…Plans roll out across the country

By Chinenye Anuforo

Mafab Communication (Mcom) rolled out its 5G network in Lagos, 48 hours after it made history with its launch in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.

Mafab is one of the three telecom operators that won the 5G 3.5GHz spectrum licences in Nigeria. The others include MTN and Airtel.

Speaking during launch event in Lagos, the Chairman of the company, Dr. Mushabu Bashir, said Mcom 5G launch marks the beginning of immense opportunities for the country to achieve infinite possibilities with a purpose of enabling connectivity for a digital future.

He said, “As the second operator to launch 5G in Nigeria, Mcom expects more coverage for Nigerians and acceleration of broadband services.

Putting things in proper perspective; Mcom will play a major role in advancing new technologies that will push Nigeria beyond just being a consumer of technology but a country playing an active role in developing and implementing new technologies. It will also enable our country take its position as a global technology hub in Africa and the world at large. You may have heard it before, but it bears re-telling that the 5G network will usher into this country a wide array of business opportunities, wherein various business outfits will expand their frontiers with operational ease and speed, especially in the fields of education, medical sciences, engineering, security, businesses like the banking sector, SMEs, smart cities, transportation, entertainment etc., and allow Nigerians meet the long-term goal of ensuring that everybody is connected”.

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On the company’s plans, Bashir said it is quite ambitious and realistic. He explained that with the initial rollout in 6 cities, Mcom plans rollout in additional sites and cities across the country.

Continuing, he pointed out the 5G technology is not just a mobile network but represents a new culture, and a new era of connectivity where billions of devices exchange data and instill intelligence in everyday life. “It creates new, intelligent systems; and it can help to develop new advanced manufacturing models. I cannot forget to mention the prospect of increased job opportunities as a consequence of the value-chain benefits, the technology will generate and offer. This is the dream we have all gathered here to launch today.”

In his own speech, the Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the Mcom launch in Lagos will bring the state even closer to realizing its dream of becoming a Smart City.

He said, “It is a fact that the contribution of the telecommunications industry has been a significant economic driver for Lagos State in particular and Nigeria as a whole, contributing more than $70 Billion and helping to create over half a million jobs. The prospects of what we can accomplish with the 5G network, which is next level technology, fills me with high hopes for the future of the different sectors of our economy, most especially the Security sector.

The overall objective of this administration is to harness technology, and our T.H.E.M.E.S agenda aims to enhance and empower the residents and investors in Lagos in order to achieve the transformation of Lagos State into a smart City Hub in Africa. I am now very optimistic that we will achieve resounding success because the opportunity that MAFAB 5G network represents has met our preparedness part of which is the country’s technology hub found in the Yaba district of Lagos, which when completed will be our own African Silicon Valley.”

Sanwo-Olu explained that the underpinning tenet of the development of new telecommunication protocols such as 5G is a committed focus on Research and Development.

“5G in many respects builds and improves on 4G technology with many applications and use cases in The Internet of Things (IoT), Remote and Distance Learning, more efficient medical services, potentials in rural connectivity and the development of self- driving cars. In many cases 5G is more than 50-100 times faster than 4G enables more robust connectivity for many industries. All of this would not have been possible without significant investment in R&D.

Lagos today has started one of the first structured nationwide R&D programs for a sub-national through our Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC). LASRIC as at today supports more than 50 R&D projects across 4 major universities in Lagos. The R&D projects span sectors such as medical research, circular economy, alternative energy, electronics, A.I and so on. It is important for us that Lagos and Nigeria at large not just be a technology adopter but a technology creator as this enables sustained economic development. Many of these R&D projects have patent pending application and we have received our first patent on a medical electronic device. In Lagos, we ascertain that Research and Development is imperative for the development of companies like MAFAB having leveraged the output of R&D work on 5G”, he stated.