MTN has confirmed to Business Insider South Africa that it is planning on launching its own 5G network at the end of the month.
The company had initially planned to launch at the start of June, but encountered “delays in bringing some equipment into the country.”
MTN outed itself in the latest issue of its Y’Ello magazine, in which it is running a promotion for 5G connectivity using Huawei’s recently launched line of P40 smartphones. Along with the LG ThinQ, these are currently the only smartphones in the country capable of using 5G services.
Technically, the pricey Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra also uses 5G, but Vodacom and MTN have not indicated whether they will support it.*
MTN did not indicate how it is planning on offering 5G services. The big mobile operators have been struggling for years to get permission to use the parts of the radio spectrum best suited for 5G. The government is due to auction off blocks of the spectrum later this year.
Only two networks, Vodacom and Rain, have been able to offer 5G services, and both have achieved it by working around government regulations.
Vodacom recently announced a deal with Liquid Telecom to use their 5G network. Liquid owns the parts of the spectrum that formerly belonged to Neotel. In the case of Rain, they’re repurposing the parts of the spectrum formerly used by iBurst after they bought parent company WBS.
Vodacom is also using emergency spectrum allocated by the government to provide 5G services. In April the government allowed access to some of the radio frequency spectrum best suited to 5G on an emergency basis to help fight Covid-19. The allocation is to help the operators cope with demand. The catch is that operators only get access until November, or until the end of the state of emergency.
Source Business Insider