JOHANNESBURG – Africa’s biggest telecoms company MTN says it is almost ready for the launch of the 5th generation (5G) network.
It clocked download speeds of over 5 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) at a live demonstration on Tuesday, showing how 5G technology will work in future.
The technology is expected to have a capacity of 20 Gbps while improving the way people live and do business.
The race is on amongst global network carriers to officially launch the next generation network.
MTN and Huawei hosted Africa’s very first live 5G trial, testing the progress and power of this network technology in the real world.
In a closed test earlier this year, MTN hit the 20 Gbps mark.
“I’m so, so excited to be part of this launch - the first live 5G in Africa. MTN is bringing innovation,” MTN Group Chief Technology and Information Systems Officer Babak Fouladi said.
5G will be a major improvement from the 4G/LTE technology currently available, with average download speeds of around 1 Gbps.
Experts say the technology will help power the rise of the Internet, provide infrastructure needed to carry bigger amounts of data, and also allow for a smarter and more connected world.
However, MTN says it needs the spectrum to be expanded to at least 700 megahertz if they are to exploit the full potential of this technology.
“It [the higher spectrum] is currently occupied by broadcasters, so they will have to move before any consideration could be made about its availability to 5G, because we are faced with the challenge of digital migration. That is why there is this stalling that is taking place right now," the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa)&39;s Paris Mashile said.
The 5G technology is expected to be available to consumers in the year 2020 at a cost yet to be determined.
Network operators are expect to pay billions of rand in order to deploy this technology.