MTN Nigeria Communications Plc kicked off an open 5G pilot today as it plans to roll out 5G services in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri, and Maiduguri soon.
According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, 5G licensees are supposed to begin rollout commencement on the 24th of August. Mafab Communications Limited, the only other telecommunication firm with a 5G license, has since announced that it will miss out on the commission’s target. This is because the NCC granted it a five-month extension to roll out 5G services because of the delays in issuing the telco a Unified Access Service Licence and Numbering plan.
According to MTN, it is testing the new-generation network infrastructure in anticipation of its launch, and customers with certain enabled devices will be allowed to connect with and try out the new service where coverage is available. Speaking on the pilot test, the Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria, Adia Sowho, said, “Every major technological evolution redefines what is possible – changing the way we live and the way we connect.
“MTN Nigeria has been at the forefront of every leap in telecommunications: from GSM to 2G, 3G, and 4G. 5G has the potential to change everything.” It will allow us to connect, create, collaborate, and compete in ways we’ve not even begun to imagine. Chairman, Mafab, Musbahu Bashir, said, “I have no doubt that the service will help deliver improvements in the fields of education, business, smart cities, and entertainment. The goal remains to launch before the 5-month extension period, and we will be sharing more information in the near future.”
initiated a trial of its 5G technology in the country on Wednesday with seven Nigerian cities targeted for a start when the launch of the service proper, the wireless operator said in a statement to the Nigerian Exchange. The pioneering feat comes more than eight months after the telecom firm and Mafab Communications Limited won bidding for the two slots available for the start of the spectrum services in the country.
Both firms had received permits to operate 5G services in the first week of May.
Broadband penetration in Africa’s most populous country of over 200 million people has only reached less than half of the residents, according to the latest figures from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). NCC expects coverage to hit 70 percent in 2025, giving room to MTN to leverage the new technology in reaching the underserved and to other telcos to turn the expansive gap to their own advantage.
“Every major technological evolution redefines what is possible changing the way we live and the way we connect,” Adia Sowho, the chief marketing officer said. The move will ease the path for her company “to connect, create, collaborate, and compete in ways we’ve not even begun to imagine.” Lagos, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Abuja, Maiduguri, Kano, and Owerri will start MTN 5G services but no date has been disclosed yet.
NCC targets one billion devices on 5G in two years
Higher speed and a much-reduced latency are parts of state-of-the-art attributes 5G carries including the ability to facilitate download within seconds.
MTN said customers with phones and devices that have certain features will have the leave to “connect with and try out the new service where coverage is available.” MTN Nigeria, the local subsidiary of Johannesburg-based MTN Group, is currently the country’s biggest public company by revenue, recording a turnover of N1.7 trillion for 2021 and N950.1 billion in the first half of the year.