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NCC Signs MoU With Nigcomsat On 5G Deployment


Nigerian Communications Satellite, The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) on the use of C-band spectrum for 5G services in Nigeria.

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, while speaking at the occasion of the MoU signing on Wednesday, said For optimal 5G service performance, an average of contiguous 100 MHz of spectrum in the C-band is required by an Operator.

He said NigComSat could make some adjustment to its satellite operation and release part of its Spectrum holding in the band to facilitate the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.

He said the MoU would facilitate the release of contiguous bandwidth in one of the most suitable Frequency Spectrum band(s) for early deployment of fifth Generation Network (5G) services in the largest market in sub-Saharan Africa.

“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 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 overemphasised.

“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.

“The Commission initiated a negotiation with NIGCOMSAT whom in our estimate could make some adjustment to its satellite operation and release part of its Spectrum holding in the band to facilitate the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.

Professor Danbatta said 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 Managing Director of NigComSat, Dr Abimbola Alale, commended all stakeholders involved in facilitating the MOU.

The Chairman Board of Commissioners of the NCC, Professor Adeolu Akande, said 5G services have already been deployed in the United States of America, South Korea, the United Kingdom, China, South Africa, Kenya and many more.

He said telecommunication evolution from inception to date has led to improvement in user experience witnessed from 2G, 3G and later 4G.

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

“In doing so, it enables new use cases and applications that will positively impact different sectors and improve efforts towards achieving Digital Economies.

“It does not only offer enhanced broadband and ultra-low, ultra-reliable latency communications but also provide the massive machine-type communications, where a lot of devices will seamlessly connect and independently interact with the internet without human intervention. Thus, enabling several Smart City initiatives.

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