5G is on a move in Africa

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed that it has started a trial testing for its 5G network, which is expected to be rolled out in 2020 with the 26GHz, 38GHz, and 42GHz spectrum bands, beginning with the Eko Atlantic Project.

Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, mentioned that the 5G broadband data will drive connectivity and allow humans to interact with connected devices to check their health status and remotely control home appliances without physical contact.

Although he acknowledged that there are challenges in infrastructure rollout and spectrum availability in the country, he maintained that the NCC was already working to address the challenges.


During the week, MTN became the first African telecommunication company to join the IoT World Alliance. The IoT is a collaboration of mobile network operators aimed at running globally connected businesses through smart business decisions.

MTN Group Executive for Enterprise Business, Oliver Fortuin, said they believe in making global connectivity cheaper and simpler and also that the partnership supports the efforts to deliver on core beliefs to connect everyone to modern life.

In the same vein, IoT World Alliance Chairman, Mark van den Berg, said how pleased they were to have MTN on board and hope to leverage on the scale and reach that the network has in Africa and parts of the Middle East.

Stressing the importance of an enabling regulatory framework and protecting telecommunications infrastructure, Pantami stated that on the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari, he has signed a draft Executive Order declaring telecommunications infrastructure ‘critical national infrastructure’ which has been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation for review.

In addition to the bandwidth increase for seamless video streaming or the next social application playground, 5G technology supports real-time, ultra-reliable communication between massive numbers of devices.

It creates vast possibilities in innovation and transformation, and will immensely improve quality of living, as users gain a better experience of services and technology in general – from financial services, healthcare, education, and even public service delivery to more leisurely purposes, such as video streaming services, gaming, and even self-driving cars.

“5G offers tremendous benefits in terms of speed, latency (fewer delays), efficiency and security. This pilot offers a unique opportunity for us to explore use-cases and applications in Nigeria, and we are excited about its potential for our country and our company”  noted  Mohammed Rufai,  Chief Technical Officer, MTN Nigeria.

Following the successful demonstration in Abuja, the 5G-demo train moves to Calabar and Lagos. In addition to which 5G trials will be run in four other cities across the country. The 5G trial will run for three months utilizing the trial spectrum allocated to MTN by the NCC.

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