MTN, Ericsson trial 5G in Africa
MTN and Ericsson have announced the first 5G technology and applications trial in Africa, which is part of a 5G demonstration starting in the first quarter of 2018.
This, after the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in November at AfricaCom, to collaborate on the roll-out of 5G technologies in SA.
"Ericsson is the first to launch a 5G trial with MTN in Africa, supporting our strategy of delivering next-generation mobile broadband, cloud as well as providing support for massive Internet of things (IOT) deployment," says Seckin Arikan, VP and head of global customer unit MTN at Ericsson Middle East and Africa.
The 5G trial with MTN achieved a throughput of more than 20Gbps, with less than 5ms latency, the highest achieved on a mobile network in Africa, the companies say. The 5G trial is based on commercially available baseband hardware, and 5G mobility is supported.
MTN has tested a range of 5G use cases and applications in its test lab proof of concept in SA, which it says will lead to commercial deployment in the near future.
"In collaboration with our partners, we are continuously pushing the boundaries of how 5G can meet the diverse needs of our customers. 5G gives us the opportunity to rethink how our business can add further value to the lives of our customers," says Babak Fouladi, CTIO of the MTN group.
MTN SA CTIO, Giovanni Chiarelli, says 5G offers a whole new world of potential for SA and the continent: "With 5G, remote healthcare through connected robots could offer world-class surgery in the most remote parts of the continent and the world. Self-driving cars could change the face of road safety, along with smart agriculture, smart mining and smart cities.
"There is no doubt that 5G will offer the consumer higher speeds and lower latencies, but to achieve this, we need the capacity that comes with additional spectrum; thus, once again, we call on the government to urgently release the much-needed spectrum that is required in South Africa, to lower the cost of data and drive growth and development for all South Africans," adds Chiarelli.
Rival operator Vodacom announced in November it had signed an MOU with Nokia to support efforts to launch 5G in SA.