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5G technology’ll not cause cancer – ATCON President

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Engr Ike Namani, President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), in this interview shared his thoughts on the high value of telecommunications and the new technology 5G.


The 5G licensing process has been completed. What’s your take?

There was so much ill-informed messages being put out. That beclouded the whole 5G situation. Some people said 5G can cause cancer and other health issues. That is not true. The entrance of 5G into Nigeria, unfortunately, started from a turbulent standpoint. It is purely based on misinformation. We’ve gone ahead to have at least two licenses issued. It has been paid for. We await the licensees to implement 5G service based on the license conditions.

5G has its benefits. It has higher data throughput.  So there would be some data sensitive services that will now be made available to the citizens. So you’re going to notice a lot of good service. We’ve always talked about being able to do good quality video calls, good quality exchange of data in a seamless way, better mobility in terms of being able to move and still retain good connectivity. From a subscriber’s standpoint, 5G will deliver some benefits. But mind you, 5G is not going to replace 4G, 3G and 2G. They will all be available. 5G is a new technology. The volume is still low. The device cost will not come down now. Those are the facts subscribers need to know.  


You can still use what works best for you. 5G will be complimentary to the existing technologies. 5G will not be available across the country from day one. It is probably going to start in the urban cities most likely Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve used it in other parts of the world.


Tell me what you have been doing as the president of ATCON.

We’ve been engaging the major stakeholders. We’ve played our roles in some of the industry issues. We were very active in the challenge that came with the Twitter ban. We worked closely with the relevant entities to ensure that it was resolved eventually. We’ve participated in the 5G spectrum licensing. We were involved a great deal with the policy making both at some of the state levels and the federal level including the various government agencies, NCC, NITDA etc.

Engr. Ike Nnamani. President of ATCON

Post Covid-19 challenges. What are the ways forward for the industry?

The industry has played the role. As you know, if not for the telecom industry and our sector, I don’t know how the country would have survived the covid-19 pandemic. Our members provided accessibility, connectivity and Nigerians were able to function. Nigerians relied on the services of our members to do their basic businesses. Many schools had online learning platforms. The financial sector moved online.  The healthcare delivery was online. E-commerce, entertainment and so much was done online. This was made possible by the services our members rendered and have continued to render.


Our members have added value. We’ve increased the GDP of the country. We’re probably the top sector in promoting the GDP over the last one year, as the oil sector has continued to suffer. The only challenge, we’ve always complained about is that we don’t have much progress in the government policy side. This is necessary to address hurdles like the right of way, infrastructure and financing etc.  

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