The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has described Information Communications Technology (ICT) as an enabler of every sector pointing out that to demonstrate its seriousness on the 5G migration, the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) midwife the non-commercial trial of the 5G network in November 2019.
The Minister who was the guest speaker at the year 2020 IT Assembly organised by the Computer Professionals (Registration Council) of Nigeria “CPN”, under the theme “Adoption of 5G in Nigeria: The Technological and Regulatory Challenges”, said that the priority of the present administration is to engage in wider consultations, evaluate, review and ensure it is secured before it will be officially licensed.
He commended the CPN for the choice of the theme and taking a bold step in organising a virtual conference pointing out that COVID-19 has challenged nations to deploy more of ICT in their everyday life in other to stay safe.
Why Nigeria should cue-in 5G technology with estimated market value of $12trillion by 2035 – Osuji
In a keynote presentation titled: ‘Adoption of 5G in Nigeria: Technological and Regulatory Challenges’, the General Manager, Network Operations, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Deus Uche Osuji, stated that 5G is expected to enable a $12 trillion worth of economic activities by 2035.
He projects that by 2025, three per cent of one billion connection in sub-Saharan Africa will be 5G.
According to Mr. Osuji, N28, N77/78 and N258 5G spectrum for Region 1: Africa and Europe has been adopted at the World Radiocommunications 2019 (WRC-19).
Osuji said for a successful 5G deployment in Nigeria, there should be spectrum strategy, mop-up and allocation, urging regulatory bodies to strike a balance on the use of sub 6G for existing technologies and licensing them for 5G as well as approving new spectrum.
The Keynote Speaker said that Nigeria must learn from the first adopters, in addition to trials, study and evaluation involving all stakeholders; synergy of all government agencies and declaration of telecom as critical national infrastructure are vital for the national broadband strategy.
He stated that in the next few years the prices of 5G devices are expected to fall, however, in line with the national broadband strategy, encouraging in-country device manufacturing will reduce the cost of 5G devices in Nigeria
CPN recommits to fight against quackery
Earlier in a welcome address at the IT Assembly held virtually due to Covid-19 pandemic, the President and Chairman of the council, Professor Charles Uwadia said quackery remained a challenge in the IT profession and urged the new members not to take anything for granted regarding their knowledge of the profession.
The President however urged them to channel their energy and talents on positive things that would be of benefit to various organizations and the nation, pointing out that CPN decided to focus on 5G technology because of the adoption.
CPN backs FG on 5G adoption; calls for synergy among agencies
According to Prof Uwadia, 5G, which has been touted as the next frontier of investment, has the potentials to drive economic growth and social inclusion in the country’s Information Communication Technology Sector, which contributes more than fossil Oil and Gas to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
He, however, argued that the adoption of the 5G network is not without its own challenges, and this was the reason behind 2020 IT Professionals’ Assembly, which hinged on the technological and regulatory challenges associated with the adoption of the 5G.
Prof Uwadia highlighted some of the challenges, bothered the future of frequency bands, deployment and coverage, device support, security and privacy, Digital Infrastructure challenges, outdated regulatory policies, commitment to actions that promote the long-term growth of the digital economy, misgivings and health concerns against it, among other issues.
The yearly IT Professionals’ Assembly has created a niche for itself as a gathering of Information Technology professionals and practitioners in Nigeria and Diaspora with the objective of discussing and strategizing on emergent issues in Information Technology in order to come out with recommendations and decisions that will impart positively on the industry and the nation.
“The yearly Assembly has become an instrument of promoting and uplifting the profile of the profession. Also, this platform has assisted in raising the profile and enhances the visibility of the profession in Nigeria. I am of the firm opinion that we are gradually gravitating towards a time in which Information Technology will not only be the driver of operations in the private and public sector of the economy, but will also contribute meaningfully to the Gross Domestic Product as well as being a foreign exchange earner for the economy.
“When we selected this theme in September 2019, COVID-19 was virtually unknown to the world. We also never anticipated that there was going to be so much conspiratory theories surrounding 5G networks. However, it was apparent that 5G was going to play a critical role in moving the nation rapidly toward a digital economy.
“Fifth-generation wireless (5G) is the latest iteration of cellular technology, engineered to greatly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. 5G is important because it has the potential to support millions of devices at ultrafast speeds; it is also capable of transforming the lives of people around the world.
“Other advantages of the 5G network include, improving accessibility, extending the reach of mobile broadband, improving safety, health and security, support for business innovative ambitions, creating new markets, transforming supply chain management, and creating smarter and more efficient manufacturing sector.
“There is no doubt that the adoption of 5G, which has been touted as the next frontier of investment, has the proficiencies and potentials to drive economic growth and social inclusion. Presently, Nigeria’s Information Communication Technology Sector contributes more than Oil and Gas to the GDP. To demonstrate its seriousness on the 5G migration, the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) midwifed the non-commercial trial of the 5G network in November 2019.
However, the adoption of the 5G network, he said, is not without its own challenges.
“It is for this reason that the 2020 IT Professionals’ Assembly we looked at the technological and regulatory challenges associated with the adoption of 5G viz-a-viz the future of frequency bands, deployment and coverage, device support, security and privacy, Digital Infrastructure challenges, outdated regulatory policies, removal of impediments to the expansion of digital infrastructure, commitment to actions that promote the long-term growth of the digital economy, misgivings and health concerns against it, among other issues”, Prof. Uwadia added.