MTN is leading Nigeria’s first 5G rollout — Vophs Africa.

Nigerians in seven cities, including Lagos and Abuja, will get a taste of how 5G internet connectivity works in a few weeks as MTN launches a formal open pilot of the technology. “Customers with certain enabled devices will be allowed to connect and try out the new service where coverage is available,” the company said in a statement.

The pilot follows an auction by Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator. 3.5GHz spectrum license to MTN and Mafab Communications last December, at a reported price $273 million each. MTN announced its pilot on August 24. A date fixed by the regulator Back in May. Mafab got a 5-month extension to start its operations in 2023.

This leaves MTN as Nigeria’s 5G first mover, cementing its decades-long leadership of the local telecoms industry where it has 38% of the country’s 206 million GSM subscribers, compared to Airtel. , more than Globacom and 9Mobile.

What will be the population coverage when MTN fully launches 5G?

5G connectivity will depend on the desired routers and smartphones. MTN has started promoting these devices for pre-order with the option of pickup from its stores or door-to-door delivery. But for all the potential excitement, the rollout will be a gradual, progressive process, says Carl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria.

“Most developed countries in the world have no more than 11 to 20% coverage of 5G,” he said today (August 25) at a chat hosted by Endeavor Nigeria, an entrepreneurship support organisation. “Our full launch will be limited coverage but we’ll always be moving forward in 5G capacity. We’re going to take advantage of the time where we only provide capacity to accelerate as aggressively as we can.”

With the ability to add $2.2 trillion for Africa’s economy by 2034 (pdf), about 13 countries on the continent are in various stages of 5G deployment. Still, the availability of commercial 5G is very limited. A handful of African cities, mostly in South Africa where MTN is behind most of the launch (MTN Group is based in South Africa). Econet Wireless has commercial 5G in two cities in Zimbabwe, while Safaricom has limited availability in Nairobi and two other cities in Kenya.

In Nigeria, Toriola expects MTN to benefit from its launch. “On 5G technology, we’re going to be the undisputed leader. I’m not going to commit to you. [on population coverage] Because I still need to approve my budget for next year but we will be aggressive.

Leave a Comment