West indian countries

Despite perceived challenges, more countries push for 5G adoption as rollout begins in Nigeria February


Emma Okonji

More and more countries in Africa, Asia and Europe are pushing for the adoption and deployment of the 5G network, despite perceived fears in some quarters that 5G technology causes so much interference with the signals of aviation and even human health risks, although these fears are not known. to any scientific study.

In Africa, countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda have been conducting trials on 5G technology in preparation for its deployment.

Nigeria, which has even gone beyond trial testing of 5G technology, had concluded the auction of its 5G spectrum license, and the spectrum winners, MTN Nigeria Plc and Mafab Communications Limited, are expected to pay the 5G spectrum license fees in February to allow them to begin 5G network rollout.

In Asia, countries like Taiwan and India are also planning to roll out the 5G network. Last year, the Taiwanese government set aside $555 million to speed up the process of rolling out 5G in the country.

Just this week, India’s telecom operators said they were ready to secure the spectrum they needed to carry out commercial 5G service launches after the country’s Finance and Trade Minister Nirmala Sitharaman , unveiled plans for an auction later this year and set a target for the launch of 5G services within the next 14 months.

In India’s annual budget statement, Sitharaman announced the tentative schedule for its upcoming spectrum auction alongside an industry program, which it said would provide design-driven manufacturing and build a strong 5G ecosystem.

Carriers are expected to commercially launch 5G services in the fiscal year ending March 2023.
Indian carriers have been conducting limited 5G trials in various cities in preparation, although the three major vendors have asked for allocations in the next auction to be priced to ensure they have enough cash to fund the rollout. full.

The country had previously tried to sell spectrum suitable for 5G in the 700 MHz band alongside various other frequencies, but failed to attract bids due to high reserve prices as operators ran out of money were focused on 4G.
A number of structural reforms have, however, been introduced in 2021 to accelerate further investment in 5G, which is the next-generation technology, to relieve pressure on operators in financial difficulty.

Despite pressure from various countries around the world to deploy 5G, some schools of thought are of the view that the deployment of 5G will not only cause risks to human health through its electromagnetic emissions from base stations, but that it will also cause serious obstructions and interference to aviation. signals around airports, as modern aircraft could be very sensitive to 5G technology.

Recently, international airlines have threatened to cancel scheduled flights to most cities in the United States, for fear of interference from the 5G network on aviation signals around most American cities.
The flight cancellation was based on perceived concerns that the rollout of 5G in some cities across the United States would severely disrupt aviation signals around airports.

Dubai’s Emirates airline and British Airways had also announced that they would suspend flights to several destinations in the United States from January 19, 2022, until further notice due to concerns over the rollout of the 5G mobile network.
According to a statement from the airlines, this decision is “due to operational issues related to the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services in the United States”.

Ignoring these perceived fears, the President of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, told THISDAY that it was strange to read that international airlines were canceling flights to some cities in the United States, due to perceived concerns that the 5G network would cause obstruction to aviation signals.

According to him, “There are no known reports that 5G could cause obstruction to aviation signals. Nigeria is on the verge of rolling out the 5G network and there should be no fear of the disruption. perception of the 5G network on aviation signals in Nigeria. This is all part of the conspiracy theories coming from those campaigning against 5G rollouts.”

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