The Federal Executive Council has approved the National Policy on Fifth Generation 5G Networks for Nigeria’s digital economy.
The council gave the approval Wednesday at the council meeting following the presentation by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.
According to a release by the minister’s technical assistant, Femi Adeluyi, the policy has been developed over a period of two years, due to the need for extensive stakeholder engagement and the need to ensure adequate public awareness and sensitisation.
The stakeholder engagements were said to be thorough and multi-sectoral in nature.
“It also took into account the report of the 3-month 5G trials that commenced on the 25th of November 2019,” he said.
According to Mr. Adeluyu, the report critically reviewed and studied the health and security implications of deploying 5G in Nigeria.
“Leading international organizations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an organ of the United Nations, have confirmed that the deployment of 5G networks leave no adverse health effects and are safe,” he said.
“5G networks offer significant advantages over the current technologies. Some of its advantages include much lower latency, higher bandwidth, greater device density, longer battery life for nodes, and greater network flexibility. Several countries have already commenced the deployment of 5G and are enjoying its benefits.”
He listed the countries to include the United States, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, South Africa, and Lesotho, to mention but a few.
He also said the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), chaired by the minister, will soon release spectrum to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for mobile network operators that meet all the required conditions.
“The NCC, as the regulator of the telecommunications sector, will continue engaging stakeholders with a view to developing the regulatory instruments required for the successful deployment of the technology in Nigeria,” he said.
Ahead of the approval, the commission had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will facilitate the release of contiguous bandwidth in one of the most suitable frequency spectrum bands for early deployment of the fifth-generation (5G) Network services in Nigeria.
Mr Pantami also addressed journalists at the presidential villa, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
He said: “I presented (a memo) before the Federal Executive Council and was approved after deliberation, that is the National Policy on 5th Generation network for Nigeria’s digital economy. That policy has been approved by the Federal Executive Council today.
“Furthermore, the policy discusses the benefits to be attained through the deployment of 5-G in Nigeria and any part of the world which includes lower latency, larger capacity, and higher data rate.
“In a simple language we can say it will open many opportunities economically, educationally, and even in the health sector, and it will also support our security institutions particularly in areas where they need high-quality services.”
He noted that the network would have been deployed since last year but there was a lot of outcry from the Nigerian public, which made the government stay action on that to give room for more consultations.
“In the year 2020 there was a time that we started the 5th Generation trial but there were complaints from citizens about the relationship between 5-G and COVID-!9,” he said.
“But because our government is a responsible one, we decided then, to put everything on hold and engage more stakeholders and we spent almost 18 months working on that.
“We also waited for the resolution or verdict of the two most important organisations globally when it comes to the deployment of telecommunications facilities. These are the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), which are both arms of the United Nations.
“Both of them confirmed that there is no adverse health hazard associated with 5-G, and it has not been proven to be harmful to human health.
“Most importantly, even its frequency and radiation is even lower than that of 4-G and the electronic gadgets like the television sets and microwaves we use at home. So they have already issued that explanation about its safety.
“They also advised nations on the standards and regulations they use in the course of its redeployment,” he further explained.
He said the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had been directed to comply with all the regulations and standards specified by the ITU and WHO.
“Furthermore, in order to create awareness and sensitise our citizens, the Nigerian Communications Commission has been reaching out to citizens through local languages to tell them the advantages of 5-G,” he said.
He said the deployment of the network would be in phases, as it will start with major cities of the country, where there is a need for high-quality broadband, between now and 2025.