Mobile operator MTN Group launched its 5G network across major cities in South Africa and it covers areas of Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.
The operator used various spectrum bands, including temporary spectrum assigned by communications regulator Icasa during the Covid-19 state of disaster, to launch the network.
According to MTN SA CEO Godfrey Motsa during the company’s live-streamed launch event, the telecommunication company stepping up its digital revolution with the next generation of technology with the capacity to bring about exponential improvements to the country’s economy.
“Today, from MTN’s birthplace of South Africa, we are stepping up our digital revolution with the next generation of telecommunication technology, demonstrating to all South Africans that 5G is no longer just an idea. It is here, it works and it has the capacity to bring about exponential improvements to our economy, and to the lives of the people we serve,” Motsa said.
The chief technology and information officer Giovanni Chiarelli said, MTN will deliver 5G connectivity on four different spectrum bands:
3.5 GHz at 58 sites – Available in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Bloemfontein.
2,100MHz and 1,800MHz at 35 sites – Available in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.
700MHz at 5 sites – Available in Port Alfred, Hopetown, Virginia Queenstown, and Tsantsabane
28GHz at 3 sites – Available in Hatfield, Edenvale, and Durban.
MTN said it is introducing the re-farming of some 4G spectrum to allow it to run 4G and 5G spectrum, at the same time, in the same band.
MTN’s service is offered in two variants – 5G home Wi-Fi and 5G mobile.
5G home Wi-Fi promises average speeds of 100Mbps and peak speeds of 500Mbps, while 5G mobile offers average speeds of 50Mbps and peak speeds of 500Mbps.
5G is essential, the fifth-generation mobile network technology which offers faster data speeds and lower latency or response time. It allows several devices to be connected at one go and in future could help in running unmanned cars and seamless communication and interconnectivity between smart devices, a process commonly called the internet of things.
MTN has partnered with Australia’s Emerge Gaming to allow people to play cloud games on their Huawei P40 Pro phone using MTN’s 5G network, in order to attract more consumers, especially video games enthusiasts. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Susan Fenton)
No word yet on when it will be spread across other African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Republic of Congo, etc.