In line with global requirements of communications, Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications, said Nigeria was ready to deploy 5G network across the country to ease network flow.
Pantami said this on Monday at the ongoing 39th Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) holding in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).
GITEX is a global technology exhibition that brings together over 200,000 trade visitors, investors, innovators, IT experts, countries, Information Communication Technology startups from over 145 countries of the world, to share trends of ICT and ways of advancing technology innovations.
Nigeria’s participation in GITEX, which is spearheaded by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is a week long programme holding from Oct. 6 to Oct. 10.
5G mobile network is the next-generation standard for wireless communication, set to start taking over the mobile network environment in 2019. 5G delivers vastly increased capacity, lower latency and faster speed.
The minster said “Nigeria is ready for 5G network but preparation is key. We are ready but need deployment and before that we need pre-deployment and post-deployment.
“We are working to handle the challenges of pre-deployment but the approval has been given for the trial.
“Nigeria is not yet into the 5G network deliberately. Some of the telecom operators are ready to deploy the 5G network but the proposal was put on hold, so we can be productive and proactive.
“There could be potential challenges that could obstruct 5G network, which include regulations. You cannot just rush into it without preparing your ground,’’ he said.
He said that the Federal Government is engaging some security agencies like the National Intelligence Agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Nigeria Police, among others to ensure a seamless process, while establishing regulations on deploying the 5G network.
The minister also said that 5G network cannot be deployed across the country yet due to some gaps in citizens being unable to access 2G, 3G and 4G networks.
“At the pace we are moving, some places do not even have 2G, there are over 200 cluster areas in the country and with this you cannot say we can move to 5G when some people are yet to access 2G, 3G.
“The gaps are already there, it is not a new one but you cannot delay advancement because other people are not benefiting, what we should do is to bridge the gap.’’
He added that Nigeria was not doing badly in technology, however, patriotism and confidence in indigenous products and services was lacking.
Pantami recalled that a Nigerian in the UK was the first person globally to develop, build and design first real time 5G network dedicated to self-organised networks in the UK, using general purpose processors.
According to him, we usually fail to deploy what we produce, we are so much addicted to foreign products and whenever we hear anything local it appears to us as inferior.
“That perception of undermining our effort is what we need to change.’’
Newsmen report that Nigeria Postal Service, Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited, Nigeria Petroleum Exchange Commission, Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board are some agencies representing the country at GITEX.