MTN Launches 5G In 13 Places, Reveals What Will Happen To Older Networks
The deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) network is accelerating as MTN revealed that since its launch in August 2021, it has activated over 700 sites across 13 cities.
Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Owerri, Ibadan, Maiduguri, Abeokuta, Ife, Warri, Enugu, Ife, and Ifo are among the connected cities listed by MTN. Nigerians are now taking advantage of 5G, according to Mohammed Rufai, chief technical officer of MTN Nigeria, who yesterday spoke with journalists about the trip so far.
Rufai provided evidence to support his claim that Nigeria was prepared for the technology by pointing out that the market, technical know-how, and availability of spectrum had all always existed.
He revealed that 5G would not only support the nation’s goal of 70% broadband penetration by 2025, but would also guarantee the expansion of telecom services to outlying locations.
Rufai claimed that MTN had covered around 92 percent of Nigeria, where broadband penetration is at 48% and 92 million people use it.
While some nations, like South Africa, are preparing to shut down their 2G and 3G networks, according to Rufai, that is not the current plan for Nigeria. He emphasized that the goal is to provide network amenities for all subscriber groups.
“The fact that we are going to 5G does not mean we should not cater to the needs of the subscribers on the other technology. We must also consider those who need the lower technologies. The fact is even that 3G network can be used for other services in the future.”
“For us in Nigeria, shutting down those technologies is not in the plan now. MTN Nigeria would take into account what subscribers need. We shall not leave anyone behind, even as we encourage people to move to higher technology. Of course, we know that a time would come when people on some of those networks will reduce, then we can take appropriate decisions on them,” he stated.
The benefits of the technology can still be accessed through fixed wireless infrastructure, according to Rufai, who acknowledged that there are still few devices, particularly mobile ones, for the technology on the market and that smartphones are still very expensive. He added that 5G routers are available for purchase and can be used to connect to WiFi.
He revealed that a few Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are presently collaborating with MTN on 5G devices.
While acknowledging that the Right of Way (RoW) problem has not been straightforward, particularly for the expansion of fiber into states, the MTN CTO praised the Federal Government’s efforts, noting that more states are becoming more open and seeing the economic advantages of such a move.
“I think challenges around RoW are being addressed. Fibre deployment is key to ensuring 5G expands across the country,” he concluded.