The latest mobile technology 5G is capable of delivering speed of 400 times more than 4G technology according to experts. But, Nigerians may not enjoy the potentials of this new technology to the fullest as peculiar environmental challenges are likely to hinder them from the experience.
Stakeholders at MTN 5G demo in Lagos expressed worries over spectrum availability, protection of telecommunications infrastructure as we as lack of fibre link between base stations. Nasir Hayatou, senior manager, Radio Frequency Planning, MTN Nigeria, said that fibre to site is a major challenge.
“We told the government that one of the major challenges is protection of our infrastructure, we have witnessed a situation where people come with truck and take our generators. “We have communities today where we are not able to build towers because after setting up the sites the same community will go back and vandalize our equipment. The government needs to help us though the minister has given us the assurance that very soon telecom equipment will be included as critical national infrastructure.
“One of the reasons we brought stakeholders to witness this trial is that we want people to see the advantages one gets when you simulate this technology within a very small environment, you can see the speed over 300 times more than 4G speed, you can imagine what the experience is like.
“We can have this experience in Nigeria if we are able to have access to the right infrastructure which is fibre; a typical example is that, we are not able to roll out fibre in so many states in the federal because of ‘Right of way’ issues. “You want to pass our water ways, they will say you can’t come near water, Railway will say you can’t come near the railway. We need to look at broadband expansion as a deep strategy everybody needs to be involved not different government agencies interjecting on the plan.
“So, with the right infrastructure, right level of security we will be able to enjoy this service as you enjoy it in any part of the world. People go to America and come back to say why are we not enjoying this service as we enjoy it in America? “Remember you Samsung television works in Lagos the same way it works in America, the same way with telecom infrastructure, it is the same base station we have here, the only difference is the linkages you have between them, there they have fibre already built even to your home, here we don’t have such infrastructure, we need to have Right of way,” he added..
According to Oladipo Raji, President/CEO, InfraFocus Technologies, “deploying 5G is different, it is not like upgrading from 3G to 4G. For any operator to provide 5G service such will have to invest in infrastructure, change substantial equipment at base stations.“5G is power to the edge and to that extent it is expensive to deploy the service.”Corroborating Raji on deploying of 5G being a different ball game, Engr. Olusola Teniola, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) said: “Deploying 5G services is a totally different experience entirely.
“The new paradigm is based on network slicing configured alongside the use cases that the network aims to enable. For instance the provisioning of a robotic application or service will be different from augmented reality even though both services will be executing multiple use cases at anyone instance.
“5G will also bring NFV/SDN to the fore as end users will now have the ability to tweak a number of parameters at the end that will demand different QoS, CoS, Customer Experience and data usage from the network in real time. “The underlying differentiation is both in the RAN and edge of the network where the focus and underlying assumption is for a very high speed end-to-end connection. 4G is a stepping stone to 5G. 5G will be a stepping a stone to 6G in the future,” he said.