At an event held at the Hilton Hotel in Abuja Thursday, February 17, 2022, the minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Pantami formally handed over the 3.5HZ spectrum of the fifth-generation (5G) network to the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).
“We are here today to officially allocate the 3.5GHz frequency band, specifically the 3.52GHz to 3.90GHz (or 380 MHz), to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for onward assignment to the winners of the 5G Auctioning Process,” Pantami said at the event.
In 2021, the administration started a process to make 5G available in the country, after 176 countries in the world were already actively using 5G.
The Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the NCC Board of Commissioners, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, speaking at the event said that the coast was clear for the work of making 5G available in the country to proceed.
“We have been meticulous all the way in our 5G deployment journey, from trial across selected states in the country, to review and stakeholder engagement, to approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), to the 3.5GHz spectrum auction, and up to the official launch of the national policy on 5G network by the President.
“Now we have the official allocation of the spectrum to the NCC for onward assignments to the winners. So, the coast is clear for the country to assign the specific reference in the spectrum to the winners, upon announcement of payments,” Danbatta said.
This move comes after MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications Ltd won the bid for the 5G spectrum in December 2021.
Pantami at the time, according to Premium Times said that “Nigeria will have the widest 5G coverage in Africa,” by 2022. He made this statement regardless of the fact that South Africa and Lesotho have had 5G networks since May 2020 and over 18 African countries have been experimenting with 5G as of February 2021.
While this is a significant move towards the establishment of a 5G network in the country, the journey to seeing it come to fruition is still long, and hard to predict.
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