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MTN steps up digital revolution, launches 5G network



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MTN South Africa says it has stepped up its digital revolution with the launch of its commercial 5G network, providing access to 100 sites across the country.

During the company’s live-streamed launch event, the telecommunication company CEO, Godfrey Motsa, said the launch has demonstrated to all South Africans that 5G is no longer just an idea.

“Our 5G strategy has been years in the making and we are confident that we have built a strong foundation to grow and support our 5G ecosystem,” says Giovanni Chiarelli, MTN SA’s chief tech and information officer, quoted by Tech Central,” Motsa said.

Chiarelli says that the launch of the network is due in part by ICASA’s allocation of temporary spectrum.

MTN’s 5G runs on four different spectrum bands known as the “golden band.” At 3.5 GHz, MTN offers some of its fastest speeds and lowest latencies. The “ideal spectrum band” has been deployed in sites across Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein.

In this band, MTN re-farms some 4G spectrum in order to offer both 4G and 5G spectrum on the same band at the same time. This allows for easier migration of network technology from LTE to 5G. Further, MTN can use existing spectrum assets in the absence of additional high spectrum demand.

This band has been deployed in sites in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

With this band, MTN is set to cover smaller towns and rural areas. Due to its low-band frequency propagation, the telecom believes this will be ideal in such settings.

Small towns covered by MTN’s 700MHz 5G include Port Alfred, Hopetown, Virginia, Queenstown and Tsantsabane. A high-frequency bandwidth that offers very fast speeds. Ideal for fixed-wireless 5G connectivity.

Most cloud-based gaming requires vast amounts of data to be sent very quickly to and from devices to ensure smooth and fun experiences. Now, MTN says that with its 5G network it can facilitate just that.

MTN SA partnered with Australia-based Emerge Gaming to demonstrate cloud game-streaming on a Huawei P40 Pro running on 5G spectrum during the live-stream.

The telecom also announced that it will begin to look into AR and VR, as well as high-definition streaming, AI, and IoT all powered by its 5G network.