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MTN launches its first 5G network in South Africa

MTN has launched its first of the next-generation 5G network in South Africa, the first of its 21 Operations Across Africa and the Middle East.

Launching yesterday with 100 sites, across Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth, MTN is set to deliver higher peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, increased reliability and greater network capacity.

“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,” says MTN SA’s CEO, Godfrey Motsa.

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The launch follows the government’s allocation of the temporary spectrum and the culmination of extensive 5G trials and testing. Motsa adds that MTN’s rollout of its 5G network will be ramped up to even more sites. Once government allocates permanent spectrum later this year.

“For the past two years, we have been actively innovating around the potential of 5G, using different bands and various vendors. And across different platforms and devices, to ensure MTN South Africa can maintain leadership in 5G. As we have been able to maintain our leadership in 4G.” says MTN SA Chief Technology and Information Officer, Giovanni Chiarelli.

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“Our 5G strategy has been years in the making. We are confident that we have built a strong foundation to grow and support our 5G ecosystem. To deliver an exceptional experience for our customers,” says Chiarelli.

The key innovations driving the broad rollout by MTN has been a strategic approach to Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS). As these deployments overcome the challenges of lack of dedicated 5G spectrum.

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MTN will deliver 5G connectivity on four different spectral bands including,  3.5 GHz at 58 sites ideal spectrum band for 5G in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein 2100MHz and 1800MHz at 35 sites. 2100MHz in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.  700MHz at 5 sites in Port Alfred, Hopetown, Virginia Queenstown and Tsantsabane. And lastly 28GHz at 3 sites deployed in Hatfield (Pretoria), Edenvale and Durban.

The telco is re-farming some 4G spectrum to allow it to run 4G and 5G services. While allowing for easier migration of network technology from LTE to 5G. This will also allow the company to deploy 5G using existing spectrum assets.

This new generation technology will unlock the full capabilities of next-generation services such as virtual and augmented reality, ultra-high-definition video streaming, artificial intelligence, robotics, automated cars, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

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Val Lukhanyu
Val Lukhanyu
I cover technology news, startups, business and gadget reviews

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