MTN Nigeria has begun to roll out its 5G network service starting from Lagos. The launch came on the heels of its pilot launch as mandated by telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The first phase of the launch is expected to accelerate the development and digitisation of key sectors like education, gaming, healthcare and manufacturing. MTN 5G offers faster internet speed, a wide Wi-Fi connection range (up to 32 devices), lower latency and 100GB activation data bonus.
According to the leading telecom company, to access the 5G network and its benefits, customers need compatible 5G devices such as routers, iPads, tablets, PC, mobile phones and smart TVs.
The spectrum issued to MTN Nigeria as one of the two successful winners of the 5G licence (the other being Mafab Communications Ltd) holds a promising future for the technology. The 5G project is projected to contribute $2.2 trillion to the global economy by 2034, according to a GSMA intelligence report titled “The Mobile Economy”.
Speaking at the launch, Mohammed Rufai, Chief Technical Officer, MTN Nigeria said: “5G will revolutionise the way we live and communicate across industries. With the speeds 5G offers, we will be able to experience the internet with low latency, which means no lag, making our virtual interactions more real. At MTN, we will continue to pursue the rollout of 5G technology to revolutionise internet access across the continent.”
What can 5G do?
MTN Nigeria’s powered 5G network will be driven by software-defined network capabilities where a combination of currently available and well-understood AI techniques will allow a higher degree of practical independent operation.
AI is creating opportunities in terms of improved performance, higher efficiency, and enhanced customer experience as well as creating new business models and use cases for 5G, IoT and enterprise.
The 5G network is expected to empower consumers and enterprises with fast internet speed and low latency that will unlock the true potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Smart Cities and Immersive Communication over Augmented (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) for millions of new consumers in the country.
The new 5G services can bring about unique Sustainable Development initiatives for agriculture, energy, financial inclusion, and security, among others, overcoming past institutional challenges and barriers to growth.
How fast is 5G?
The truth is MTN 5G network is fast. Uploading a 3 gigabytes video with my 4G used to take 20 to 25 minutes but now with 5G, it takes less than 15 minutes. I did a speed test somewhere at Opebi (where the 5G network is enabled) and this was my result.
Considering my 4G network is 6Mbps or less than most times, then 5G’s result is mindblowing. Depending on the location, other people have reported higher internet speeds (as high as 600/800 Mbps).
The thing is the 5G’s network speed and latency levels differ in the areas the network is available. So the discrepancy in results. The network is available in 81 locations in Lagos, 42 in Abuja, 30 in Port Harcourt, 13 in Oyo state and in 5 other states in Nigeria.
The downsides of the MTN 5G router
Like every innovative technology before it, the MTN 5G router also has its shortcomings. We identified three major downsides of the MTN 5G router. They are: no battery or power bank, no unlimited internet and the price/data plan.
No battery or power bank
A downside to the router is that it doesn't have an inbuilt battery or power bank to charge if there’s no power (like HyNetflex External’s 4000mAh battery). Although the product target is offices or homes most users will connect to devices that have their inbuilt batteries.
So when there’s no power I won’t be able to connect to the internet. However, MTN said they will introduce a portable 5G modem you can move around with so hopefully, that will solve the power issue.
No unlimited internet
In addition, there won’t be unlimited data plans on the 5G router. The appeal of an unlimited plan would have been undeniable no doubt: as knowing that you’ll never exhaust your allotted (and fast) data would have been bliss.
However, in financial terms, it’s not a worthwhile investment as most of this data will never get used. In addition, the cost of building the infrastructure is expensive. Check out MTN 5G’s broadband router data plans.
The 5G router is available in three colours (white, black or yellow) and can be gotten for ₦50,000 ($118) on MTN’s website, e-marketplace or MTN walk-in stores.
At the moment the data bundle available for MTN’s 4G users still applies to 5G. However, since faster internet encourages more data consumption the data plans are expected to change according to user behaviour. So in the coming months, the company will increase the size of its data bundle.