MTN Nigeria Plc yesterday announced that Nigeria has become the first country in West Africa to try 5G technology and applications.
It was the outcome of a collaboration between the Ministry of Communications Technology and Digital Economy, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), MTN and Huawei (Abuja), ZTE (Calabar) and Ericsson (Lagos.)
In a statement made available to newsmen, MTN said it was honoured to host the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami; the Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, and the Chairman, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Garba Danbatta; House of Representatives, Committee on Communications, Honourable Akeem Adeyemi at the launch event, without whom the demo would not have been possible.
“This immersive demo and experience will travel across three Nigerian cities to showcase the capabilities of 5G and its potential to enable economic growth, and social inclusion”, the statement added.
The telecom giant explained that “by working together, MTN and its partner – Huawei – were able to provide a glimpse into a range of 5G use cases and applications at a test Lab designed to show proof-of-concept in Abuja. Standing alongside former Super Eagles captain, Joseph Yobo, attendees got to match their skills against an artificial-intelligence powered goalie; immerse themselves in a high-speed, low-latency virtual reality gaming world; experience ultra-high speed streaming and downloads on 5G devices; and engage in discourse with life-like holographic projections.
“The 3D holographic communication has potential applications for education, medical imaging, video conferencing and gaming, and requires about four times as much data as a streamed 4K video. That means that 5G is best suited to support this kind of application on a mobile network and to enable its use. It also demonstrates how 5G has the potential to support key socio-economic objectives Nigeria has set for itself, and to be a key contributor to the emergence of a fully digital economy.
Speaking shortly after taking a tour of the exhibition booths, Pantami underlined the potential of 5G for sustainable growth. “I believe as long as we are able to handle the potential challenges, the deployment of 5G is very critical to our economy because of so many advantages of 5G, the issue of latency, speed and many more.”
Stressing the importance of an enabling regulatory framework and protecting telecommunications infrastructure, the Minister stated that on the instruction of the President, he has signed a draft Executive Order declaring telecommunications infrastructure ‘critical national infrastructure’ which has been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation for review. The Minister referred to the proposed Executive Order as a short-term measure, stressing that the President has instructed that a proper legislation be facilitated to deal conclusively with threats to telecommunications infrastructure.
Highlighting the importance of partnerships, Ferdi Moolman, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria said: “Pushing boundaries is easier when your aspirations are supported by likeminded people. We are here today because of the support and guidance of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the NCC who provided the trial spectrum used for this.”