The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that it is inevitably committed to examining the pros and cons of the controversies surrounding COVID-19 and 5G technology.
It said the socio-economic benefits of the expansion in telecommunications capabilities it embarked upon would be of immense benefit to the country, especially with the rollout of the 5G technology, which currently is being test-run in about 40 countries.
Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta who stated this in a keynote address he presented at the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA) Virtual Innovative Tech Forum Webinar on Wednesday, added that this development will be a significant upgrade for networks and will be the backbone for the ICT industry post-pandemic recovery.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) had said that 5G technology is expected to connect people, things, data, applications, transport systems and cities in smart networked communications environments.
5G is meant to seamlessly connect a massive number of embedded sensors in virtually everything through the ability to scale down in data rates, power, and mobility – providing extremely lean and low-cost connectivity solutions.
Danbatta who was represented at the NITRA event by the Commission’s Director of Technical Standards & Network Integrity, Engineer Bako Wakil, said the Commission is vigorously working to establish a policy for 5G with multi-sector Stakeholders.
He listed such multi-sector Stakeholders to include the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), The Academia, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Industry Consultative Advisory Forum (ICAF) and a host of others.
“Our goal is that when the Federal Government is able to establish a policy that will drive 5G, all the benefits of 5G will be properly harnessed by Nigerians.
“The Commission is also working to ensure the safety of 5G networks in Nigeria by having multi-stakeholder approach in environmental impact analysis on the use of 5G and the Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) impact on humans in Nigeria.
“Once this is done, Nigerians can safely utilize 5G and reap all the economic, human and material benefits of 5G,” Danbatta said.
The EVC noted that the economic benefits to 5G to Nigeria post coronavirus pandemic will be huge, especially as almost all businesses and activities of government are migrating and offering their services online.
“5G will enable a new kind of network for Nigerians designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices.
“It will usher in the era of Internet of Things and faster innovation in Artificial Intelligence applications,” he said.
Nigeria’s vibrant youth population, Danbatta said, stands to benefit immensely from the deployment of 5G as it will offer technopreneurs, technology enthusiasts, SMEs and Tech-startups the platform to expand and network with other global players on a scale that has never been witnessed before.
“With high speeds, superior reliability and negligible latency, 5G will expand the mobile ecosystem into new realms.
“5G promises to impact every industry, creating safer transporting systems, improving access to healthcare for our rural populace, increasing output from the agriculture sector, and digitized logistics among others.
Making reference to a landmark economy study conducted by Qualcomm, Danbatta said 5G will affect the global economy and drive growth exponentially.
According to the study, “5G’s full economic effect will likely be realized across the globe by 2035 – supporting a wide range of industries and potentially enabling up to $13.2 Trillion worth of goods and services. This impact is much greater than previous network generations.”
Danbatta told his audience that 5G promises to provide increased speed and bandwidth as well as providing deeper coverage to reach people in rural or challenging locations.
In addition, 5G will provide strong security for the various sectors of government and private organizations.
“Due to its sheer scale and scope, the ITU predicts 5G will accelerate the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) from affordable and clean energy to zero hunger,” he said.
While re-assuring that the NCC is a passionate partner in the journey to reposition Nigeria’s telecom industry, the NCC boss implored that this symbiotic relationship between the Commission and NITRA must be sustained in order for Nigeria to come out stronger from the Covid-19 global pandemic.