Africa and 5G Network

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Nigeria and other parts of Africa may be choosing enhanced mobile broadband application as the 5G network is set to be launched in the continent in 2020. The enhanced mobile broadband application is considered to be more beneficial to Nigeria and Africa for the 5G network than the low ultra-reliable, low latency applications and the Machine to Machine application.

During the just-concluded ITU Telecoms World in Budapest, Hungary, the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigeria Communication Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the reason for this is because African countries are trying to roll out broadband infrastructure for broadband applications, so this will ensure necessary infrastructure are put in place.

In readiness for the 5G evolution, Nigeria and other countries within the region are trying to reserve the spectrum for the roll-out of broadband services, specifically, the focus is on 26, 38 and 42GHz. These frequencies exist and are not licensed to any other application

The licensing process will take off as standardization process to be completed at the World Radio Communication (WRC) in Egypt.

Another important step that African countries are taking is to address new forms of social anxiety occasioned by this emerging technology, 5G. There’s also the regulatory anxiety. And therefore to do that, because of the practice in the past, every service deployed is normally preceded by proof of concept trial. And the 5G is not an exception.  Definitely there’s going to be trial.

The trial is to be able see what are the challenges, including security, levels of radiation, power density, whether this is within the acceptable limits provided for the international non-ionization radio regulatory agencies as well as to ensure whatever factors that need to come to terms with preparatory to commercial deployment of services, which are identified in readiness for commercial roll-out of services using 5G. One of the major concern in the trial is the security for purpose of advising on the elements of the security concerns to be accommodated in the regulatory frameworks that will guide the deployment of the service if it eventually becomes commercialised.

Good a thing for the preparation is that African countries are exchanging information and experiences on what they are seeing, the promise of the 5G rollout in the area of enhanced Broadband mobile services in individual countries as well as addressing the anxiety of the citizens by giving information that will make them receptive to the branch of important technology that is emerging. The spectrum is being reserved in many countries, there are trials going on in many African countries.

However, there are concerns as to whether the levels of radiation coming from domestic appliances and devices conform to the non-ionization standard for devices, though the manufacturers are saying that they are safe, but the regulators will need to check so that subscribers of this new service can be assured.

Again, the role of infrastructure and spectrum to 5G is very important. To ensure this, NCC in Nigeria divided the country into seven zones, and each zone has been assigned an infrastructure company to deploy broadband infrastructure. Also, there is the excellent initiative of spectrum trading, meaning; one just don’t hang on to a spectrum that’s not going to be put to use to deploy services. You can trade the spectrum, lease it or transfer it to another operator.

 

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