Tuesday , December 7 2021

5G as Bedrock for Future Communications – NCC Allays Fears

As the advent of fifth-generation (5G) technology sparked many concerns and conspiracies, leaving many confused and guarded; the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has shed more light on the operations of 5G technology networks.

Although many milestone developments in ICT have set the world alight in recent years, perhaps none have made so much noise as the launch of 5G.

Addressing the concerns, the Nigerian telecommunications regulator, NCC highlighted that the technology will not only impact our lives but will also change the way we use different technologies to make things easier.

It is expected to revolutionize the ways in which we perceive, engage and interact with technology.

It has to be noted that the new 5G technology is not just the next version of mobile communications, evolving from 1G to 2G, 3G, 4G, but it provides a new approach giving ubiquitous connectivity.

The fifth generation of wireless communications technologies, 5G is expected to better cope with the explosion of global data traffic predicted in the coming years. In addition to improving the technical capabilities of the 4G network, this new standard crosses the ultimate frontier essential for massive and simultaneous communications between machines.

5G is key to a major technological breakthrough that Nigeria’s Digital Economy Policy will experience in the coming years, NCC stressed.

Among other things, NCC has identified the numerous benefits Nigerians, both businesses and economy stand to gain from its adoption.

What 5G entails according to NCC

5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It is a new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. 5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices.

5G tops out at 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). 5G is 10 to x100 faster than 4G. The use of shorter frequencies (millimeter waves between 30GHz and 300GHz) for 5G networks is the reason why 5G is so fast.

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

5G and Communications Disruption

According to GSMA’s Policy Position on 5G spectrum, ‘5G is expected to support significantly faster mobile broadband speeds and lower latencies than previous generations while also enabling the full potential of the Internet of Things.’

5G wireless technology is meant to deliver higher data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users.

Many countries are looking to 5G to better connect rural communities, allowing more people to start businesses from home and opening up opportunities.

The shift from hardware to a software-based network environment will bring about lower overheads for mobile operators. Those savings will, in turn, be able to be passed on to business customers.

Generally, Quality of Experience (QoE) by users of telecoms will improve significantly with 5G just as there has been an improvement in speed and user experience from the evolutionary shift from 1G, 2G,3G and current 4G in the country.

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As the world replaces more and more household items with ‘smart devices’ that connect to the internet, also known as the Internet of Things, this network capacity will be critical. 5G will potentially be able to handle more than 2.5 million connected devices per square mile. 5G is a transformational change from 4G.

5G will enhance technological development because of the extremely fast transfer rate of large quantities of data. Overall, it enables interconnected devices for instant communication. This is a new connected world of ‘Smart cities’ made possible by 5G networks.

With network slicing, it will be possible for a business to own their own private 5G network, precisely set up according to its specific business needs. 5G will certainly have much greater capacity across a much wider range of spectrums, but it will also use that space more intelligently, assigning only the resources necessary for each application.

The Mobile Economy 2020 Report says “IoT will be an integral part of the 5G era. Between 2019 and 2025, the number of global IoT connections will more than double to almost 25 billion, while global IoT revenue will more than triplet to $1.1 trillion.”

Studies have shown that by the end of 2020 more than half of all new businesses will rely on the “IoT” to cut costs, build efficiencies, and grow their bottom lines. However, many of the innovations 5G technology will fuel literally may not be available yet especially in Nigeria. For the “IoT” to realize its limitless potential, 5G is critical.

5G network is designed to carry data up to 10 times faster than 4G networks.

With this speed, it means that smartphone users will be able to download feature-length HD movies in a matter of seconds and enjoy videos, including virtual reality ones, free from the pain of having to endure buffer screen after buffer screen.

Data Reports

According to the GSM Association’s Mobile Economy 2020 Report, 5G is gaining pace. Mobile 5G is now commercially available from 46 operators in 24 markets worldwide; 79 operators across a further 39 markets have announced plans to launch mobile service.

“By 2025, 5G will account for 20 percent of global connections, with take-up particularly strong across developed Asia, North America and Europe. To support this generational shift and further drive consumer engagement, operators are expected to invest around $1.1 trillion worldwide between 2020 and 2025 in mobile CAPEX, roughly 80 percent of which will be in 5G networks.”

According to GSMA Intelligence, there will be 1.8 billion 5G connections by 2025 led by Asia, North America, Europe, Gulf Arab countries, CIS, Latin America, rest of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Sub-Sharan Africa. Sub-Saharan is expected to have at least 31 million 5G connection by 2025.

5G and Health Concerns

Research validated by the WHO and health authorities in several countries conclude at this time that 5G does not pose a danger to human health, given national and international standards that limit exposure to radio frequencies

It is already an established fact that electromagnetic waves, such as those emitted by microwave ovens, household appliances, computers, wireless routers, cell phones and other wireless devices, are non-ionizing. Unlike X-rays or ultraviolet rays, they are not powerful enough to reach the cells of the human body and affect our immune system.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has had to warn the public about misinformation related to 5G telephone networks, insisting that the networks do not spread COVID-19 and that viruses do not circulate over radio waves or mobile networks.

As with the previous technologies, the International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has classified radiation from 5G as non-ionizing and therefore safe for human beings.

5G represents the future. While we have made tremendous progress since the advent of the global system of mobile communication (GSM) in Nigeria, 5G will be the bedrock of future communications.

About Bukola Olanrewaju

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