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NIGERIANS may begin to enjoy 5G services soon as MTN Nigeria plans an early launch of the technology.

According to the Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, 5G services may go live in the nation as early as the second half of 2022 as the company is ready for it.

This is a couple of months after the firm paid its spectrum licence fee, and ahead of what the Nigerian Communications Commission proposed in its ‘Draft Information Memorandum on 3.5 GHz Spectrum Auction.’

In it, the commission had said 5G would be rolled out in six states within its first two years of deployment.

Toriola disclosed this during the launch of the MTN Media Innovation Programme on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said, “Nigeria is probably the first, maybe the second, to do a proper 5G spectrum auction with enough bandwidth to give real 5G service and we must thank the minister and the NCC for this.

“A few months later, South Africa decided to do their own spectrum auction pretty much copying Nigeria. According to the Information Memorandum for the auction, we would be able to launch early in the second half of 2022, but we are working with the ministry and the regulator to see if we can bring 5G to life a lot earlier in Nigeria.”

In December 2021, MTN and Mafab Nigeria Communications Limited won the NCC’s auction for the two available lots of 100 MHz TDD slots of 3.5 GHz band for the provision of 5G in the country.

Since winning the auction, Mafab has said little or nothing about its deployment plan.

Meanwhile, MTN and Pan-Atlantic University announced the launch of the MTN Media Innovation Programme, which will be run by PAU’s School of Media and Communication.

According to the organisations, the programme is a six-month, fully funded fellowship for Nigerian media practitioners, designed to support the sustainable development of the nation’s changing media scene.

They added that the fellowship is designed to give participants a greater understanding of the nation’s technology sector and the connection between media and technology.

Toriola said, “We are driven by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected world and are driving accelerated growth by leading digital solutions for Nigeria’s progress.

“Against this backdrop, the media landscape continues changing at remarkable speeds, boosted by new technologies. Thus, it is only fitting that we support developments in the Nigerian media space with our infrastructure and enable capacity building initiatives to enable innovation in media practice.

“It’s a delight to partner with Pan-Atlantic University, who, through their expertise, have contributed to the professional development of the media industry, not only in Nigeria but across Africa.”

The Vice-Chancellor, Pan-Atlantic University, Prof. Enase Okonedo, added, “The School of Media and Communication was established to train professionals who will uphold the highest intellectual, ethical, and professional values that promote creativity, critical knowledge, social responsibility, and the spirit of enterprise.

“The MTN Media Innovation Programme could not have come at a better time for Nigerian media practitioners to imbibe these pertinent values.”

According to the organisers, the course, which is fully sponsored by MTN, is now open for applications and will be available to 20 successful applicants. They added that interested applicants can visit https://smc.edu.ng/mtnmip/ to apply.

We’ve paid N3.5tn taxes, levies to govt-MTN

Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria also said it had paid N3.5tn as levies and taxes to the government since its inception.

Toriola said that the organisation had committed over N3.4tn on capital investment.

Toriola said that MTN had enabled broad socio-economic development by creating values for shareholders, with over N2.5tn dividends paid since inception.

The CEO, who assured that shareholders would be smiling to the bank, said that more than 30 million Nigerians had benefited from N28bn investments through MTN Foundation.

“MTN has been enabling broad socio-economic development by supporting financial infrastructure through over 174,500 ATMs and PoS for electronic payments, while it has also created alternative payment channels to 9.4 million active customers.

“It has equally provided high-capacity Internet for over 160 public and private universities, polytechnics and colleges,” he said.

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