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MTN Launches its First 5G Network in South Africa

South Africa becomes MTN's first for its 21 operations across Africa and the Middle East to get 5G network.

MTN South Africa has officially launched its 5G network, a first for its 21 operations across Africa and the Middle East. The network is covering areas of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, and Durban.

The telco had been carrying out extensive 5G trials and testing since 2018. MTN was the first in the southern hemisphere to demonstrate AAA game streaming over its 5G network. In a partnership with Emerge Gaming, MTN demonstrated GameGloud on 5G streamed to a Huawei P40 Pro phone.

Meanwhile, MTN will deliver its 5G connectivity on the 3.5 GHz band at 58 sites including Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein, as well as use the 2,100 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands at 35 sites. The telco is re-farming some 4G spectrum to allow it to run 4G and 5G services at the same time, in the same band. This allows for easier migration of network technology from LTE to 5G and allows the company to deploy 5G using existing spectrum assets in the absence of additional high demand spectrum.

“We’re 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,” MTN South Africa CEO Mr. Godfrey Motsa said during the company’s live-streamed launch event yesterday.

Early this year, MTN launched a 5G public demonstration in Uganda becoming the first operator in East Africa to carry out a 5G trial. Mr. Wim revealed that 5G will not be about more customers using the network but rather IoT devices connected together. Emphasizing that their customers will have faster and better experience with services; from telemedicine, education, finance, among others.

To take advantage of the 5G and what it has to offer, you need a 5G-ready smartphone or 5G-enabled router. MTN South Africa has listed Huawei P40, Huawei P40 Pro, and LG Velvet as smartphones that support 5G, and Huawei CPE Pro 2 and ZTE MC801A as routers that support 5G on its website.


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