5G Is coming!

Ghana, in partnership with Nokia, is set to begin trials for introducing the ultra-fast 5G network, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communications has said.

“We are about to start 5G trials with Nokia, the multinational telecommunications, information technology, and consumer electronics company, in Ghana,” the minister said during an interview with the B&FT in Accra.

While the country is getting used to the 4G network, with Vodafone acquiring the latest 4G licence to operate, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful stated that it cannot be left behind in the current wave of technological innovations and advancements.

“It is only a matter of time before connected 5G devices will be on our streets and homes, and we have to look and plan ahead and look at the kind of infrastructure we need to put in place to support this evolution taking place,” she said.

She added that the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) and National Communication Authority (NCA) are discussing the modalities of these trials.

“We are still at the very preliminary stages of this issue; and so when we have more information, we will put it before the Ghanaian people. We are having our regulators and technical people look at that space to offer the best training so as to equip our people to also benefit from all these innovations,” she added.

Ghana introduced the ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) in June, 2003, as a policy statement for the realisation of the vision to transform Ghana into an information-rich knowledge-based society and economy through the development, deployment and exploitation of ICTs within the economy and society.

Since the introduction of that policy document in 2003, the Communications Minister noted, a lot has changed and there is need for a review of that policy document to be more forward-looking, because developments in the sector have long overtaken the policy.

“We will be having a conference to kick-start the process with the office of the vice-president and key international stakeholders and organisations such as Huawei, Google, Oracle and Microsoft to develop our ICT strategy and policy. They see Ghana as a leader in the utilisation of ICT on the continent, particularly in the sub-region. We are excited by all the possibilities,” she added.

Creating a knowledge-based society

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said it is important that Ghana puts in place the right and robust digital infrastructure on which all the applications and services the nation needs will ride on.

“We are working with industry to narrow the digital divide; because no matter what you do, if it is concentrated in the urban areas, we are leaving a large chunk of our population behind – and we cannot do that if we want to develop our country holistically. And so, we are encouraging people to think of ICT infrastructure as a utility; just as we provide roads, water and electricity.

“We should see ICT and access to data connectivity as a utility as well, and provide the necessary resources for the state itself to lead in the provision of backbone infrastructure that service providers can also utilise to provide services for all the country,” she said.