Deployment of 5G Services: NCC, NIGCOMSAT sign MOU

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By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Nigerian Communications Commission () and the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) on Wednesday signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on clearing of C-band to facilitate the release of spectrum for commercial deployment of 5G in Nigeria.

The signing ceremony took place at the conference hall of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Maitama Abuja.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Adeolu Akande, the Board Chairman of , represented by Chief Uche Onwude, informed that since last quarter of 2019, several administrations have begun to license Spectrum for commercial deployment of 5G. As we speak today, 5G have already been deployed in United States of America, South Korea, United Kingdom, China, South Africa, and many more.

He hinted that the global impact of 4G brought about increases in mobile usage and network performance. Adding that 5G will build on this momentum, bringing substantial network improvements, including higher connection speeds, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.

In his words: “Spectrum plays a critical role in realising the full extent of these new capabilities. Thus, 5G’s full socio- impact is dependent on access to a variety of spectrum . These Spectrum will play a key role in meeting the demand for many enhanced mobile data as well as new wireless broadband use cases such as remote object manipulation, industrial automation, virtual and augmented reality and next-generation connectivity for vehicles.

He said that the signing of the memorandum by the Management of NigComSat and is a bold step in the right direction to release contagious quantum of Spectrum in the 3.5GHz band for early deployment of 5G. This type of collaboration seeks to ensure synergy amongst agencies under the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

He therefore commended the efforts of the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC)/CEO of NCC Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and his counterpart the Director(MD) of NigComSat Ms. Abimbola Alale for taking an informed decision in national interest which will consequently foster the deployment of 5G and enable Nigeria tap its full potential.

In his speech on the subject, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta informed that amongst the Frequency Spectrum bands allocated to 5G by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU, the C-band (3.4GHz – 3.9GHz) stands out because its balancing point between coverage and capacity provides the perfect environment for 5G connectivity.

The C-band, he said, is most suitable and appropriate for immediate deployment of 5G services taking into consideration availability of device ecosystem with 60-70% of global commercial 5G network deployment currently in the band, thus the importance of this Spectrum for early deployment of 5G services in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized.

“For optimal 5G service performance, an average of contiguous 100 MHz of spectrum in the C-band is required by an Operator. However in Nigeria, only 120 MHz of the band (3.4 – 3.52) GHz is available for mobile services while the remaining 680 MHz (3.52 – 4.2) GHz of the band is used by NigComSat (NG-1R) satellites, Danbatta said.”

Prof Garba Danbatta appreciated the Management of the NigComSat under the distinguished leadership of Dr. Abimbola Alale for demonstrating that the interest of our dear country is paramount to our organizational or personal interest.

He also intimated that the two agencies have been in discussions on how to relocate the operations of NG-1R to the standard C-band 300MHz (3.9GHz – 4.2GHz) potion of the band, which is more suitable in terms of Satellite service offering because end user terminal are cheaper there, while leaving the non-standard C-band 400MHz (3.5GHz – 3.9GHz) portion of the band for 5G use. The cost of relocating the NG-1R is expected to be offset from the proceeds of the auction of the 5G Spectrum, he added.

The highlight of the ocassion was the signing of the memorandum by Executive Vice Chairman (EVC)/CEO of NCC Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and his counterpart the Director(MD) of NigComSat Ms. Abimbola Alale.

The signing of the memorandum was witnessed by the top management teams of the two .