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MTN SA unveils its 5G roll-out coverage plans

MTN has more than 1000 active 5G sites across the country and plans to ramp up the rollout of 5G coverage in 38 towns and metropolitans across the country. Photo, Bloomberg.

MTN has more than 1000 active 5G sites across the country and plans to ramp up the rollout of 5G coverage in 38 towns and metropolitans across the country. Photo, Bloomberg.

Published Jun 22, 2022

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Mobile operator MTN South Africa said yesterday that it was aiming to have 5G coverage for at least 25 percent of the population in South Africa by the end of 2022.

MTN said it had more than 1000 active 5G sites across the country and released its plan to ramp up the roll-out of 5G coverage in 38 towns and metropolitans across the country.

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MTN's announcement comes three months after the long-awaited broadband spectrum auction, where MTN said it acquired a total of 100MHz across the 800MHz, 2 600MHz, and 3 500MHz frequency bands, which will support its 4G and 5G expansion drive.

MTN was one of the highest bidders at the auction, which raised more than R14.4 billion for the country.

“The recent spectrum auction in South Africa (SA) accelerated the adoption of 5G and new applications in, among others, the internet of things (IoT), the Cloud, and augmented reality, opening the door to a world of innovation and opportunity,“ the mobile operator said.

MTN SA’s chief executive, Charles Molapisi, said: “We want to have 5G connectivity across almost every part of South Africa. We aim to bring the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to more people efficiently and cost-effectively. This means expanding our 5G coverage every day, with a strong focus on investment into main metros, peri-urban areas and larger townships initially.”

MTN said with speeds 10 times faster than 4G and the potential to be 100 times faster, 5G was changing the way South Africans work and play.

“The benefits of 5G are immense. It makes everything faster, more connected, and more reliable for households, businesses, and across all areas of individuals’ daily lives – really lending gravitas to our market statement, 5G your life,” said Molapisi.

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According to the Ericcson Mobility Report released yesterday in sub-Saharan Africa, 5G subscriptions will represent around 10 percent of all mobile subscriptions by 2027, with South Africa expected to lead the adoption rate in the region.

Local market research forecasts that the number of 5G subscribers in South Africa is expected to reach 11 million by 2025.

MTN said 5G ushered in the next generation of service, with higher performance and improved efficiency empowering new user experiences and connecting new industries.

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“Economies will see more growth and jobs as a result, which is going to be crucial for South Africa’s Covid-19 recovery and to ensure that South Africa does not miss out on the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the group said.

MTN said it already had 555 5G sites in Gauteng, which would increase to 575 when Rustenburg and Brits areas in the North West came online shortly, and this expansion would continue.

“Meanwhile, a total of 5G coverage is set to reach 179 sites in the Western Cape alone by the end of the year, while more 5G sites are planned for Bloemfontein,” it said.

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Investment into the Free State and Northern Cape would also be ramped up and MTN SA was on track to add 21 additional 5G sites across both provinces – to build on the existing 45 in the Free State and 21 in the Northern Cape.

In Limpopo, the extension of MTN’s 5G connectivity included rolling out 58 new sites this year to add to the existing 53 sites. Currently, the province has more than 100 live 5G sites, and more were planned.

KwaZulu-Natal currently had more than100 live 5G sites and more were planned for this year.

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