•Calls for pre-order of 5G devices 

•To cover five cities in one month

•NCC clarifies 5-month extension for Mafab Communications 

Having won the 3.5GHz spectrum license for 5G network rollout in December last year, coupled with the issuance of the 5G spectrum license in May this year, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited is set to roll out its 5G network today.

The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Karl Toriola had said MTN was ready for rollout, having the required 5G equipment on the ground.

A source close to MTN Nigeria, however, said that MTN kept to its promise by commencing the rollout of its 5G network today from Lagos and Abuja, with plans to cover five cities within one month of the rollout. The cities include Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, and Kano.

Owing to the development, MTN has called on telecom subscribers to begin pre-order their 5G devices to enable them to enjoy the high-speed internet download with low latency that is associated with 5G since not all devices can access the 5G network. 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had given MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and Mafab Communications Limited up till today to begin the commercial rollout of their 5G networks across the country. But Mafab Communications Limited appears missing from the rollout plan for technical reasons, thereby leaving only MTN to begin the race.

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Mafab Communications in a statement this week had said the NCC issued it a 5-month extension period for its rollout.

MTN and Mafab, in December 2021, won the 3.5GHz Spectrum band for the 5G license and the NCC had given both operators up till August 24, to rollout 5G technology services across the country.

The Director, of Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, who confirmed the 5-month extension given to Mafab, said that NCC decided to extend the rollout date for Mafab alone because the company does not have an operating license to roll out a 5G network.

“The 5G license comes with a frequency license and not an operational license. So Mafab only has a frequency license and does not have an operational license and it needs to apply for a telecom operational license to enable it to roll out 5G services and other telecom services.

“The five months extension will enable Mafab to process its telecom operational license,” Muoka said.

THISDAY gathered that Mafab was issued an extension following the delays in receiving its unified operational license (USAL) and Numbering plan, which did not happen until the end of July.

Some industry stakeholders who are worried about the development questioned the rationale for the NCC to allow Mafab to bid for a 5G license when it has no telecom operational license, a development, which they said, would slow down 5G network rollout in the country.

A telecom operator who pleaded anonymity said it was wrong for NCC to have allowed Mafab Communications Limited to bid for a 5G spectrum license.

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