MTN Nigeria has commenced its commercial 5G network services in Lagos, with a promise to launch the network in Ibadan, Kano, Owerri, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Maiduguri.
The Lagos 5G commercial launch came on Sunday on the heels of its 5G pilot launch three weeks ago, as mandated by the telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
During the pilot launch, MTN had promised to carry out a 5G commercial launch in six cities, beginning from Lagos.
Speaking during the launch in Lagos yesterday, its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Karl Toriola, said the event was in fulfilment of MTN’s earlier promise to begin 5G commercial launch in cities, within one month of 5G rollout.
The advanced 5G technology promises to extend the reach and capacity of MTN Nigeria’s data network in Nigeria and enable much faster speeds and lower latency, giving customers near-instant access to the things they care about and downloads that take seconds, instead of minutes.
According to Toriola, “To access the 5G network and enjoy its benefits, customers would need compatible devices, such as routers and mobile phones, which can be pre-ordered from designated MTN walk-in stores and online via the MTN Nigeria website and e-marketplace. The pre-ordered devices could be picked up or would be delivered to customers at a designated location.”
He promised that the same vigour MTN deployed services in second, third and fourth generation networks is what will be applied in the 5G technology to make it massively accessible to the majority of users, particularly in major urban cities in the coming weeks and months.
Speaking further, Toriola said: “Although the company was going to make decisive investments in the rollout of 5G in Nigeria, 4G is still the company’s bread and butter and investments, deployments for both networks would be done simultaneously.
He lamented the challenges of getting the foreign exchange to import necessary facilities to fast-track deployment of networks including 5G but noted that as a Nigerian company, persevering to surmount the challenges is part of the prices to pay to get the country back on the right economic footing.
Also the Chief Marketing Officer, Adia Sowho while presenting the capabilities of 5G said that the network will not only help MTN to connect, create, collaborate, and compete in ways never imagined, it will also help users realise the full potential of the internet revolution and enjoy communication and interactions spectacularly.
She said: “Every major technological evolution redefines what is possible – changing the way we live and the way we connect. If 4G helped you to communicate with people, 5G will help you feel them closer. The possibilities of 5G are in such a way we have not even begun to imagine”
Earlier the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC Prof Umar Danbatta commended MTN for its pioneering role in the 5G deployment in Nigeria, promising that the commission will continue to provide enabling environment for businesses like MTN which correctly interprets government policies of engendering growth in different sectors.
Danbatta said the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the efforts of Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami and the regulatory prowess of the NCC gave rise to the feat MTN has achieved in being the first to deploy 5G in Nigeria
He however promised that the commission will monitor the efficiency of MTN’s 5G activities and will not fail to caution, where the right practices are being derailed.
MTN and another telco MAFAB communications won the license to deploy 5G in Nigeria in December 2021. They were given an August 24, 2022 deadline to deploy services. MTN switched on test services on the deadline and yesterday launched Commercial services in Lagos
The 5G spectrum holds a promising future for technology in Nigeria, and is projected to contribute $2.2 trillion to the global economy by 2034, according to a 2020 GSMA Intelligence report titled “The Mobile Economy”.
It is the 5th generation of cellular network technology designed to offer faster speeds per user and can easily handle more connections.