“Africa’s First” 5G Public Trial Switched on in South Africa

This is part of an effort by South African mobile operators to continue to invest heavily into extending network coverage to serve unconnected communities and accelerate the migration to high-speed mobile broadband networks.

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Double exposure businessman using smartphone with 5G network and city overlay background
Double exposure businessman using smartphone with 5G network and city overlay background (Photo Credit: www.shutterstock.com)

MTN, Africa’s largest mobile phone operator, on Tuesday announced that it has switched on the continent’s first 5G trial with an end-to-end Huawei 5G solution.

The trial was in Hatfield in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital city.

It delivered speeds of 520Mbps downlink and 77Mbps uplink.

The field trial demonstrated a 5G Fixed-Wireless Access (FWA) use case with Huawei’s 5G 28GHz mmWave Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in a real-world environment in Hatfield.

This is part of an effort by South African mobile operators to continue to invest heavily into extending network coverage to serve unconnected communities and accelerate the migration to high-speed mobile broadband networks.

“These 5G trials provide us with an opportunity to future proof our network and prepare it for the evolution of these new generation networks. We have gleaned invaluable insights about the modifications that we need to do on our core, radio and transmission network from these pilots,” says Babak Fouladi, Group Chief Technology & Information Systems Officer, at MTN Group.

MTN Logo (Photo Credit: Voice of the Cape)
MTN Logo (Photo Credit: Voice of the Cape)

“It is important to note that the transition to 5G is not just a flick of a switch, but it’s a roadmap that requires technical modifications and network architecture changes to ensure that we meet the standards that this technology requires. We are pleased that we are laying the groundwork that will lead to the full realisation of the boundless opportunities that are inherent in the digital world.”

The fifth generation (5G) network will provide more than just faster connectivity for local businesses and consumers, as it seeks to deliver a range of benefits for mobile networks.

These include being able to carry more data traffic at greater speeds, with more reliability, while connecting a myriad of devices to the Internet.

“Next generation services such as virtual and augmented reality, ultra-high definition video streaming, and cloud gaming require massive capacity and higher user data rates,” Giovanni Chiarelli, Chief Technology and Information Officer for MTN SA said.

“The use of millimeter-wave spectrum bands is one of the key 5G enabling technologies to deliver the required capacity and massive data rates required for 5G’s Enhanced Mobile Broadband use cases, MTN and Huawei’s joint field trial of the first 5G mmWave Fixed-Wireless Access solution in Africa will also pave the way for a fixed-wireless access solution that is capable of replacing conventional fixed access technologies, such as fibre.”

Mobile data in Africa is key to driving economic development.

“Huawei is continuing to invest heavily in innovative 5G technologies”, said Edward Deng, President of Wireless Network Product Line of Huawei.

“5G mmWave technology can achieve unprecedented fiber-like speed for mobile broadband access. This trial has shown the capabilities of 5G technology to deliver exceptional user experience for Enhanced Mobile Broadband applications. With customer-centric innovation in mind, Huawei will continue to partner with MTN to deliver best-in-class advanced wireless solutions.”

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