The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), the regulator of Nigeria’s burgeoning telecommunications sector, has concluded plans to roll out two additional 3.5GHz spectrum licenses for the Fifth Generation (5G) licenses in 2023. This is in furtherance of the Commission’s determination to fast-track the achievement of the National Digital transformation agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Commission revealed this at the TechTV, Digital Agenda Forum which was held in Lagos last week. The session, which had the theme “Looking Forward 2023 – Convergence of 5G, AI, IoT & Blockchain.” was a platform to review the activities and progress in the nation’s ICT industry in 2022 and an insight into expectations for 2023.

According to Prof Danbatta, “the NCC is working to ensure a comprehensive Digital Transformation as a key driver by converging and harnessing the successes of various emerging technologies at our disposal for the common good of our nation’s transformation agenda.”

He explained that artificial intelligence (AI) programs are necessary for a fully functional and efficient 5G network as conventional 4G networks with all-IP (Internet Protocol) broadband connectivity are reactive, which results in low spectrum utilization. The field of Al and its subcategories such as machine learning and deep learning has advanced to the point where 5G wireless networks can now be proactive and predictive, which is crucial for realizing the 5G vision of high spectrum utilization by enabling new advanced services based on its support for Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC).

In addition, he added, that the 5G network will be critical to fully implementing the Internet of Things (loTs) that connects computing resources such as sensors, automobiles, and wearable gadgets with people.

Prof Danbatta remarked that to enhance economic transformation, the NCC is making efforts to continually drive initiatives that accelerate the deployment of digital infrastructure in Nigeria. It is through this effort that the Commission had in December 2021 awarded two telecommunication companies the bid for the 5G spectrum licenses in one of the most remarkable and successful auctions in Africa.

Ghanaian Consul General in Lagos, her Excellency, Samata Gifty Bukari, thanked the Nigerian Communications Commission for providing an uncommon regulatory prowess that other African telecom regulator are emulating as the NCC continues to create an enabling Telecom environment for investors.

She called on leaders across the continent to be committed to digital economy agenda as it has the potential to transform nations noting that digital education is a panacea not an option in this age.

Rita Ndidi Amuchienwa, Country Executive Leader, West Africa Intel Corporation, who delivered the keynote address stated that the firm is investing in education, especially skills for innovation and artificial intelligence. It is working with state governments to expand access to digital knowledge and skills.

She revealed that Intel is empowering universities noting that it has a project with Baze University to build a platform to enable them to take the know-how to the grassroots.

Pius Okigbo Jnr, CEO, InfoSoft Nigeria Limited, and the Chairman of the Digital Agenda Forum 2022, noted that education is critical to creating the future we desire.

He called on governments at all levels to make education a priority.


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