The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reaffirmed its commitment to the AfricaNEXT Conference’s (AfricaNXT) vision of “co-creating a prosperous future for all Africans” through collaborations, conversations, and programming focused on harvesting, harnessing, and leveraging innovative technologies.
“The AfricaNXT conference’s visualizations and concrete activities are consistent with NCC’s belief in the power of technology to catalyze Nigeria’s, if not Africa’s, growth.” This is why we have continued to fund and participate in the Conference, which is now in its tenth year, and we will continue to play active roles in this annual event in Lagos.”
Prof. Umar Danbatta, NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO), disclosed this last week in a conversation with the Commission’s in-house media team, ahead of the Commission’s delegation’s preparations for the confab, which will take place from February 27 to March 4, 2022.
Because he is already scheduled to play a crucial governmental and institutional role at the GSM Association’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2022, the EVC expressed sadness for not being able to lead NCC’s delegation to the conference. The MWC, the world’s largest and most prominent event and exhibition for stakeholders in the mobile technology ecosystem, is held in Barcelona every year in the same week as AfricaNXT.
The AfricaNXT Conference, formerly known as Social Media Week Lagos, is the largest gathering of innovators from throughout Africa and the Diaspora. The NCC has been a frequent fixture of AfricaNXT’s conference and festival as a consistent programming partner.
Despite the fact that the COVID-19 outbreak forced the organizers to hold a low-key, entirely virtual meeting in 2021, the 2020 conference drew over 20,000 participants (both in-person and virtually). NCC’s discussion at the 2020 conference focused on Fifth Generation (5G) technology and services, with experts explaining 5G, which was a foreign concept to many at the time.
In light of the progress made over the last two years, the NCC will take the discussion on 5G to a more pragmatic level during AfricaNXT 2022.
The panel’s theme topic is “Moving Forward Steadily, Timely, and with Precision: The Socio-Economic Significance of 5G Service Deployment.” Participants will learn about the advantages of 5G services for individuals, businesses, and the nation, as well as the positive implications for the continent as Nigeria moves closer to becoming the first country in West Africa to install 5G technology.
In 2019, Nigeria began its journey toward the launch of 5G services. The NCC has been optimistic in mobilizing stakeholders to form all required partnerships, collaborations, and alliances since then. Several stakeholder meetings have taken place (including an all-inclusive, robust public hearing at the National Assembly; and a presentation to the Federal Executive Council). The NCC also launched a public awareness and education campaign, focusing on the tangle of 5G myths, misinformation, deception, and malinformation.
Following the Federal Government’s clearance, Proof of Concept (PoC) testing showcasing the capabilities of 5G were held in several Nigerian cities. The NCC, in partnership with stakeholders, also created an Information Memorandum (IM), which was evaluated by all stakeholders before the Federal Government implemented a 5G strategy. President Muhammadu Buhari revealed the policy to the public on January 25, 2022.
The NCC had already held a globally recognized auction of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum on December 13, 2021, using an existing approval. The spectrum will be used to bring 5G services to market. Mafab Communications and MTN Nigeria, two communications businesses and NCC licensees, won the bid. Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has officially transferred the spectrum for 5G services to NCC for allocation to the bid winners.
Danbatta highlighted the status of implementation of 5G services metaphorically and figuratively by asserting that “the coast is now clear” for the launch of 5G services in Nigeria at the handover event, which took place on the 17th February 2022 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
The NCC, despite having met all of the prerequisites for the deployment of 5G services in Nigeria, is not resting on its laurels in terms of public education and information dissemination. It is for this reason that the Commission is utilizing AfricaNXT, a unique, seminal, and historic gathering of practical innovators and development enthusiasts, to increase awareness of 5G within its ever-expanding geography of stakeholders.
The NCC discussion will be held at the FutureNow Stage, Innovation Pavilion, Landmark Event Centre, Water Corporation Drive, Off Ligali Ayorinde Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, during AfricaNXT 2022. On Thursday, March 3, 2022, the session will begin promptly at 2 p.m.
Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde