BusinessDay says that MTN Nigeria has turned on its fifth-generation (5G) mobile internet services at 190 sites across the West African country. Most sites are in Lagos and Abuja, a big deal for Nigerian telecoms.
It has been reported that some users in these locations are already benefiting from internet speeds of more than 1.4 gigabytes per second.
After nearly three years of preparation on the part of the Federal Government, the country’s National Communication Commission (NCC) had earlier decided that Wednesday, August 24, would be the day that 5G would be rolled out.
Nigeria is the third African country to launch 5G services. The other two are South Africa and Kenya. Africa got 5G first in 2019 through a small rollout by provider Rain. In March 2021, Safaricom in Kenya was the first to offer 5G services. Ghana and Egypt, located in different parts of the continent, follow closely behind these three countries and anticipate a deployment sooner rather than later. Compared to other modern economies, Nigeria’s deployment of 5G technology is lagging due to restrictions and overly cumbersome spectrum auctioning licensing processes.
Even though the NCC stated it was ready for the rollout, Nigerians were still waiting for the Federal Government to approve the technology’s deployment in July 2021. Mafab has reportedly been given a five-month extension for the rollout of 5G in the country. This is in contrast to MTN, which was able to launch its 5G network on the date that was initially planned. As early as February, MTN and Mafab were both required to make payments totaling $550 million to acquire licenses.
MTN Nigeria anticipates that the rollout of 5G sites will rise tenfold by October, bringing the lightning-fast internet to between 500 and 600 additional sites across the most populous country in Africa. Not everyone will be able to use 5G right away, though. Some mobile devices need software updates, and some may not be able to use the service at all.