Nigerian Government Approves Policy for Deployment of 5G Network, Tasks NCC on Speedy Implementation

Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has announced that the Federal Government of Nigeria has approved a National Policy on the deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) Network in the country. The Minister has therefore tasked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to commence immediate implementation of the 5G plan for the country.

The Minister made the announcement after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held in Abuja on September 8, 2021, saying the roll-out of the 5G will be carried out in phases beginning with major cities in the country where there is need for high quality broadband.

The NCC is hereafter expected to publish an implementation roadmap for the deployment of 5G across the country with service roll-out obligations as well as to commence the development of relevant regulatory instruments to address issues related to health, safety and others to drive the effective implementation of the roll-out of 5G by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

The National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), chaired by the Minister, will, in the nearest future, release the 5G Spectrum to the NCC for auction to MNOs that will need the spectrum to facilitate the 5G deployment.

Following approval for the policy for deployment of 5G technology and the order to the NCC to publish an implementation roadmap for its deployment, Dr. Pantami called on the NCC to prepare for immediate and effective implementation of the policy.

The Minister made the call when the Management of the NCC, led by its Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, paid him a courtesy visit in his office on September 9, 2021.

The Minister said following the approval of the 5G national policy, which was a product of extensive and wide consultation, “the next big task ahead of the Commission is to begin immediate implementation to push forward the country’s march to increased digital transformation of the economy.

Dr. Pantami commended the Commission on the launch of its Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVP) 2021-2025, the ‘NCC Global Connect’ podcast and compendium of EVC’s speeches and presentations, added that the SVP would be a veritable vehicle to give the needed impetus to the implementation of the 5G plan.

The Minister said “The NCC needs to ensure total implementation of the SVP. We should try to have timelines and ensure to deliver on them. Developing the Vision Plan is commendable but ensuring diligent implementation is even more important. So, the EVC should commit to total implementation of the SVP”.

Speaking earlier, Dr. Danbatta said the purpose of the visit was to appreciate the Minister for his immense support and active role during the launch of three projects by the Commission and to commend him for the important role he played in securing the final approval of the 5G national plan by the Federal Government.

Describing the Federal Government’s approval of 5G national plan as “a development of unprecedented and profound historical significance to the Commission, telecom industry and other economic sectors,” Danbatta assured of NCC’s determination to diligently implement the 5G plan for the overall socio-economic benefits of Nigeria.

Dr. Danbatta was accompanied on the courtesy visit by senior Management staff of the Commission including the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu; Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, Josephine Amuwa; Director, Corporate Planning, Strategy and Risk Management, Felix Adeoye; Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde; and the Director, Human Capital and Administration, Usman Malah.

The approval of the 5G Plan is expected to boost Nigeria’s promising 5G Plan, which has the objectives of ensuring efficient assignment of spectrum for 5G deployment, creating an enabling environment for investment in the telecom industry, ensuring effective deployment of 5G to cover major urban cities by 2025, among others.

The 5G spectrum is expected to facilitate several emerging technologies, generate innovative use cases, spur significant socio-economic growth and create jobs.