Nigeria’s newest telecom operator, MAFAB Communications, has launched its 5G network services for Nigerians. The launch ceremony took place in Abuja on Tuesday January 24 and in Lagos on Thursday January 26, 2023.  This announcement comes five months after MTN launched its 5G network in August 2022 and MAFAB was given a five-month extension for its 5G network rollout by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The event also doubled as the unveiling event of its new logo and brand name: Mcom. It’s important to note that these events weren’t the commercial launch as potential users cannot access or experience MCom’s 5G services yet. The company shared that the date for its commercial launch will be disclosed in the near future.

Dr. Musbahu Bashir, chairman and founder of  MAFAB at the launch event in Lagos

“As the second operator to launch 5G in Nigeria, Mcom expects more coverage for Nigerians and acceleration of broadband services,” Dr. Musbahu Bashir, chairman and founder of  MAFAB, said at the event in Lagos.

He shared that the deployment will commence in six cities: Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kano, and Kaduna. The timeline for the deployment in other cities will be shared later.

The governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the state’s commissioner for science and technology, Hakeem Fahm, applauded MAFAB for the 5G launch.

“I am now very much optimistic that we will achieve resounding success because of the opportunity that MAFAB 5G network represents,” Sanwo-Olu said. 

MAFAB Communications Limited was registered on July 8, 2020, according to the company’s website and TechCabal’s findings on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) site.   It claims to provide and operate local Interconnect and International carrier services; there’s no information about clients on its website.

The company is led by Musbahu Muhammad Bashir, the chairman of the Althani Group, an Abuja-based holding company that oversees a group of companies, including Eman Homes & Estate, Althani Investment Limited, Salam Takaful Insurance, and MAFAB Communications.

5G is all about data

During the launch event, Adebayo Onigbanjo, the corporate communications manager, explained that the company, which wouldn’t be offering any 2G, 3G, or 4G services, would focus on providing data starting with the fixed wireless access market. A strategy that correlates with the fact that consumer spending on data will soon outstrip that of voice service. 

5G speed test at the Lagos event

To achieve this roll-out, the company shared that it will rely on partnering and sharing existing telecom infrastructure to achieve nationwide coverage, although it didn’t disclose how much investment it has made in physical infrastructure. For its voice service, Mcom would leverage the national roaming strategy to ensure voice services across cities.

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