The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator has called on Nigerians to disregard information making the rounds that telecoms operators were laying 5G cables in Lagos and Kano, in readiness to switch on their 5G network.
The NCC described the information as misleading and called on Nigerians to disregard it.
The purported information that telcos have commenced laying of 5G cables in the country has highlighted fears among Nigerians who believed that 5G network is linked to the spread of COVId-19 that has infected millions of people and has killed several people globally, Nigeria inclusive.
Telecoms operators however admitted that they were currently laying fibre cables in Lagos and Kano, but insisted that the cables were not specifically meant for 5G network rollout.
The telcos explained that the current fibre optic cable laying was in continuation of the initial plans to lay metro fibre in cities to sustain broadband penetration in the country that is currently put at 40 per cent penetration, with a target to reach 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025, through the implementation of the 2020-2025 National Broadband Plan.
In a statement issued recently by NCC and signed by its Director, Public Affairs. Dr. Henry Nkemadu, the Commission called on Nigerians to discard the information as rumour. According to the statement: “The attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been drawn to a mischievous statement making the rounds on social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites that the Nigerian Telecoms industry is going to switch on 5G in Lagos this Sunday 10th, Monday 11th or Tuesday 12th May 2020.
“The Commission has unequivocally stated that there is no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment. The NCC back in November 2019 approved trial test for 5G for a period of three months and the trial has been concluded and installation decommissioned.
“The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, had explained that the trial among others was to study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present.
“Relevant stakeholders including members of the security agencies were invited to participate during the trial.”
The statement further said NCC would continue to maintain its policy of technology neutrality and will continue to encourage service providers to deploy the best technology that would meet the needs of the society in a secured and friendly manner.
“The NCC had provided clarifications of Frequently Asked Questions on 5G in view of the recent developments in which misleading materials with no proven evidence are being circulated to link COVID-19 with 5G technology and therefore refutes the claim that there will be switching on of 5G in Lagos in its entirety.
“The Commission also provided clarifications on the laying of fibre optic cables within Lagos and other parts of the country to the effect that the laying of additional fibre optic cables is to strengthen the existing 3G and 4G infrastructure to provide robust and pervasive telecoms infrastructure to improve network performance.
5G is a fifth generation of mobile technology which is an improvement of today’s 4G technology with enhanced capabilities. 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.
“NCC has not issued any licence for 5G in Nigeria and therefore the mobile network operators (MNOS) cannot switch on such technology. NCC is technology neutral as such we don’t license technology but assigns spectrum to operators for deployment of any service when allocated by National Frequency Management Council (NFMC),” the statement further added.