Elevated cost of deployment may deny rural Nigerians access to 5G – Expert

Mr Jide Awe, an Information Technology (IT) expert, says high cost of deployment may deny rural Nigerians access to 5G network.

Awe, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Jidaw Systems Ltd., said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.

He said most of the providers of 5G services were at the moment targeting the upscale market.

“We could have 5G in rural areas as well, but so many factors come into play; one has to think of the high cost of installation and again its high speed and low latency require more equipment to extend signals.

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“It can work anywhere but it is more expensive and powerful than other network generations.

“It would take a while before we can have real 5G penetration in Nigeria because unlike the satellite which can be present anywhere, 5G involves constant laying of fibre to provide coverage in any area,” he said.

The IT expert said apart from the fact that providers were targeting urban and upscale market, it was essential to also look into the affordability of 5G compatible devices.

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He noted that most of the people in the rural areas might not be able to afford 5G compatible devices, adding that it would be a loss for network providers to deploy 5G in such areas.

“In the long run, when there is mass adoption of 5G we can start getting cheaper phones that are affordable for those in the remote areas, and that would encourage network providers to penetrate those areas,” Awe said

Speaking on other ways to boost 5G development, Awe stressed the need for government to increase investment in satellite internet technology to accelerate digital inclusion across the country.

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According to him, with technological developments, 5G satellite telecommunications will be a huge boom for both first responders and the average cell phone users.

He said deployment of satellite technology would enable those in remote or underserved areas receive high-quality 5G satellite coverage, instead of relying solely on expensive proprietary technology that still had coverage gaps.

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