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Service quality gaps in 3G, 4G widening ahead of 5G revolution

Recent claims in far away Dubai, venue of the just concluded 39th Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX), by the Minister of Communications, Dr Isah Pantami that Nigeria is good to go in having infrastructure that can drive 5G, has attracted discussion amongst industry pundits.

However, majority of experts, who barred their minds on the comment, called on the minister to first work for the rise in quality of service by addressing yawning gaps in access and use of 3G and 4G in Nigeria.

Vox Pop conducted by Business Hilights Intelligent Unit (BHIU), an independent research department in Media Hilights group, showed that every seven in 10 data users in Nigeria are not fully satisfied on quality of service coming from all the networks.

Many of them agreed that no particular network is better than the other in terms of quality of service, but they tend to swing best quality of service amongst themselves from month to month.

No doubt, the position of subscribers on quality of data services across the networks including Internet Service providers (ISPs) that best quality on network basis is not stable, goes to agree with the monthly figures from the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

It would be recalled that checks from NCC’s monthly industry statistics has a history of revealing turn-by-turn loss and gain in data subscriber base which further means that no particular can maintain data quality of service lead for months at a stretch.

To many, the 3G and 4G services remain a scam as they argue that ordinary uploading and downloading of files could take 15 minutes to 20 minutes and even more or endless.

Many experts’, however traced the unreliable quality of service to the reason why almost every Nigerian whose work is data-dependent always clutch not less than three to five networks internet access device so as to switch in times of failures.

NITDA E Nigeria
R-l: President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu and DG of Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isah Ibrahim Pantami at the e-Nigeria Conference in Abuja recently. Photo: Business Hilights

Dr Pantami had told the whole world at GITEX 2019 that “Nigeria is ready for 5G network but preparation is key. We are ready, but need deployment; and before that we need pre-deployment and post-deployment.

“We are working to handle the challenges of pre-deployment but the approval has been given for the trial.

“Nigeria is not yet into the 5G network deliberately. Some of the telecom operators are ready to deploy the 5G network but the proposal was put on hold, so we can be productive and proactive.

“There could be potential challenges that could obstruct 5G network, which include regulations. You cannot just rush into it without preparing your ground,’’ he said.

According to him, “The Federal Government is engaging some security agencies like the National Intelligence Agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Nigeria Police, among others to ensure a seamless process, while establishing regulation on deploying the 5G network.”