In a world where connectivity is paramount, Nigeria has taken a giant leap in its digital journey with the arrival of 5G technology. This innovative development in the telecom industry has the potential to transform the internet landscape in Nigeria and open up a world of possibilities for people, companies, and the country at large.
Nigeria has emerged as one of the world’s major drivers of the telecommunications revolution over the past 22 years, beginning in 2001 at the dawn of the 21st century. The internet has played a significant role in placing the country at the forefront of technological advancements in Africa, with the number of active internet subscribers standing at 154,847,901 as of Q4 2022, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Over these years, we encountered the first (1G) Generation technology popularly referred to as GSM, which focused on phone voice calls, then 2G came and enabled short-messaging layers so we could send SMSs. We saw a significant turnaround in innovation with the introduction of 3G, which gave us the fundamental network speeds needed to launch the first smartphones, and then the high data transfer speeds of 4G LTE that allowed us access to video streaming with little buffering, which consequently gave rise to the emergence of connected devices and location services that we use and enjoy today.
Today we have 5G, which is the world’s next technological breakthrough and with the forthcoming initial commercial phase rollout of Mcom 5G network, the country is on the brink of a significant transformation in the way its citizens, businesses, and government institutions access and experience digital technology. One way Mcom 5G stands out from the existing 5G rollouts is its decision to deploy a 5G standalone (SA) architecture and even for Africa’s digital landscape, this is a transformative feature leap. Mcom being a greenfield operator is taking advantage of all the new features, approaches and innovation in global digital, mobile and data technology.
Majority of the 5G rollouts in the world have been built on their current 4G LTE networks, which integrate 5G radios managed on a 4G network. Although Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G is a useful way for utilizing 5G, the disadvantage to it is that some essential 5G capabilities cannot be realized through NSA due to its performance restrictions. In order to unlock the full power of 5G including its mission critical and massive connection propositions, network providers would need a dedicated 5G core that comes with standalone architecture and that is where Mcom 5G comes in.
5G Standalone Architecture (SA) connects to a 5G core network where 4G isn’t a dependant requisite factor and provides the fully digitized platform required to deploy new cloud services and to enjoy the cloud-native 5G benefits. The 5G standalone core is specifically created from the start for the deployment of digital-native 5G networks and because of its greater scalability and flexibility, this enables network service providers to build and iterate functionalities faster.
At the heart of this transformation lies the promise of unprecedented speed. In comparison to the present 4G LTE networks, 5G is expected to provide internet speeds that are up to 100 times faster. Imagine downloading an entire high-definition movie in a matter of seconds or making lag-free video calls. The implications of this dramatic speed boost are profound.
For Nigerians, this means an end to frustrating slow connections, particularly in densely populated urban areas. It also means that businesses can harness the power of super-fast data transfer to improve their operations, engage customers more effectively, cloudify all business activities and develop new digital services.
The rollout of the Mcom 5G standalone network will go beyond just faster internet. It will serve as a cornerstone for emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), Mobile Cloud Computing, and these innovations are set to reshape industries across the spectrum.
In agriculture, for instance, IoT devices can monitor crop conditions, leading to increased yields and more efficient resource use. Healthcare can be revolutionized with telemedicine and remote surgery, expanding access to medical expertise in remote areas. AI-powered applications will enhance industries, ranging from finance to transportation, making them more efficient and accessible.
Other benefits that Mcom 5G (SA) network is poised to provide includes network slicing, which offers customers specific service requirements and low latency communications for applications with requirements that can only be fulfilled by ultra low latency and the high-speed data connectivity that 5G NSA can’t deliver. This will bring about enhanced end user experience and superior network efficiency.
The potential economic benefits of Mcom 5G in Nigeria are not far-fetched and its rollout will necessitate significant investments in infrastructure that would translate into job creation and innovation across various sectors, including construction, telecommunications, and technology.
As Nigerian businesses, individuals and government bodies harness the potential of Mcom 5G for innovation, the digital economy is expected to expand rapidly, leading to increased revenue, entrepreneurship, and employment opportunities, placing us at the forefront of global competitiveness.
Today, Mcom’s race to harness the full potential of 5G is well underway, and is poised to shape Nigeria’s digital economy for the future.