Lack of infrastructure can slow down 5G rollout – ATCON

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Lagos, Ibadan.

The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) on Tuesday said that lack of sufficient infrastructure to drive new technologies could slow down  rollout  of 5G network.

The President of ATCON, Mr Tony Izuagbe, told Abuja365 in Lagos that the 5G technology rollout needed more infrastructure and more connectivity between the infrastructure.

Abuja365 reports that in telecommunication, 5G is the fifth-generation technology standard for cellular networks which cellular phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019.

It is the successor to 4G technology that provides connectivity to most current mobile phones.

Izuagbe said that the rate of adoption of the 5G technology would depend on availability of the infrastructure that would support it

Abuja365 reports that, with the issuance of 5G licences to successful bidders of the 3.5GHz spectrum by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), 5G-licensed telecoms operators have continued to roll out their 5G networks across the country.

The operators had made a lot of promises to the consumers about the benefits of 5G, also known as the fifth generation network.

MTN had in September 2022 rolled out the 5G mobile network, Mafab also rolled-out in 2022.

Airtel rolled  out its 5G network in four states in June 2023, with a promise to cover the entire states in Nigeria by the end of the year.

Izuagbe toldAbuja365 :  “There is enthusiasm about the 5G.

“I remember I was in a shop one day, and somebody walked into the shop and asked: ‘Do you sell 5G’?

“The awareness is there, and operators are getting a lot of requests.

“However, the infrastructure available will determine if more people will push to 5G. You know it is a factor of demand and supply.”

According to him,  the 5G network requires almost three times as many base stations as the 4G technology will require.

” Also, it will require a lot of connectivity to all those base stations,’’ the ATCON president said.

He said that the 5G rollout was still in its first phase in Nigeria.

He said that there was no stop date for technology roll out, noting that even the 4G technology was still being rolled out.

Izuagbe said that the 5G initial roll out was concentrated on major cities such as Lagos, Abuja, and Kano.

The ATCON boss noted that the 5G technology would enable the consumer to have multiple devices connected to the internet.

“This is one of the things that the technology is developed for,” he said.

He added that the 5G network would enable advanced technology, especially in areas with high concentration of organisations leveraging technology and high data usage.

He said that the 5G technology was a great enabler, particularly as the world had moved into the era of the Internet of Things.

“We are getting to an era where even your common household appliances become connected to the internet; 5G will enable that.

“There are also other things that 5G can enable.

“For example, when you talk about smart city, smart homes and having Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras around the country, all these can be 5G-enabled.

“The 5G technology is for faster speed, more communication between devices, faster upload, smart city-enabled – enabling more devices to the cloud – and faster broadband spread to allow more devices on the network.

“As we speak, in China, the 6G technology has already been deployed due to high data usage and heavy technological advancement,’’ he said.

Izuagbe lauded Nigerians for enthusiasm about technology and for being fast  adopters.

On deployment of 5G network at the grassroots, the ATCON president said that proliferation of services was more important.

He said that ensuring that everybody, whether in the urban or rural centre, had access to communication should be the focus.

“What we should be looking at is proliferation of services so that everybody has access to communication.

That is the first step. I won’t say 5G is not important or 4G. Access to communication is what we should be thinking about.

“We should not be carried away with whether the 5G technology is reaching the grassroots;  rather, we should be asking ourselves what the grassroots people need or what  communication is needed at that level.

“The issue is what the people need,” he said.

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