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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Nigeria commences demo on 3G, GSM operators express interest

Remmy Nweke

ALL the five Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) operators in the country may have applied to the telecommunications regulator, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) for the Third Generation (3G) license, just as Nigeria has commenced trial of the relevant frequencies on that platform.

NCC has also begun investigation of the international prepaid call operators in the country, even as current subscribers may need new handsets in the 3G dispensation.

Third generation promises higher data speeds and thus higher usage of both data transmission and other multimedia transmission.

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, gave this indication in a chat with newsmen in Lagos, Wednesday, after delivering a paper at a business luncheon of the Ikeja branch, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).

Dr. Ndukwe who dwelt on “Third Generation Services and Their Potentials for Nigeria” said all the GSM operators expressed interest in rolling out 3G licenses.

According to him, the operators also asked for demonstration frequencies, which he said, have been given to three vendors, namely Huawie, Ericsson and Alcatel.

He said that why the operators were denied demonstration frequencies was to avoid temptation of their going headlong in rolling out the services.

The demonstration, he also said, would last for three months after which the outcome would be evaluated to know if extension is necessary.

Dr. Ndukwe, further expressed optimism that GSM operators have the chance of getting 3G license and NCC has not actually developed the modalities as to the licensing.

The commission, he said, is currently investigating international prepaid operators in the country.

Ndukwe, who described 3G as a farther enhancement of telecommunications services to Second Generation (2G) and enhanced 2G which is 2.5, said it enables the user to transmit and receive voice, data, and picture signals simultaneously on portable mobile phone while in motion.

Otherwise referred to as triple play or quadruple play when Internet is incorporated, he pointed out that the relative speed of the user with respect to the base station or source of transmission, affects the data rate at a given quality of service.

On the service point of view, Dr. Ndukwe said, 3G provides toll quality telephone service, compact disc quality music, picture and video offering, internet access and location based services as well as high end games in addition to electronic commerce with rich content.

Stressing that 3G services consume a lot of bandwidth and generate high data rates.

“A 3G video service, for example, generates over 500 kilobits per second (kps) data rates compared with 13 kps generated by a GSM user,” he declared.

Eventually if 3G takes off in the country, new subscribers to the platform, he said, would require new handsets since most present handsets being used are not usable with 3G.

“The operating environment also needs to be prepared for the network resources that 3G services would demand,” he said, noting that presently, the GSM 2.0G/2.5G networks may have to undergo some technology upgrade to an all Internet Protocol (IP) network for greater efficiency and throughput.

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1 comment:

Oluniyi David Ajao said...

3G in Nigeria is much welcome though almost long-overdue. Countries like South Africa have witnessed an increase in data usage especially for mobiles, since the introduction of 3G networks in 2004.