA cited as having the greatest financial benefits are services including health and education, manufacturing and smart cities.

    However, the GSMA warned that $360 billion of the GDP growth expected to be fuelled by mid-band 5G could be lost if spectrum was constrained to levels currently available, noting as demand grows increased network congestion and deployment costs could “stifle” the technology.

    It added that network quality would suffer without sufficient spectrum, limiting 5G adoptions and hampering its economic impact.

    The report analyses the impact of various government spectrum policies on economic development strategies, which the organisation highlighted as a key area of its ministerial programme during MWC22 Barcelona, which runs from February 28 to March 3.

    MEANWHILE, the deadline handed to the winners of the 3.5GHz spectrum license is due today and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is expected to announce if the winners (MTN and Mafab Communications) met the payment deadline and subsequently handed them the license. The operators have within 12 months of completing license fees to roll out 5G service in the country.

       Nonetheless, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, has said that the rollout of the 5G network across the country will require more infrastructure.

   A statement quoted the NCC boss as saying this during an in-house interview at the commission’s head office in Abuja.

   It read in part, “Concerning NCC’s pioneering strides in the deployment of Fifth Generation network in Sub-Saharan Africa, Danbatta explained that the rollout of 5G network in Nigeria will require more infrastructure for the service to reach all parts of the country.

  “He called for concerted efforts and unwavering commitment of all stakeholders for the nation to achieve steady, timely and accurate deployment of 5G services because of its benefits to individuals, businesses and the growth of the country.”

   The NCC EVC said that inadequate infrastructure had been a major challenge in the country’s attempt to ensure desired broadband penetration.

   Danbatta noted that one of the identified gaps to robust connectivity was the fact that inadequate infrastructure remained a bane to achieving desired broadband penetration to boost access to services that will enhance economic growth and development.


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