" ITREALMS: Govt, ATCON tasked on telecom research institute

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Govt, ATCON tasked on telecom research institute

FEDERAL Government and Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) have been tasked to set up telecom research institute in the country.

Reputed telecom and Internet technologies consultant, Prof. Augustine Odinma, made this call in a paper he presented at the just concluded International Conference and Exhibition on Power and Telecommunications (ICEPT 2005) organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Electrical Division in Lagos.

Prof. Odinma in the paper titled “Next Generation Networks; Whence, Where and Thence” said most telecom operators in the country are still battling to migrate fully to the enhanced second generation network (2.5G), when discussions on forth generation (4G) network is already gaining currency, globally.

He also said that telecom planners and designers in Nigeria should be proactive and not always playing a catch-up. Noting that the need to recoup investment has led investors into phased migration, “So, rather than moving to third generation (3G), they first migrate to 2.5G and then to 3G”.

Warning that enthusiasm for 3G have been waning due to the data rates observed to be disappointing, “because instead of one standard worldwide, there are three incompatible systems in the United States (US) alone”.

He emphasised at the event that there are two main evolution standards for 3G, namely the Wideband-Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) and variations of CDMA 2000 with CDMA 2000 1x Evolution Data Optimised (Ev-Do), which were expected to offer higher rate.

But demands for higher rates and non-compatibility of 3G standards have shifted interest to 4G wireless networks, which is expected to support data rates above 100 Mbps, wireless integratible and yet network application independent, he said.

ATCON, he said, is to Nigerian telecom industry what Telecomm Industries Association (TIA) is to US, pointing out that ATCON could get its employees involved in some level of research, “no matter how small it is”.

He lamented that the 4G discussions are currently on without the telcos in the country having any say in it which consequently, means that poor investment decisions would probably be made years to come, out of ignorance.

“The government should be encouraged to set up research bodies, just as the European Union is doing with the European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI),” he said.

Advising NSE, to also raise the awareness on the importance of research in the society and create a forum for competition.

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