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Nigeria’s 5G Ambition Raises Job, Infrastructure Concerns

Nigeria has commenced regulatory and policy framework that would enable the deployment of 5G, the fifth generation of wireless system, by 2020.

This is not only limited to Nigeria has government in other regions and global telecommunications companies are investing in this technology that will deliver faster Internet connections and accelerate economic growth.

While speaking at the future for industry workshop in Abuja organised in partnership with the Global System of Mobile Association, the Executive Vice- Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, described the 5G network as the next generation of connectivity in the telecoms industry, offering faster speed and more reliable connections on smartphones and other devices than ever before.

The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Mr Gbenga Adebayo, acknowledged the numerous benefits of the advanced technology but identified poor infrastructure as a major obstacle.

He pointed out that the existing infrastructure might not be able to support 5G network as it had not given the 2G, 3G, and 4G connections enough stability and national coverage.

Regardless of the infrastructural challenges, Adebayo said the country must move ahead with its plans as it was unacceptable for Nigeria to lag behind other countries in technology adoption.

“What worries me about our local environment is the sustainability of what we have, on which the 5G will ride as it were. If our current evolution of 2G, 3G and 4G are not resilient or stable, it will be very difficult to have something solid with 5G. That is why we have a lot of work to do,” ALTON chairman said.

He added, “We have more work to do in the area of sustaining what we have, making our network more resilient and reliable. In some parts of the country, people still use 2G. If we don’t have supporting infrastructure, we will be challenged.”

Also examining the possibility of deploying the 5G network in the country, the Chief Technical and Information Officer, Ntel, Mr Oluwatosin Bamidele, said the increasing rate of fiber cuts by government agencies during road construction and exploitation of area boys and communities, remain a major cause of concern, saying the safety of telecoms infrastructure should be guaranteed to encourage investment in advanced technology.

According to him, the fear that 5G, Internet of Things and the fourth industrial revolution will lead to job cuts is real.

Also, Bamidele identified the need to retrain workers and improve their capacity to work with the new technologies.

“It is always challenging managing a new generation network because quite a number of times, you might need to retrain your staff. 5G will open up new opportunities no doubt but it will also open up a new world of problems. There is also the fear that 5G, IoT and fourth industrial revolution, are going to take away jobs. The reality is that they will take away jobs but create new jobs also,” he added.

He emphasised, “We hardly talk about the security implications. The whole nation and networks will become more exposed. We need to get quite a lot of experts in security. The security should be part of the ecosystem because there are fibre cuts every day.” – Punchng

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