5G in Nigeria: All Your Questions Answered

September 2021 Update: The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the deployment of 5G networks, starting with rollout in major cities of the country, where there is a need for high-quality broadband, between now and 2025.

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Is 5G radiation dangerous?

No; it is not. Here is a detailed article to help you understand how safe it is: How Dangerous Is 5G Radiation?

What of 5G phones?

Many smartphone manufacturers are already producing and selling 5G phones in countries with 5G coverage. If you are resident in Nigeria, you may buy a 5G phone if you travel frequently to countries with 5G coverage, where you can take advantage of their 5G mobile networks. Otherwise, you have to wait till 5G networks are active in Nigeria to be able to enjoy the benefits of 5G at a personal level.

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Is 5G being installed in Lagos?

There are some who claim that 5G technology is being installed in Lagos because they saw roads being dug and cables laid along streets in Lagos. Contrary to those reports, 5G is not a cable service; it is a wireless service and so does not require last mile cables. The cables being laid along dug streets in Lagos are fibre optic cables for providing cable Internet to residences in neighbourhoods around the state.

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As at 2020, there are no 5G networks in Lagos. As a matter of fact, there are no commercial 5G networks active in Nigeria yet.

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Is lockdown in Nigeria a cover-up for 5G?

Not at all. Licences for 5G networks have not been issued yet by NCC. As such, no operator can install 5G service yet. After NCC has had consultations with stakeholders, a public announcement for an auction of 5G licences will be done. Until the qualifying companies are issued licences, 5G service will not be available in the country. 

Is 5G technology in Nigeria yet?

mtn nigeria 5g demo virtual reality booth

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Is 5G available in Nigeria yet?

Is 5G available in Nigeria?

The first round of auctions for 5G licences has been conducted, and Mafab Communications and MTN Nigeria won, have paid their fees in full and been issued 5G licences. They are expected to commence commercial 5G services soon.

Are there 5G phones in Nigeria?

Yes; there are 5G phones in Nigeria already.

When will 5G network launch in Nigeria?

The first 5G network is expected to go live in Nigeria before the end of 2022.

In November 2019, MTN Nigeria demoed 5G network in Abuja and Calabar, with speeds peaking at 2 Gb per second. It took just 15.78 seconds to download a 2.3 GB video on the 5G network. The same file on 4G took exactly 5 minutes, 3.84 seconds.

There have been reports that Nigerian telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, has “earmarked three spectrum bands 26 GHz, 38GHz and 42GHz bands for trial in Lagos and other parts of the country” [1].

In 2018, the regulator conducted a stakeholders’ forum to develop a regulatory framework in preparation for the rollout of the fifth generation technology by 2020. Beyond that, nothing much has happened with regards to the emergence of 5G networks in Nigeria. Licences have not been issued yet, so the 2020 date doesn’t look feasible any more. MTN Nigeria’s CEO has been quoted as saying that the network is ready to roll out 5G by 2020. But the network’s Group CEO, Rob Shuster, has been reported as saying that Africa is not ready for next-generation 5G network. “What we are doing now is to learn from the technology and get our network ready for it, but I think 3G is much more relevant in most of our markets,” he said [2]. 

In 2021, the first auction was held, producing two winners, MTN and Mafab, both of whom went on to pay their fees in full in early 2022 and have been issued licences. 

NCC answers questions about 5G technology in Nigeria

Following an outbreak of various conspiracy theories about 5G in Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), released a press statement clarifying the status of 5G networks, licences, security, and health concerns in the country. 

Nigerian communications commission NCC logo

The following are answers provided by the NCC to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions about 5G:

1. What is 5G ?

Ans: 5G is a fifth generation of mobile technology which is an improvement on today’s 4G technology with enhanced capabilities. The 5G technology provides the platform for new and emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data to improve the way we live and work.

2. Is 5G available in Nigeria now?

Ans: No. There are no 5G networks in Nigeria at the moment. What we had was a trial test for 3 months, which has since been concluded.

Also, in September 2021, the Federal Executive Council approved the National Policy on 5G Networks and deployment of the technology.

3. When are we expecting 5G in Nigeria?

Ans. No exact time frame but when conditions are right and all doubts are cleared, formal announcements will be made.

4. Do we have spectrum for 5G in Nigeria?

Ans. Yes, particularly the millimetre wave spectrum from 24GHz and above are available.

5. Have we given out 5G spectrum to operators?

Ans. No. 5G spectrum will be auctioned at the appropriate time.

6. Are there 5G deployment around the world?

Ans. Yes, in countries like South Korea, China, USA, Germany, the UK, and others since middle of 2019.

7. Is the radiation from 5G different from those of 2G, 3G and 4G?

Ans. No; 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G mobile networks all use the same class of Non-ionizing Radiation. 

8. Who is going to allocate spectrum for 5G in Nigeria?

Ans. The National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) Chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has the responsibility for allocating bulk spectrum for various services.

9. Should I be concerned about 5G technology?

Ans. No, nothing to worry about. Safety and human health are top priority in the design and deployment of 5G.

10. What are the benefits of 5G ?

Ans. 5G technology will transform the world by connecting everything with everybody. 5G will create millions of jobs. It will add billions of dollars to the economy (GDP), and can solve some of our problems such as insecurity and improve governance and efficiency in the society.

11. Is 5G causing CORONAVIRUS or COVID-19?

Ans. No, there is no link whatsoever between 5G and CORONAVIRUS or COVID-19.

12. Should I ignore all the negative narratives I am hearing about 5G ?

Ans. No, but rely on information from world standards making bodies such as WHO, ITU, IEEE and industry experts for advice when in doubt.

13. Is there a standard limit set for Radiation from mobile devices?

Ans. Yes, there is radiation emission limits set by the International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) below which the radiation is considered safe for humans.

14. Are the mobile network operators in Nigeria conforming to the Radiation emissions limits?

Ans. Yes, the NCC has been regularly conducting measurements of radiation emissions from base stations across the country and they are all well below the set limits.

15. Is 5G same as Fibre cable?

Ans. No, fibre cable is a terrestrial technology for broadband that existed for decades while 5G is a new wireless mobile technology for enhanced quality of service as explained in Question 1 above.

16. Are there other sources of radiation apart from mobile Base stations?

Ans. Yes, there are other sources of radiation which include television stations, radio broadcasts stations, wifi and so on. They all belong to the class of radiation considered to be safe for humans when operated below the set limits.

17. Who owns 5G?

Ans. 5G is not owned by anybody but is a collection of technologies, standards and processes agreed at the international level by standards making bodies.

18. Has NCC issued licences for 5G in Nigeria?

Ans. No, NCC has not issued any licence for 5G in Nigeria. NCC is technology neutral, as such does not license technology but assigns spectrum to operators for deployment of any service when allocated by NFMC.

19. Why are some operators rolling out fibre optic cables during the lockdown period?

Ans. As a result of the lockdown, the amount of voice and data usage has increased by huge amounts, and there is a need to expand the network to provide optimum quality of service to users sitting at home. Telecom is also critical for information dissemination during the lockdown. 

In conclusion, there is no 5G in Nigeria yet. This page is constantly updated with new developments about 5G in Nigeria.

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3 comments

  1. So, are we going to have a stratification of phones that can run which band of 5G, as we did with 4G/LTE❓

    Or, any device that is 5G capable is good to go on ANY network ❓

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