It was an important milestone for South Africa that the the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) confirmed an auction of the 5G spectrum, according to Chris Buchanan, client solutions director at Dell Technologies South Africa.
The director said 5G was a transformation journey, not an overnight upgrade. The ultra-fast speeds and superior reliability of 5G technology had the potential to transform industries, organisations and people, he said yesterday.
Icasa earlier this month said it would hold another auction for radio frequencies suitable for mobile broadband – including 4G/LTE and 5G – early next year.
The three bands are IMT450 (450-470MHz), IMT850 (825-830MHz and 870-875MHz) and IMT1500 (1.427-1.518GHz).
“The finalisation of the current set of ten radio frequency spectrum assignment plans marks a key milestone in making sufficient spectrum available to licensees, on a technology-neutral basis, in order to enable the rollout and uptake of 4G and 5G services across South Africa. It also frees up important additional spectrum for the auction currently planned for early 2024,” Charley Lewis, Icasa’s committee chairperson, said at the time.
Buchanan said when the rush to work from home kicked off, organisations and their IT departments transformed where and how their employees worked almost overnight.
"As we transition to a work-from-anywhere world, IT departments don’t want to be caught flat-footed. IT administrators want to know the devices they are deploying will support their employees three to five years from now."
The company said its internal customer research showed IT administrators were focused on providing amazing connectivity and collaboration experiences, with 5G being a crucial component in enabling fast, secure and reliable connectivity wherever employees were working.
"In fact, only 4% of IT decision makers surveyed said they would not need 5G capabilities available on their organisation’s premium laptops. It’s hard to future proof without 5G."
The technology company said delivering 5G signals through a metallic device was a sizeable challenge.
"Thin, light systems provide limited options for antenna placement in the system base, especially when a full metallic enclosure is required and antenna isolation from the base’s internal electronics is critical to performance. Many competitors paint magnesium on the device to hide antenna regions or simply increase the borders of the display so antennas can be built around the screen, but we knew there had to be a better way."
Dell said the reliability and security 5G offered mobile executives and professionals over Wi-Fi hotspots would transform productivity during travel. 5G would boost capacity and performance for mobile broadband, provide real-time edge compute capacity, and provide purpose-built connectivity for end devices.
Buchanan said improved wireless capability of 5G networking would bring new use cases and applications, expanding the array of devices, IoT use cases, and services beyond what was possible today.
"Think automated surveillance of industrial sites, remote maintenance in factories, remote surgery, autonomous driving and 3D manufacturing with collaborating industrial robots. It’s more than the 5G device – it’s about the possibilities 5G can enable," Buchanan said.
Last month, Ericsson and MediaTek said they successfully merged four channels – one FDD (frequency division duplex) and three TDD (time division duplex) – to deliver a downlink speed of 4.36 Gbps, the highest known speed based on this band combination.
This four-component carrier (4CC) aggregation combination would increase the 5G deployment options for communications service providers by blending different frequency bands.
In an interoperability development test (IoDT), the two companies completed the 5G data call using one low-band and three mid-band channels in the sub-7GHz frequency range (FR1) bands, where typically most of the 5G data traffic is carried.
For service providers, Ericsson’s flexible carrier aggregation solution would allow them to maximise use of available spectrum assets to deliver high-quality 5G connectivity.