The Nigerian telecoms regulator has approved the first batch of 5G handsets ahead of the rollout of the fifth-generation network services in the country.
MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Mafab Communications have been issued licences to offer 5G services in the country after emerging successful in last year’s auction of 3.5GHz spectrum to power the deployment of the fifth-generation networks in the country.
The Infinix Zero 5G and Tecno Pova 5G, two smartphones made by Tecno Technology Shenzhen Co Limited; Nokia 8.3 5G, by HMD Global; the Oppo Reno 5G, by Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp. Ltd, and the Redmi Note 10 5G, by Xiaomi Communications Co. Ltd, are the five smartphones that have been issued type approval by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Technology Times review of NCC’s latest type approvals shows that two of the 5G smartphones, Infinix Zero 5G and Tecno Pova 5G, have local type approval issued to Carlcare Development Nigeria Limited, the local after-sales service brand for Tecno, Infinix, Itel, Oraimo and Syinix, according to the company’s website.
HMD Mobile Nigeria Limited, the local subsidiary of the phone marker, HMD Global, was issued the type approval for the Nokia 8.3 5G while LM Ericsson Nigeria Limited holds the type approval for the Oppo Reno 5G smartphone. That of the Redmi Note 10 5G mobile phone was issued to Ya Feng Technology Limited.
Regulator: Why 5G Handsets Need Type Approval
The type approval, NCC says, is a series of applicable technical standards and tests that all mobile handsets are required to have met for the telecoms regulator “to allow them to be sold to consumers and operated in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
NCC’s type approval has so far been issued 1,844 handsets and 4,355 telecoms equipment under powers granted the Commission by its establishing laws, the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, “to establish and enforce standards for all telecommunications equipment in operation in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to ensure that they operate seamlessly and safely within the Nigerian telecommunications environment.”
To ensure maximum interoperability and affordability for consumers, NCC says its set Type Approval standards are based on international standards from The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and its International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR), The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
“All equipment manufacturers, vendors and operators,” the telecoms regulator says, “including customer devices such as mobile phones and wireless adapters, must therefore ensure that their equipment conform to the applicable standards as mandated by the Commission before bringing them into Nigeria.”
NCC: 5G Winners Start Rollout in August
MTN Nigeria Plc and Mafab Communications Limited, winners of the 3.5GHz spectrum auctions, are to begin Nigeria’s 5G deployment in August this year, NCC said recently. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it issued final letters of award of 5G spectrum licences to the duo, MTN and Mafab Communications, who emerged winners of the 3.5GHz spectrum auction conducted by the telecoms regulator on Monday, December 13, 2021.
Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC Public Affairs Director, who announced this, says the telecoms regulator has issued the formal award letters to the two winners. Under the auction rules and in line with the terms and conditions of the 5G licence, “the licensees are expected to commence roll out 5G services effective from August 24, 2022.”
Adinde says that “with the issuance of the final letters of awards of 5G spectrum and in line with the Auction’s Information Memorandum (IM), the two licensees are now expected to accelerate deployment of 5G network that will usher Nigeria into a more robust Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a more digitised Nigerian economy.”
When the 5G network is deployed in Nigeria, the service “will bring a lot of benefits and opportunities that will engender accelerated growth and smart living in the country. The technology is also expected to bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.”
Subsequently, Adinde says, the Commission, on February 24, 2022, confirmed the full payment of $273.6 million each by the two spectrum winners, in addition to the spectrum assignment fees paid by MTN, for the 5G spectrum licence.
“The Commission is optimistic that effective implementation of the National Policy on 5G will accelerate the actualisation of the national targets in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, as well as other sectoral policies designed to enhance Nigeria’s digital transformation”, the NCC Public Affairs Director says.
“While the licensees are expected to meet the timetable regarding their 5G network rollout obligations,” Adinde says, “the NCC requires collective efforts and support of the private-sector and government toward transforming every aspect of the nation’s economy through 5G, which will herald greater transformation than what the nation witnessed with the 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G.”