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Nigeria could become the Third country in Africa to deploy 5G services, as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) facilitate the release of contiguous bandwidth in one of the most suitable Frequency Spectrum band(s).

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.

Recall that in 2019, Nigeria was the first country in West Africa to carry out a 5G live trial demonstration, done by MTN Nigeria in Abuja, Calabar, and Lagos.

Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, at a signing of MoU with the NigComSat for a release of C-band spectrum in use by NigComSat (NG-1R) satellites for 5G deployment, said a negotiation has been initiated for some adjustment of NigComSat (NG-1R) satellites operation to release part of its Spectrum holding in the band.

He 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 is 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. The two agencies have developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing all the aspect of this undertaking.

According to him, “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 over emphasized.”

5G has the potential to provide 20X faster data speeds and carries a massive amount of data for a large number of simultaneous users. Users in high-density areas – like airports, stadiums or urban areas – can still experience the fast speeds and low latency of 5G service.

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