Nigeria has announced plans to get mobile network operators (MNOs) begin 5G rollout by January 2022 as part of national strategies to beef up surveillance against vandalism of public assets.
Pantami announced this on Thursday, September 23, 2021, at a town hall meeting in Maiduguri, Borno state.
The minister, who was represented by Ubale Maska, NCC commissioner for technical services made this known two weeks after the Federal Executive Council approved the deployment of 5G networks for Nigeria’s digital economy.
The 5G spectrum auction is expected in the last quarter of 2021 allowing MNOs sufficient time for aggressive buildout of 5G infrastructures.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had weeks back formally given approval for the national policy on 5G network which provides the framework for rollout of 5G services in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030.
A report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, as saying that 5G “would boost surveillance against criminal elements vandalising public infrastructure across the country” among other measures to arrest vandals for prosecution.
Pantami said the deployment of 5G technology will allow for better surveillance and management of the over 50,000 telecommunication sites across the country currently managed manually.
He was represented by Mr. Ubale Maska, Commissioner for Technical Services, Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Thursday in Maiduguri at a Town Hall Meeting organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to address vandalism of power and telecommunications infrastructure.
According to the minister, there were about 16,000 reported outages by mobile network operators like MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile between January 2021 and July 2021.
The outages were caused by fiber cuts, access denial and theft leading to service disruption in the affected areas adding that the protection of the critical infrastructural facility was key to the nation’s security, economic vitality, public health and safety.
He lamented that telecoms installations destroyed by terrorists in parts of the North East. had not been replaced as a result of the lingering insecurity.
He also called on the national assembly to speed up the passage of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill for onward submission to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.