Nokia, Vodacom in 5G venture
Finnish electronics company Nokia and South Africa's largest mobile operator Vodacom have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support efforts to launch 5G in the country.
This news comes after Vodacom group CTO Andries Delport indicated back in August that the telco wants to be SA's first operator to roll out 5G.
In terms of the MOU, the companies jointly agree to conduct lab and network trials of new services and business cases using Nokia 5G technology, according to a statement.
Nokia will leverage expertise from its Bell Labs Consulting arm to work with Vodacom and identify where, when and how to evolve its network to 5G, it reads.
In the statement, Delport says: "As the leading mobile network provider in South Africa, with the best 3G and 4G networks, it was crucial for us to partner a formidable player such as Nokia as we're gearing ourselves for the next generation of wireless networks, 5G.
"This collaboration comes at a time when we have a firm mandate from the Vodacom board to propel Vodacom group to become a leading digital company. It is my firm belief that the adoption of 5G will help us to deliver against some of the digital technologies in areas such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles and the Internet of things. Quite crucially, Africa is in the middle of a mobile connectivity boom, and as such, 5G will help us to deliver faster Internet speeds to our almost 70 million customers across the group."
Working with Vodacom in a series of workshops and trials, Nokia will share its latest 5G innovations including massive MIMO Adaptive Antennas, AirScale Radio Access, AirGile Cloud-native Core, Multi-Access Edge Computing, and end-to-end Mobile Anyhaul transport networks to test how they can be used to meet ever-changing demand in the country.
Initially the companies will focus on the delivery of Ultra-HD and virtual reality video services, leveraging the enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-low latency capabilities of 5G.
Vodacom and Nokia will also collaborate to understand how 5G can drive continued economic growth in vertical industries important to SA including manufacturing, mining, healthcare, media, energy and transportation.
Rajen Naidoo, head of Vodacom South Africa customer team at Nokia, adds: "We have defined a technology path that allows operators to transition to 5G at their own pace. Working with Vodacom, we can help it identify how 5G can support growth in the country and the steps it should take in its own transition to best meet individual subscriber and enterprise needs."