Vodacom launches Africa’s first live 5G mobile network

Vodacom announced it has switched on Africa ‘s first live 5G mobile network, in the South African cities Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.
Further rollout is planned to cover other parts of the country. The network will support both mobile and fixed wireless services and is currently available on twenty live 5G sites, eighteen of which are in Gauteng and two in Cape Town. With immediate effect, Vodacom customers with 5G enabled devices, and within a 5G coverage area, can access the new service.

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

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The deployment of 5G will help Vodacom manage the 40% increase in mobile network traffic and the 250% increase in fixed traffic experienced during the five-week long coronavirus lockdown, it said.

The lockdown has resulted in a spike in online activity, from video conferencing to streaming movies.

The three cities are Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, Vodacom said, adding the 5G network would support both mobile and fixed wireless services.

“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,” Joosub said.

Fifth Generation (5G) spectrum is largely unassigned in South Africa. The regulator, ICASA, has said it will auction additional spectrum, including the highly sought after 5G spectrum, by the end of the year.

Vodacom expects to expand its 5G rollout as more 5G enabled smartphones, Wi-Fi and fixed wireless access routers become available.

The company is currently selling the LG V50 5G smartphone and Huawei 5G CPE PRO fixed wireless router.

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