Telecoms service provider Vodacom has begun the deployment of 5G mobile technology in South Africa and is set to launch in three cities.
According to the telco, this is Africa’s first live 5G mobile network and is currently available through 20 5G sites.
The network will support both mobile and fixed wireless services and is initially available in the cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, while additional cities will be added in the future, the company said.
Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group’s CEO, said: “Vodacom’s 5G launch in South Africa comes at an important time as it will help us improve our network efficiency during the Covid-19 national state of disaster.
“During this difficult and unprecedented period, we are proud to offer world-class network technology to South Africa and all of its associated benefits as we provide an essential service to keep the country connected. This is largely due to the allocation of temporary spectrum by [South Africa’s watchdog] ICASA, which has already mitigated the network congestion we have experienced since the start of the lockdown period.”
Vodacom was recently assigned temporary spectrum by ICASA for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, including one 50MGz channel in the 3.5GHz band, which has been used to fast-track the carrier’s 5G launch.
The carrier noted the deployment of 5G will help it manage the 40% increase in mobile network traffic and 250% increase in fixed traffic experienced during the lockdown.