December 5, 2022

Huawei has committed to doubling its uptake in the fifth generation (5G) networks in Nigeria and other parts of Africa as demand from telecom operators rises.

Its Strategy and Marketing President, Peng Song, gave the commitment during the 13 Global Mobile Broadband Forum, held in Bangkok, Thailand, said the 5G business of the company has been rising on the crest of uptake in Africa.

One of the licencees of 5G in the country, MTN Nigeria, using the 3.5gigahertz (Ghz) spectrum, had rolled out 5G technology in Lagos with a promise to launch the network in six other cities including Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri, and Maiduguri. With this, Nigeria became the third African country to deploy the technology after South Africa and Kenya.

The Lagos 5G commercial launch came on the heels of its 5G pilot launch three weeks ago, as mandated by the telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The telecoms operator, had in its half-year 2022 report, revealed that it had deployed 127 5G sites in preparation for its 5G launch. The technology is expected to be rolled out in phases, with full national coverage expected by 2025.

The advanced 5G technology promises to extend the reach and capacity of MTN Nigeria’s data network 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.

Speaking at the forum, Song said: “Our 5G business success is on an upward trajectory and this growth can be attributed to the African continent. We started off with just 200,000 base stations but today I can announce that we have deployed just under half a million base stations outside china, accounting for 70 per cent of the world’s total.”

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Currently, there are 12 local telecom operators in 10 different markets that have adopted the technology over the last three years, according to him.

In Kenya, East Africa, Safaricom Plc is leading the way in the acquisition of the 5G network.

The 5G networks are popular for offering fast internet speeds which are crucial for video streaming, games and downloads.

Safaricom’s new 5G service has been shown to reach download speeds of 500megabytes per second (Mbps) in Kenya.

“Kenya is one of the key markets that have adopted the next generation technology where 5G enabled mobile phones are already available locally, with the lowest-cost devices falling below Sh50,000,” Song said.

Last week, the East African largest carrier, Safaricom, rolled out 5G networks in five counties, enabling customers to access faster internet speeds. The carrier has unveiled the networks in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisii, Kakamega and Kisumu.

Huawei is optimistic that 5G uptake will continue to rise as consumers interact more on the internet and organisations embrace ultra-automation and maintenance.

“The acceleration of 5G uptake is also underpinned by the fact that existing video services deliver higher HD experience with its higher traffic capacity. Beyond expanding coverage, networks are being built to optimize different types of user experience such as optimizing them for better video download speeds,” Song said.

While speaking at the launch of 5G in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, said: “Every major technological evolution changes the way we live, the way we connect; changes what is possible. GSM took phone calls on the road, 2G added texting to our experience (and created a whole new language), 3G brought the internet to our phones, and 4G made video widely available on mobiles.

“5G will change everything. It will allow us to connect, create, collaborate, and compete in ways we cannot imagine yet. Today we will show you a glimpse of the many possibilities 5G has in store. What is most important is what you and every Nigerian can create with it.”

Also speaking, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, had said: “Today, we are celebrating the outcome of the successful auction of the 5G spectrum; we are celebrating the commercial launch of 5G services in the country. This puts the country on the global 5G space and from today many of you will experience the super speed associated with 5G.”

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