While as far back as December 13, 2021, Mafab Communications and MTN Nigeria won the 5G licenses, a widely published Elon Musk's Starlink got connected to the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) sometime last year. Going by these developments, Nigerians ought to have been enjoying a full rollout and implementation of the 5G services.
However, so far, there are no tell-tale signs of this happening.
On their portal, Mafab Communications (aka MCOM) prides itself as a 5G pioneer connecting individuals, families, businesses, and communities to the communication, ICT, and entertainment services that enable and empower their lives.
By the popularity index, MCOM appears far from being known for 5G services.
It was reported around January that MCOM would be rolling out its Fifth Generation (5G) network service in Nigeria in addition to unveiling its network.
Based on the Information Memorandum (IM) for the 5G spectrum auction that mandated an August 2022 rollout of the service in Nigeria, MTN was billed to commence the service on a pilot basis in August 2022 while expanding commercially by September 2022.
Although it is on record that MTN has connected over 81 locations in Lagos while currently connecting Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri, and Maiduguri, there is, however, no sign of 5G presently amongst MTN's services that only reflect 2G, 3G, and 4G
Under similar circumstances, Elon Musk’s Starlink also got connected to the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN).
This connection is expected to enable it to begin local routing of its traffic in Nigeria ahead of full-blown satellite broadband service.
An Internet exchange point (IXP) is a physical infrastructure that allows several Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Content Providers, and other IP Centric Organisations to exchange Internet traffic between their networks (autonomous systems) both locally and internationally.
The high-premium side acquisition cost of Musk's Starlink including its hardware cost currently fixed at $600 (about N438,000 at the parallel market rate) and monthly subscription pegged at $43 (about N31,000) may be enough reason for its slow or no pickup.
Considering all the technological innovations (e.g., metaverse, cryptoverse, IoT, digital economy, AR/XR, etc.) waiting to be powered better by 5G, Nigerians can no longer wait for immediate rollout going by all the fanfare so far.
These operators must be made to know that any further delays can create room for their licenses to be revoked or withdrawn for the benefit of better-prepared and mobilized operators.
We cannot afford to be left behind the 5G moving train all over the world.
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