The battle for 4.4 billion 5G subscribers has begun in Nigeria.


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To help kick-start the global competition for 4.4 billion subscribers, the Federal Government has granted MTN and Mafab August 24 to begin rolling out Fifth Generation (5G) services. This is even though inflation is skyrocketing and currency instability is also rising.

MTN and Mafab Communication, the two license winners, have less than two months to begin offering services on the new platform, according to the memorandum of information (MI) prepared before the auction of two slots of spectrum in the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum set aside for early deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Ericsson's newest Mobility Report predicts 1 billion 5G subscribers this year and 4.4 billion by 2027.

Despite these hurdles, Nigeria will join the race towards these landmarks. Even while MTN's CEO, Karl Toriola, reiterated the company's willingness to start 5G services ahead of the NCC's deadline, nothing has been heard from Mafab Communications Limited, the second company to win the spectrum auction.

During the Commission's 90th Telecom Parliament in Lagos last week, a chance for stakeholders to hear from Mafab was snatched away because of the absence of its official on the panel.

Another panelist and senior manager of RF planning, Chinedu Ezeigweneme (MTN), stated that commercial service would begin on schedule and use a standalone (SA) network.

International Telecom Union (ITU) Vice Chairman/CEO Prof. Garba Danbatta admitted that 5G networks faced significant obstacles. We'll need much more spectrum and far more spectrally efficient technology to meet these difficulties than what we have now in 3G and 4G.

As the ITU explains, there is the challenge of the intrinsic propagation characteristics of millimeter waves, which propagate over much shorter distances and therefore require a significantly greater number of base stations with the implication that deployment of infrastructure will become more complex and will require radio equipment to be mounted on diverse structures, making it more difficult.

As a result, "significant effort is necessary to establish fiber services and ensure the availability of wireless backhaul options with appropriate capacities, such as microwave and satellite connections" when they are built, and perhaps with high-altitude platform stations (HAPS) systems.

Not only does the lack of 5G-enabled gadgets pose a problem, but it's also a lack of qualified experts who know how to use the technology. However, it is essential to remember that even in nations considered to be technologically sophisticated, the deployment of 5G technology was met with varied emotions and even hatred from certain people. Misconceptions fostered by conspiracy theories were a significant contributor to the early hostility. Nigeria's 5G rollout stakeholders must work together to meet this problem.

If the industry doesn't perceive the problems as opportunities, they'll miss out on new income streams and subsectors that might emerge due to the rollout of 5G technology.

National Communication Commission (NCC) Director Bako Wakil also cited local problems such as inflation and foreign currency rates; appropriate power supply as the globe shifts to green; affordable gadgets, among many more.

Since existing microwaves can't provide the 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) required by 5G with their 500-1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) capacity, he added, it's time to move to the E-band spectrum.

He stated the right-of-way (RoW) problem has to be dealt with to fiberize the towers/base stations, adding that the Type Approval procedure for the flood of internet of things (IoT) devices within a restricted timeline is another formidable task.

North America is predicted to lead the globe in 5G subscriber penetration in the next five years, with nine out of ten subscriptions in the area likely to be 5G by 2027, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report. North America

5G is expected to account for 82% of subscribers in Western Europe, 80% in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and 74% in North-East Asia by 2027, according to the timeframe provided.

In India, where 5G rollouts have yet to begin, roughly 40% of all subscribers are predicted to be 5G by 2027, even though deployments have yet to commence. More than 4.4 billion people will be using 5G services worldwide by 2027, making it the fastest-growing telecommunications technology.

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Data traffic on the worldwide mobile network has doubled in the previous two years, according to the 22nd edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report.

Smartphone and mobile broadband use and the digitization of society and industry fueled this traffic surge. Despite the worldwide Covid-19 epidemic and geopolitical uncertainty, new figures and predictions show that demand for data connection and digital services will continue to grow. Hundreds of millions of individuals have their first taste of mobile broadband every year.

Additionally, a June 2022 Ericsson Mobility Report confirmed that 5G is growing faster than any other mobile technology. Currently, 5G is available to around a quarter of the world's population. The first quarter of 2022 saw the addition of about 70 million 5G subscribers. According to the estimate, by 2027, roughly three-quarters of the world's population will be able to use 5G.

"The 2018 Ericsson Mobility Report confirms 5G as the fastest-growing mobile technology generation ever, and Ericsson is playing a major role in making it happen," said Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson's Executive Vice President and Head of Networks. With our customers and ecosystem partners throughout the globe, we're working daily to ensure that 5G connectivity benefits millions of individuals, businesses, sectors, and society as quickly as feasible."

As mobile network operators (MNOs) search for novel methods to tap into the tremendous economic prospects of 5G SA, Ericsson Mobility Report Executive Editor Peter Jonsson said the deployment of 5G SA is already gathering steam in several locations.

Mobile service providers are stepping up their innovation to take advantage of the new commercial prospects with 5G standalone (SA) networks. Jonsson emphasized the need for a solid digital network infrastructure for businesses' digital transformation strategies, which can then be used to create new client offerings.

It also noted that FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) is becoming more crucial in the supply of broadband services. This amount is expected to more than quadruple by 2027 when Ericsson expects there will be more than 230 million FWA connections.

Regarding the Internet of Things, the research states that by 2021, most of all cellular IoT-linked devices will be connected through broadband IoT, accounting for 44% of all connections.

As many as 330 million IoT devices will be connected to the internet by 2021, an increase of over 80 percent over the previous year. In 2023, the number of IoT devices linked by these technologies is predicted to eclipse the number of devices connected by 2G/3G.


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