MTN's 5G network is now active in Nigeria

MTN Nigeria has rolled out its 5G network across 190 sites in the country—becoming the first telecommunication provider in Nigeria to roll out the 5G mobile network.

MTN Nigeria has rolled out its 5G network across 190 sites in the country—becoming the first telecommunication provider in Nigeria to roll out the 5G mobile network.

With this rollout, Nigeria has now joined South Africa and Kenya in the 5G race in Africa. MTN is expected to increase the number of its 5G sites to 600 by October.

MTN is currently collaborating with the Federal Government of Nigeria to achieve a 70% internet penetration by 2025. According to the General Manager, Fixed Broadband, MTN, Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, MTN Group's Strategic Ambition 2025 is in close alignment with the Federal Government’s broadband targets. Ikenna-Emeka said that the telecom provider's intent is to deliver the right level of effective digital solutions to power Africa’s growth.

Prior to the rollout, MTN Nigeria with support from mobile operators like Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson ran spectrum tests for the 5G network in Abuja, Calabar and Lagos in 2019, this made Nigeria the first West African nation to initiate the 5G trial.

In December 2021, after 11 rounds of bidding that lasted eight hours, Mafab and MTN Nigeria emerged as the two successful winners of the 3.5gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction for the deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria. The National Communication Commission also confirmed that the two companies fully paid $273.6 million each for the 5G spectrum licence in February 2022.

Related Article: Understanding the 5G network deployment in Nigeria.

Unlike MTN, Mafab Communications will roll out its 5G network in the next five months. "In line with the conditions of the 5G licence, the licences were expected to commence the roll-out of 5G services effective from August 24, 2022. However, Mafab has been issued a five-month extension following delays in receiving its Universal Access Service License (UASL) and Numbering plan, which did not happen until the end of July," Mafab's chairman, Mushabu Bashir said.

At the moment, less than 1% of mobile phone connections in Sub-Saharan Africa are on 5G, and this number is not expected to grow this year but is likely to reach 7% in 2026, per a report by Ericsson, a Swedish networking and telecommunications company that partnered with MTN Nigeria for its 5G trial in 2019.

MTN Nigeria 5G coverage areas

Despite the rollout, not every MTN user will be able to access the 5G network immediately, only 5G-enabled devices can access the network. The MTN 5G router is currently available for preorder at the cost of ₦50,000 (~$100). The 5G network is currently active in nine states—Anambra, Borno, Delta, Edo, Imo, Kano, Lagos, Rivers, Oyo—and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The coverage areas with the aforementioned locations include (the list have been arranged in alphabetical order to ensure easy accessibility):

Anambra: Nnamdi Azikwe University, Ifite Awka, Anambra state Secretariat, Okpuno Akwa and Obunagu.

Borno: New and Old GRA Maiduguri and the University of Maiduguri, Jere.

Delta: Okuokoko

Edo: Ogbe, Oredo; Olukwu; Ugbowo; University of Benin, Ekosodin and Umagbae North.

FCT-Abuja: Abuja Airport Road, Apo, Asokoro Extension, Asokoro Municipal Area Council, CBD Phase 1, Dawaki, Durumi, FHA Abuja, Galadima Gwaripa, Garki 2, Garki Area 1, Garki Area 11, Garki Area 3, Garki Area 8, Gidan Boyi, Gudu Municipal Area Council, Gwarinpa Housing Estate, Idu Industrial District, Jabi, Kado, Katambe, Kaura Municipal Area Council, Kubwa, Life Camp, Lokogoma, Lugbe Zone 1., Mabushi, Maitama, Maitama Extension, Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Three Arms Zone, Utako, Works and Housing Abuja, Wuse 1 Zones 1-6, Wuse 2A, Wuse 2B and Wuye.

Imo: Emmanuel College Owerri, Nekede Garden Estate, Owerri Town and Wetheral Road Owerri.

Kano: Badawa, Bayero University, Caterpillar Kano, Emirs Palace Kano, Fagge Secretariat, Gwale and Rijiyar Zaki.

Lagos: 1004, Abijoh Village, Abraham Adesanya, Abule-Oja, Adeniji Adele, Adeola Odeku, Adetokunbo Ademola, Aguda, Agungi, Ajah, Ajao Estate, Ajose Adeogun, Akin Adesola, Alagomeji, Alausa, Alfred Rewane, Anifowoshe, Awolowo Road, Badore, Balogun, Banana Island, Barracks Surulere, Bode Thomas, Bourdillon, Carlton Gate Estate, Chevron Lagos, Chevy Estate, Computer Village Lagos, Dolphin Estate, Ebute-Metta, Eric Moore, Femi Okunnu Estate, Glover Road Ikoyi, Graceland Estate, Idi-Oro, Igbosere, Ikate Elegushi, Ikeja GRA, Ikota Villa, Ikoyi Lagos, Ilupeju Ikeja, Illupeju Mushin, Itire Mushin, Jakande Estate Lekki, Langbasa, Lekki Phase 1, Lekki Scheme 2, Light House Estate, Magboro, Marina, Maroko, Mma 1, Mma 2, Mushin, Nicon Estate, Northern Foreshore Estate, Obalende, Obalende Eti-Osa, Ogombo, Oke Ira Nla, Onikan, Onike, Oniru Estate, Onitiri, Opebi, Osapa London, Osborne, Palm Spring Estate, Palmgrove, Palms Shopping Mall, Parkview Estate, Pinnock Beach Estate, Sabo-Yaba, Saka Tinubu, Sangotedo, University of Lagos, Victoria Garden City, Victory Estate, Yaba Lagos and Yaba Tech.

Rivers: Ada George Road Axis, Agip PH, Artillery PH, Choba Town, D Line, Diobu Mile 1 and 3, Elekahia, Elelenwo, GRA Phase 2, Mgbuoba, Mgbuosimini, NTA PH Mguoba, Ohiamini, Old Aba road PH, Old GRA PH, Old Township PH, Oroworoko, Port Harcourt Rural, Rumudara, Rumueme, Rumuepirikom, Rumuogba, Rumuola, Rumuomasi, Shell Industrial Area, Shell Road, Trans Amadi, University of Port Harcourt and Woji PH.

Oyo: Agodi, Challenge Oyo, Dugbe, Iyaganku Ibadan North-West, New Bodija, Nist Samonda, Old Bodija, Oluyole, Samonda, The Polytechnic Ibadan North and South Campuses, Trans Amusement Park and the University of Ibadan.