MTN Launches First 5G Technology In Africa

MTN has launched the first 5G trial in South Africa, and Africa, in partnership with networking equipment vendor Ericsson.

In late 2017 the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at AfricaCom 2017 to collaborate on the rollout of 5G technologies in South Africa, one of the first in Africa.

Ericsson provides end-to-end 5G capabilities in support of MTN South Africa’s growth, 5G and enterprise monetization ambitions. MTN will trial a range of 5G use cases and applications in its Test Bed (laboratory) proof of concept in South Africa, leading to commercial deployment in the future.

TechCentral reports that the 5G trial has achieved download speeds of more than 20Gbit/s with latency (network round-trip time) of just five milliseconds. 20Gbit/s is significantly faster than fastest connection speeds available to South African consumers over fixed fibre-optic lines, where speeds top out at 1Gbit/s.

“This is the highest achieved on a mobile network in Africa,” MTN said in a statement.

The 5G trial is based on commercially available baseband hardware and 5G mobility is supported, the group said.

“MTN has tested a range of 5G use cases and applications in its test lab proof of concept in South Africa, which will lead to commercial deployment in the near future,” it said.

However, according to the the TechCentral report,  MTN South Africa chief technology and information officer Giovanni Chiarelli said roll-out plans would be delayed until it can get access to additional radio frequency spectrum.

Regulator Icasa has still not formally allocated spectrum to local operators to deploy 4G infrastructure, forcing the companies to reallocate 2G and 3G spectrum for 4G technology, reports TechCentral.

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