Will NCC agreement with NigComSat boost 5G in Nigeria?

Will NCC agreement with NigComSat boost 5G in Nigeria?

Nigerian regulator the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and satcoms provider Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the use of C-band spectrum to boost 5G services in Nigeria.

According to local press reports, the MoU could allow the release of contiguous bandwidth in suitable frequency spectrum bands for the early deployment of 5G services in the country.

Certainly the feeling seems to be that, of the spectrum bands allocated to 5G by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), C-band (3.4GHz – 3.9GHz) has many advantages for 5G connectivity.

It is seen as useful for both coverage and capacity but, more pertinently perhaps, most global commercial 5G network deployment is currently in the band.

The problem is that only 120 MHz of the band (3.4 – 3.52 GHz) is available for mobile services in Nigeria. The remaining 680 MHz (3.52 – 4.2 GHz) of the band is used by NigComSat (NG-1R) satellites.

If NigComSat can release part of its spectrum holding in the band this could accelerate the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.

However, realistically, in a country of Nigeria's size, where many end users are still using 3G or earlier, both 5G rollout and take-up, not to mention the business of spectrum allocation and auction, could still take some time.

NigComSat Ltd owns and operates the Nigerian Communications Satellite systems. The NigComSat-1R system is built to provide domestic and international satellite services via two-way satellite communications services across West, Central and South East Africa, Europe and Asia.