Airtel Begins it’s 5G Network Rollout.

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WHILE it kicked off its fifth generation (5G) network rollout in four locations, including Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and Abuja, telecommunications firm, Airtel, is targeting coverage of the entire country by the end of the current financial year.

The year usually ends March 31. Airtel said for anyone to enjoy the innovative service, the subscriber must have a 5G compatible device and be within the coverage area.

Speaking at the unveiling in Lagos, yesterday, the service provider explained that it unveiled a non-standalone version, which it described has being far better in service delivery.

The operator promised its subscribers speed of up to 100 times faster than 4G, ultra-low latency and increased network capacity. The launch comes six months after Airtel purchased 100MHz of spectrum in the 3500MHz band and 2x5MHz of 2600MHz spectrum from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for $316.7 million.

Airtel, which has 60 million subscribers in Nigeria and 27 per cent market penetration, as of April, said it would use the purchase to improve the quality of its 4G network, and launch 5G. Furthermore, in May, the operator renewed its 3G licence, which will now expire in 2032.

Airtel Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Carl Cruz, said the 5G revolution is a quantum leap from 4G, stressing that though the latter (4G) is remarkable, 5G opens a new vista.

According to him, life is definitely going to get more interesting and easier. “We can only be limited by the limit of our imagination,” he said.

The Airtel boss said with 5G, there would be more collaboration among stakeholders in the telecoms space to do new things with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Smart Cities, among others.

Cruz appreciated NCC, saying it enabled the country to join the first 60 countries to roll out the service. He said: “Airtel Nigeria is proud to be an early mover with 5G technology, not just in Africa, but all over the world. Thanks to the commitment of the Nigerian government, 5G became a reality early in Nigeria, when only about 60 countries had access worldwide. In addition to that, the frequency spectrum band allocated to 5G will make the experience more worthwhile for consumers.

“Our goal at Airtel Nigeria, therefore, is to make 5G accessible and widespread in the country.” Giving more insight into the company’s plan, the Chief Commercial Officer, Femi Oshinlaja, said to ensure more Nigerians have access to the technology, the firm is offering its router for N30,000, and has partnered with Samsung to deliver the Galaxy A14 model at a very affordable price.

He said though 5G is positioned to consume more data because it enables more speed and latency, “the rate and prices of data will remain the same.”