12 Oct South Africa’s first 5G network to go live in November
South Africa’s telecommunications company Comsol, backed by Nedbank, the Industrial Development Corporation and Andile Ngcaba’s Convergence Partners, will launch the first 5G network in South Africa in November, reports Techcentral. The company will launch a trial 5G network, with live customers, in partnership with internet service providers with a view to launching a commercial 5G network thereafter.
Several high sites will be used for the trial, which will take place in Gauteng. Even though the standards for 5G are still being bedded down internationally, Comsol CEO Iain Stevenson believes the time is right to launch a network in South Africa using the technology. Comsol has a big chunk of radio frequency spectrum in a band that is being set aside for 5G in the US by the Federal Communications Commission, meaning there will be access to a wide range of equipment able to serve the South African market, Stevenson said.
The company has 280MHz of licensed spectrum around the 28GHz band, which it plans to use to build the 5G network Comsol is already in talks to bring the test equipment into South Africa, though Stevenson declined to name the technology provider. The equipment will be pre-release hardware, but ready to be deployed in the local market on a trial basis. The company has 280MHz of licensed spectrum around the 28GHz band, which it plans to use to build the 5G network. If the tests prove successful, the company could move quickly to build a network of national scope.
The trial will go live in November, and Comsol will work with existing go-to-market partners. It has close relationships with companies such as Vox and Dimension Data’s Internet Solutions. The trial will consist of a fixed-wireless access network using a number of existing high sites. Because of the high frequency to be utilised, the cell size will be relatively small — coverage will be within about 2km of each base station. But Stevenson is optimistic the 5G “point-to-multipoint” network will be able to deliver 1Gbit/s access speeds to each of the business customers that use it.