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How to access 5G network in Nigeria

A new entrant into the country’s telecom sector, Mafab Communications (Mcom) last week came into the mobile telephone line market with the launch of fifth generation…

A new entrant into the country’s telecom sector, Mafab Communications (Mcom) last week came into the mobile telephone line market with the launch of fifth generation (5G) network. 

Mafab joined MTN Nigeria which had earlier rolled out its 5G network with more than 600 sites in August 2022.  Airtel Nigeria will also be joining the fray later this year all things being equal. 

The 5G network provides a greater speed in the transmissions, a lower latency and therefore greater capacity of remote execution. It also serves a greater number of connected devices and the possibility of implementing virtual networks (network slicing), providing more adjusted connectivity to concrete needs.

This will enable telecom operators in the country to deliver the right level of effective digital solutions to power Nigeria’s economic growth.

But at the moment less than 2% of mobile phone connections in Sub-Saharan Africa are on 5G, and some telecom experts said this number is not likely to increase this year. However, a report by Ericsson said it is likely to reach 7% in 2026.  

With their rollout in Nigeria, MTN and Mafab might have given the country an edge over South Africa and Kenya in the 5G race in Africa. Both operators are expected to increase the number of their 5G sites to over 1000 this year. This will make the latest telecom technology ubiquitous in the country. 

Their 5G network launch will also assist the Federal Government to achieve its 70% broadband internet penetration target by 2025.

States that have 5G network in Nigeria

As of now, 5G can only be found  in any accredited site across seven states in the country.  These states are Lagos(Lagos), Abuja, Port Harcourt (Rivers), Ibadan (Oyo), Kano (Kano), Owerri (Imo), Maiduguri (Borno), and Kano and Enugu will be launched soon.  MTN and Mafab said more sites are also being worked on within these states.

How to access 5G in Nigeria

Basically, there are two major ways to connect to 5G in Nigeria: By using a 5G router, or by using a 4G sim (they are also 5G enabled) on a phone that is both 5G-compatible and 5G-enabled. 

5G-compatible phones are built with the 5G network technology, enabling them to access 5G networks where available. Recent phones manufactured by Samsung, iPhone, Redmi, Xiaomi, Nokia, and Huwaei and others models are 5G compatible. 

5G enablement, on the other hand, is the backend integration of the phone models into the operators’ 5G network, enabling these phones to access 5G services within their accredited sites nationwide. 

The 5G router is the second option and is a non-restrictive way for everyone to access 5G in Nigeria. Users can buy the device from any 5G operator Inand if they’re within a 5G site, they can use any device to connect to the 5G network through WiFi. 

5G and data consumption 

Tech experts said 5G would definitely require more data for the seamless experience it provides, but it won’t be anything too much from the experience of existing 4G subscribers. For example, when watching a Youtube video on a 4G network, 4k is the maximum resolution that can be obtained. With 5G, the resolution doesn’t increase beyond 4k, and the data expense will also stay the same. However, doing a speed test with a 5G network will cost more data, as 5G networks can transfer more data in the speed test process.

But according to the founder and Chairman of Mafab Musbahu Muhammad Bashir, with 5G, business outfits would expand their frontiers with operational ease and speed, especially in the fields of education.

Bashir listed other fields as medical sciences, engineering, security, businesses like the banking sector, SMEs and smart cities, among others and that the 5G would not just benefit the urban areas but also meet long-term goals of ensuring that rural areas and villages enjoyed benefits of this amazing technology.

“The rollout of Mafab 5G network is the beginning of immense opportunities for the country as it represents Nigeria’s capabilities and infinite possibilities. The prospect of increased job opportunities as a consequence of the value-chain benefits the technology will generate and offer is the dream we have all gathered here to launch today.

“It is no secret that the countries that can provide their citizens with the latest network infrastructure which the 5G technology represents, will also be the ones that will thrive in the coming years. 

“They will be the ones that will stay competitive and the ones who will lead in innovation in addition to bringing socio-economic benefits to their citizens. And so, I can declare that with the 5G infrastructure, Nigeria will surely be a head ahead of many other countries, especially in Africa. Indeed, with the 5G network, our future as a people and as a country is remarkably bright,” the Mafab chairman said.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami said  5G has enormous benefits for security institutions, because there are technologies in security that leverage on it which allows security institutions to properly manage security situations.

In December 2021, after 11 rounds of bidding that lasted eight hours, Mafab and MTN Nigeria emerged as the two successful winners of the 3.5gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction for the deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria. NCC also confirmed that the two companies fully paid $273.6 million each for the 5G spectrum licence in February 2022.

 

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