Pantami: Nigeria’ll have widest 5G coverage in Africa by 2022

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has assured that Nigeria would have the largest Fifth Generation (5G) coverage in Africa by 2022.

Pantami gave the assurance at the auction of the 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) spectrum organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Monday in Abuja.

Two telecommunication companies are expected to emerge as winners after the auction of the 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) spectrum.

The minister noted that 5G would solve some of the security challenges in the country, since the technology provides real-time services and platforms.

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“We have already made a number of giant strides in the development of our digital economy and the development of 5G networks will further support our efforts.

“This will harness the social and economic benefits that come along with it.

“It will serve as a catalyst for the successful implementation of our National Digital Economy Development and Strategy (NDEPS) for a digital Nigeria,” he said.

He noted that the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) would ensure that the required spectrum for 5G standard was made available in the most timely manner.

He said that this would enable investment, innovation and competition in the development of 5G services for the benefit of consumers and businesses.

He said that the 5G trial was critically reviewed by stakeholders with a view to understanding its health and security implications.

“The review showed that that 5G is safe for deployment in Nigeria and will not compromise our security as a country.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), organs of the United Nations, have confirmed that the deployment will not cause any adverse health effects and are safe,” Pantami said.

The NCC had announced that three telecoms companies were qualified as approved bidders for 5G permit after meeting all requirements for participating in the licensing process.

The three qualified bidders for the 3.5 GHz spectrum are namely: MTN Nigeria, Mafab Communications Ltd and Airtel Networks Ltd, participated in the software-based simulated auction.

They used the Ascending Clock Auction System for the mock session.

Each bidder is expected to go through a bidder room, which will begin with an opening round where all bidders are expected to participate.

The Department of Security Service (DSS) would monitor the officials in each room and nobody will be allowed to leave the room until the process is over.

The Commission in November fixed the price for the bid at N75 billion ($197.4 million).

The telecommunications giants, however, asked for a slash on the licensing fee.

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