Huawei Launches its First 5G Commercial Network in South Africa


Huawei and rain, South Africa’s mobile data-only network operator, have launched the first 5G commercial network in South Africa, making South Africa one of the first countries globally to launch 5G.

With Huawei’s end-to-end 5G solutions, rain has been able to build the 5G network using its 3.6GHz spectrum. In the first phase of roll out, rain has deployed a number of 5G sites in key areas in Johannesburg.

According to Rain CEO, Willem Roos: “The network will provide fiber-like speeds without the installation complexities, time delays and cost of laying fiber in under-serviced areas.”

Huawei launched full range of 5G end-to-end product solutions, from core network, the bearer network, and base station to terminals in the beginning of 2018. The company already launched 5G phones at MWC 2019.

Huawei will also enable rain to fully leverage its existing LTE network and allocated spectrum for 5G deployment in a quick and cost-effective manner.

Shi Jilin, President of Huawei Cloud Core Network Product Line, said: “It is an important step to work with rain in bringing the first 5G network construction in South Africa.”

According to the plan, rain will continue to expand the 5G network to cover all the major metropolitan areas in South Africa with 5G networks to provide ultra-broadband services to homes and enterprises.

Huawei has a number of simplified 5G deployment methods. For Base Transmitting Stations (BTS) site deployment, Huawei has released the Super Blade Site solution. The footprint required by blade sites is zero, which reduces operators’ dependency on basic resources enabling faster 5G deployment and greatly decreases the site Total Cost of Ownership.

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According to Peter Zhou, Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei Wireless Solution, the firm’s efforts to rollout simplified 5G networks, automation, and business simplification will become the development direction of mobile networks in emerging markets in the near future.

Unlike 3G and 4G networks that took more than 5 years to mature, 5G networks, Mr. Zhou noted will take considerably shorter maturity periods. “The rapid development of the ecosystem will lead to the rapid development of 5G. The number of 3G and 4G users around the globe reached 500 million users within ten and five years, respectively. It is estimated that 5G will take only three years,” He noted.

Traditional sites face the challenges of large footprint, expensive rental, high energy consumption, and complex Operating and Maintenance costs. In addition to resolving these issues, the new Super Blade Site solution, makes full use of existing site resources and improves site deployment efficiency.

In the 5G era, multi-RAT (2G/3G/4G/5G) networks are complex and difficult to maintain, requiring high O&M costs. Therefore, basic voice, IoT, and data services must be migrated to the LTE network and make LTE a bearer for basic services. In the future, the target network will evolve to “LTE+NR” and feature RAT simplification.

In the 5G era, wireless home broadband will embrace the golden age of development. In addition, eMBB services are being continuously innovated in the 5G era. Cloud X services, represented by Cloud VR/AR, Cloud PC, and Cloud Gaming, are connected to terminals and the cloud through networks to implement new services such as smart terminals, broad pipes, and cloud applications.

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In the future, 5G will also enable digitalization in all industries, bringing more revenue space for operators. Currently, Huawei is working with over 280 partners worldwide to actively exploring the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), connected drones, and smart manufacturing through X Labs.