Vodacom Group said it has switched on Africa's first live 5G mobile network in three cities, with further rollouts planned in other parts of the country.  File picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko
Vodacom Group said it has switched on Africa's first live 5G mobile network in three cities, with further rollouts planned in other parts of the country. File picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Vodacom launches 5G mobile network in SA

By Nqobile Dludla Time of article published May 4, 2020

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Johannesburg - South African mobile operator Vodacom Group said on Monday it has switched on Africa's first live 5G mobile network in three cities, with further rollouts planned in other parts of the country.

Vodacom was recently assigned temporary additional spectrum by the telecoms regulator for the duration of the national state of disaster, including 1 x 50 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band, which has been used to fasttrack its 5G launch, it said in a statement.

In February, Vodacom Chief Executive Shameel Joosub said Vodacom expects to offer 5G mobile services to its South African customers this year by using a network being built by another African operator, Liquid Telecom.

Last month, South African telecoms regulator ICASA announced an emergency release of broadband spectrum to meet a spike in internet demand during a lockdown to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

"The emergency release of this spectrum does not ... negate the processes that are currently underway for permanent assignment of spectrum through an auction, the process which the Authority had committed to finalise by the end of 2020," said the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) in a statement.

The temporary release of high demand spectrum will last for the duration of the national state of disaster declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa, said ICASA, as South Africa implements a 21-day lockdown from March 27 in a bid to curb infection rates.

The emergency release is expected to ease network congestion and maintain the quality of broadband services in Africa's most industrialised economy.

Licencees are required to submit their applications to
ICASA by April 9, the regulator added. Reuters

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