Myths, facts about 5G penetration

 There are two main worries about the Fifth Generation technology that are both related to the radiation the technology produces. The most prevalent belief is that 5G contributes to cancer. The second worry is that radiation from 5G weakens the immune system and promotes the spread of the Coronavirus Disease.

But in Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission, in May, gave MTN and Mafab Communications, winners of its 3.5GHz spectrum auction held on Monday, December 13, 2021, the final letters of award of the spectrum licences.

On September 18, 2022, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc commercially launched 5G in Nigeria, while the latter has yet to begin its 5G operations

This comes after MTN’s August 5G pilot launch, which followed NCC’s rollout guidelines. The business entity announced in August that it would roll out 5G services in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri and Maiduguri. As a result of the commercial launch, 5G services are now accessible in these areas. The company disclosed, in its half-year report, that it had set up 127 5G sites in advance of the launch. The nationwide rollout of 5G is anticipated to occur in stages beginning in 2025.

The MTN broadband router is only offered in few locations in Nigeria, according to Financial Street‘s findings, and it costs N50,000. 

The Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020–2025) and the goals of the Federal Government’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy may both be made easier to achieve with the help of the 5G network, claims NCC. 

Additionally, it was mentioned that, as of December 2019, data on coverage showed that, while 3G has a coverage of over 74 per cent, the majority of rural areas only have access to 89.8 per cent of 3G networks. The data-centric 4G had only about 37 per cent of the population covered at the same time, with less than 10 per cent connections leading to mobile Internet penetration of about 32 per cent. However, broadband penetration for the country, as of November 2021, was approximately 47 per cent. While lowering the price of data due to the large bandwidths available to the standard, 5G can increase broadband penetration. 

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that at the regional level, 5G will increase Gross Domestic Product most significantly in North America, followed by Asia and Oceania, Europe, Middle East and Africa. The network architecture will benefit from advancements brought about by 5G. The spectrums not used by 4G will be covered by 5G New Radio, the international standard for a more capable 5G wireless air interface. Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output technology, which enables multiple transmitters and receivers to transfer more data simultaneously, will be incorporated into new antennas. However, 5G is not just available in the new radio spectrum; it is intended to support a network that combines licensed and unlicensed wireless technologies in a converged, heterogeneous fashion. This will add bandwidth available for users.

The 5G architecture will be software-defined platforms, where software, rather than hardware, will be used to control networking functionality. The ability of 5G architecture to be agile and flexible and to provide anytime, anywhere user access is made possible by advancements in virtualisation, cloud-based technologies, Information Technology and business process automation. The 5G can create network slices, which are software-defined subnetwork constructs. Network administrators can use these slices to control network functionality based on users and devices.

The 5G also improves digital experiences through automation enabled by machine learning. Response times of fractions of a second (such as those required for self-driving cars) necessitate 5G networks enlisting automation via Machine Learning and, eventually, deep learning and Artificial Intelligence. Automated provisioning, proactive traffic and service management will lower infrastructure costs while improving the connected experience.

Economic impact of 5G

Various studies have found that 5G has some economic benefits, including the introduction of possibilities for innovation that go beyond today’s enterprise limitations, enabling new ways to work, think and solve traditional business challenges.

When considering the value of 5G for business transformation, some very important common characteristics emerge, such as; any process can be run remotely, regardless of how critical it is; real-time control of every business process; automation of operations; using computer resources where they make sense; running applications on the edge where relevant, inherent higher security exists without sacrificing overall performance.

According to a study by PwC, a 5G boost to the global GDP by industry in 2030, is projected at $1.3tn, of which 5G-powered healthcare is expected to amount to $530bn, 5G-powered smart utilities at 330bn, 5G-powered consumer and media applications at $254bn, powered industrial manufacturing at $134bn and powered financial-services applications at $85bn.

The 5G technology and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity in healthcare will allow patients to be monitored via connected devices that continuously deliver data on key health indicators such as heart rate and blood pressure. Combined with ML-driven algorithms, 5G will provide information on traffic, accidents and more in the automotive industry; vehicles will be able to share information with other vehicles and entities on roadways, such as traffic lights. According to Cisco, these are just two industry applications of 5G technology that can provide users with better and safer experiences. 


Due to radiation concerns, the Belgian government halted a 5G test in 2020. Switzerland, one of the first countries to accept 5G, announced that it was monitoring the risks posed by the network. A member of the United Kingdom House of Commons warned the parliament about the unintended consequences of the 5G upgrade.

According to a Deloitte consumer poll conducted in May 2020, one-fifth or more of adults in six of the 14 countries polled agreed with the statement, “I believe there are health risks associated with 5G.”

It claims that the reason there is such a high level of worry about the health effect of 5G may be due to a simple misunderstanding of the term “radiation.” 

Despite extensive research, the World Health Organisation claims there is currently no evidence connecting exposure to wireless technologies with any unfavourable health effect. Studies conducted across the entire radio spectrum have led to health-related conclusions; but so far, very few have been conducted at the frequencies that 5G will use.The primary mechanism by which radiofrequency fields interact with the human body is tissue-heating. The amount of radiofrequency exposure caused by modern technologies barely raises the body’s temperature.

“As the frequency increases, there is less penetration into the body tissues and absorption of the energy becomes more confined to the surface of the body (skin and eye). Provided the overall exposure remains below international guidelines, no consequences for public health are anticipated,” says WHO.


A network subscriber in Nigeria, Stephen Agwaibor, said, “Personally, I’m not all that hyped. As someone who has been through all the various iterations of telecom technology from the days of General Packet Radio Services to 4G, my feedback is mixed. When 4G was first introduced, it was touted as something that would revolutionise broadband and data services in Nigeria, with news of undersea fibre optic cables being launched to boost Internet speeds. I haven’t yet experienced this so-called revolution. On some days, the network, even with full 4G strength, can be very frustrating. Coupled with the weird metering of data and how customers complain about how quickly it tends to run out, I won’t hold much breath about 5G. At best, in my opinion, 5G would only live up to the expectations of the 4G network.”

A computer engineer in Nigeria, Stanley Chukwunonso, however, said, “I can’t really say for all, though, with the rumours of 5G network during the COVID-19 era, Nigerians (mainly superstitious Nigerians) will be a little slow in adapting to this emerging trend.

“I would use 5G, anything that will make my Internet speed faster.”

Another user said, “People will accept 5G, but one thing is that it is quite expensive. I heard MTN’s 5G is N50,000; so the only issue with the acceptance of 5G is the price range of the device. But to accept 5G is a yes, because I’ll be doing all my work smoothly.”

According to Korede Oladeji, there have been lots of rumours about 5G, and for such rumours, some truths can be discovered. 

His words, “There are a lot of rumours about this 5G of a thing, and to be frank with you, out of all these rumours, there will be an atom of truth. So, if you ask me, I will say no; why do we need 5G?”

Another subscriber added, “I’ve been hearing about this 5G, but I still do not get the importance. In my opinion, I’ll say no, because this 4G alone is faster and consumes a lot of data now compared to 5G. Before you switch on your data, I guess all of it is gone.”

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles