Health Concerns Highten as 5G Adoption Surges Among Nigerians


Telecommunications in Nigeria is witnessing a significant shift, with approximately 2.7 Million citizens now embracing the Fifth Generation (5G) network services offered by various operators across the nation.


Recent data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) indicates that by the first quarter of 2023, the penetration of 5G technology had reached 1.24 Percent, marking a notable milestone in the country’s digital connectivity journey.


Against the backdrop of a total of 219 Million active mobile connections recorded in March, the 1.24 percent 5G penetration translates to approximately 2.7 Million Nigerian subscribers embracing the latest in telecommunications technology.


The trajectory of 5G adoption showcases a steady progression, with penetration rates climbing from 1.04 percent in December 2023 to 1.18 percent in February 2024, underscoring a growing appetite for advanced connectivity solutions among the Nigerian populace.


Key industry players such as MTN, Airtel, and Mafab Communications have been pivotal in spearheading the provision of 5G services across the country. MTN, in particular, has reported a substantial increase in 5G penetration, reaching 12.4 percent coverage nationwide, with a notable surge in data traffic on its network.


Airtel, having introduced 5G services in select states including Lagos, Abuja, Rivers, and Ogun, has outlined plans for further expansion across the federation in the near future. Similarly, Mafab Communications has established its presence in Lagos and Abuja, contributing to the proliferation of 5G connectivity.


Despite the strides made in 5G adoption, a significant portion of Nigeria’s mobile connections remains entrenched in 2G technology, constituting 56.9 percent of all subscriptions as of March. However, there is a discernible transition towards higher-generation networks, with 3G and 4G subscriptions accounting for 9.04 percent and 32.74 percent respectively.


In parallel with terrestrial 5G deployment, the telecommunications industry is witnessing a surge in satellite-based communication initiatives. A report by the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) highlights the emergence of satellite connectivity as a complementary solution to traditional terrestrial networks, with 50 operators across 37 countries and territories exploring satellite deployment options.


Looking ahead, the telecommunications landscape in Nigeria is poised for further evolution, driven by the proliferation of advanced connectivity solutions such as 5G and satellite-based communication services. As operators continue to innovate and expand their network infrastructure, the benefits of enhanced connectivity are expected to extend to more communities, fostering digital inclusivity and driving socio-economic development nationwide.


Although some individuals and business owners may adopt the use of 5G as it promises high speed internet connectivity many others are deeply concerned about the health implications of upgrading to 5G. Several questions have been raised regarding the safety of 5G as some believe that exposure to such a high energy frequency could lead to headaches and more severe conditions such as auto immune diseases, cancers, organ failure and even death.


Calls have been made by some technology experts and scientist for independent studies to be carried out to acertain the long term effects of using 5G on the health of individuals and indeed the ecosystem.


Some others are calling for delay in deployment of 5G untill it has been proven with veried research results that it is safe and does not pose any health risk whether long term or short term.

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