THE Federal Government has justified the decision to allow the deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) network in the country, saying that the global mobile data traffic and in Nigeria particularly, is on the upward trajectory, increasing exponentially year-on-year.
Thus, FG said there is a need for an effective and cost-efficient network expansion to ensure optimal support for this traffic growth, with global mobile data traffic reaching a monthly rate of 56.8 exabytes in 2021, as compared to 3.7 exabytes in 2015.
Besides, FG is also eyeing part of the $12.3 trillion 5G economic output by 2035 and its value chain support for approximately 22 million jobs, as estimated by Qualcomm.
According to the National Policy on Fifth-Generation (5G) Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy, made available by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday, FG said the outlook for 5G technology has led to different governments, operators, vendors and other players in the value chain racing to reap the benefits by being the first to deploy and commercialise the technology.
As such, in the areas of security, FG said 5G networks constitute a significant upgrade on existing technologies and provide an enhanced, more beneficial use case for society. It stressed that it will support higher capacity connections for consumers and different industries, adding that the new and enhanced services provided by 5G networks require high technology for the different aspects of the ecosystem.
The 28-page document noted that the plan for managing the security risks associated with 5G by the NCC will include but is not limited to collaborating with relevant agencies to assess risks and identify the core security; promote secure and reliable 5G infrastructure by regularly assessing the economic, national security and other risks to this infrastructure, including defining and maintaining the relevant core security principles for the infrastructure.
Also, the document said there will be an opportunity to monitor the economic, national security, and core security principle, which includes the best practices in cybersecurity, supply chain ecosystem management and public safety for the nation’s 5G infrastructure and other risks posed by the vulnerabilities and cyber threats to the infrastructure for proactive action.
On coverage and capacity, FG said as of December 2019, coverage data showed that most rural areas only have access to 89.8 per cent of 2G coverage; while 3G has a coverage of over 74 per cent. It disclosed that the data-centric 4G had only about 37 per cent of the population covered at the same time, with less than 10 per cent connections leading to mobile Internet penetration of about 32 per cent.
However, FG puts broadband penetration for the country as of November at 47 per cent, but said “5G can increase broadband penetration while lowering the price of data due to the large bandwidths available to the standard.”
In the document, FG advised NCC to adopt a policy including integrating 5G networks in the attainment of the National Broadband Plan; ensure that the networks are deployed to provide the recommended levels of connectivity and coverage and meet the approved quality of service metrics.
FG said there is also a need to encourage demand-driven deployment by ensuring that high consumption areas for data such as educational, health and industrial institutions are prioritized in the network roll-out and coverage plan for the 5G deployment.
According to FG, the youth population also presents an opportunity for Nigeria to focus on the development of innovative products and services, which will be significantly enhanced by the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.
“Some of such approaches include setting up of innovation and technology hubs, sponsorship of startup events and research projects for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and academia to stimulate innovation among the youth and the research community in the country,” it stated.
FG also said that a vital advantage of 5G is the number of use cases it will enable and the emerging technologies it will facilitate, stressing that this rides on its ability to provide wireless broadband services at Gigabit speeds and data connections well above 10 Gigabits per second, latency below five milliseconds and the capability to exploit any available wireless resource, from WiFi to 4G and to handle millions of connected devices simultaneously.
The document informed that 5G technology will support the development of new applications, which will connect devices and allow innovative applications and business models due to its software virtualization abilities.
According to FG, 5G is expected to enhance applications such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, drones, Advanced Communication Systems, Cloud, 3D Printing, Mixed Reality, Simulation/Imaging and Gamification.
These applications, the documents said, will impact and create new improvements in areas such as manufacturing, transportation, public services, health and social works, agriculture, energy, logistics, media and entertainment, education, information and communication, urban infrastructure, sports, consumer experience, among others.