Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed that it has commenced necessary processes to develop a policy for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria.
The process of developing this policy will involve a public inquiry which will involve relevant stakeholders including the Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy, Office of the National Security Adviser, the National Assembly, Ministry of Health.
Others included in this process are Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Medical Association, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Mobile Network Operators, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, amongst others.
The commission which made this known on Thursday through a press statement signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr Henry Nkemadu, explained that the technology has proven to be safe to human health and beneficial for socio-economic development.
‘The Nigerian Communications Commission is mandated by Section 4(q) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (the NCA), to prepare and implement programmes and plans that promote and ensure the development of the communications industry and the provision of communications
services in Nigeria.
‘Further to this mandate, the Commission considered that the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology will be beneficial for socio-economic development of Nigeria. The technology is an advancement of existing mobile technologies (2G 4G) with enhanced capabilities providing new and enhanced mobile communications services.’
The technology regulator went on explaining that the deployment of 5G will consequently promote the National Digital Economy thereby improving the way Nigerians live and work. It stressed that the technology will bring improvements in Manufacturing, Transportation, Health, Agriculture, Media and Entertainment, Education amongst others.
The commission went on to assure the public of the measures it has already taken in testing the technology, saying: ‘5G has been deployed commercially and in use in some countries. As with the previous technologies, the International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has classified radiation from 5G as non-ionizing and therefore safe for human beings.
‘Following global trends in telecommunications development of 5G, the Commission in November 2019, embarked on a Proof of Concept (trial) with MTN in six locations using different equipment vendors for a period of three (3) months. Relevant stakeholders including members of the security agencies were involved in the trial.
‘The trial was conducted to enable the Commission to assess the performance of the technology in comparison with existing technologies, evaluate compliance to health and safety guidelines and also use the lessons learnt to guide Policy towards commercial deployment.
‘The trial which was conducted on the 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands was Successfully completed with a performance showing improvement of 5G over the previous technologies with the radiation levels well below the specified human safety guidelines. The equipment used in the trials has long been decommissioned in all the locations.’
The commission said finally that the consultative document is currently being developed and will be shared with the stakeholders and the general public, following which a Stakeholder Consultative Forum will be held.
‘Accordingly, the details of the proposed public consultation will be widely published in due course. 5G will not be deployed in Nigeria until the Policy is concluded and approved,”‘ NCC concluded.