Nigeria is ready for 5G network ― NCC

THE National Communications Commission (NCC) has said everything has been put in place in Nigeria to upgrade to 5G network.

The Commissioner of Stakeholders Management, Sunday Dare who disclosed this while interacting with communication correspondents in Abuja, also said that other telecoms in Nigeria would also be listed at the Stock Exchange.

He said NCC had engaged stakeholders to come up with a roadmap on 5G, he said the Commission had also opened consultations on the spectrum for drones and it’s leading discussions on the deployment of emerging technologies.

“NCC did not just sit back. Apart from constantly engaging with state governors through NEC of Nigeria Governors Forum, we have also stepped in directly by licensing InfraCos to provide fibre bandwidth on open-access bases. We are providing them with a subsidy to mitigate their costs.

“We expect this to start bearing fruit shortly, but the major thing is the support of the state governors. That is critical. Nigeria is a federation of 36 states; we cannot dictate what to charge for RoW to them, we can only persuade them and hope they see the superior merit and long-term benefits of making their states receptive to telecoms infrastructure,” he said.

He said with the successful listing of MTN on the stock market, it was expected that Airtel which had already announced its intention, would soon be enlisted on Nigerian Stock Market, along side Globacom and 9Mobile.

It would be recalled that MTN had filed an application for public listing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on May 7, 2019. Bharti Airtel also on March 21, 2019, opened discussion on NSE listing, remaining Globalcom and 9Mobile.

On why landline has not been restored, Dare said that though the country needed a return of landline, it would require federal might and political will of the government to bring it back.

Furthermore, he explained that the National Broadband Plan had both mobile and fixed components, which NCC is exerting action in both directions.

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“First, some people who should know better are making it seem like a direct policy decision to neglect fixed broadband. This is unfair and untrue. It is either based on ignorance or mischief.

‘’The fact is that the National Broadband Plan has both mobile and fixed components, and NCC is exerting action in both directions. Fixed broadband requires you to lay cables. To do that, you need Right of Way Permits, which are controlled by state governments.”

Speaking on the ongoing harmonisation of identity registration, the Commissioner said a working group, which includes National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), NCC and other accredited agencies of government, were currently working to harmonise the National ID database with the SIM registration database.

He said soon, citizens would be able to register their sims by simply showing their NIN number, and vice versa. “This means SIM registration and NIN process will be collapsed and conjoined. This requires clearing a number of regulatory, technical and other hurdles, but we are well on the way,” he added.