Lesotho will be the first country in Africa to enjoy 5G internet speed in Africa after the Vodacom Group created the first commercial 5G in the country.
Vodacom used 3.5GHz spectrum to initially deliver Fixed-Wireless Access broadband services to two enterprise customers in Lesotho.
The immediate benefit of 5G technology for Vodacom subscribers in Lesotho includes the quicker deployment of broadband services with fibre-like speeds.
Vodacom has also deployed the same standards-based 5G technology in South Africa, with speeds in excess of 700 Mbps and latencies of less than 10 milliseconds. This will exceed 1Gbps as new software versions and devices become available.
However, the service is stil not operational in South Africa for lack of a 3.5GHz spectrum like in the case of Lesotho.
“Vodacom will be able to make 5G services available to its customers in South Africa once requisite spectrum is assigned. Global technological advancements are evolving at a rapid pace and South Africa can’t afford to be left behind, particularly when we look at some of the potential use cases for 5G to support critical sectors of our society such as healthcare and education,” says Vodacom Group Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub.
According to Joosub, the achievement is not a miracle and can be achieved in any other African country.
“Vodacom prides itself on being a market leader and we are extremely pleased to be first to deliver 5G services to customers in Africa. What we’ve accomplished in Lesotho is an example of what can be achieved in Africa, should the requisite spectrum also be made available,” he says
Vodacom South Africa has been granted a temporary spectrum license of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band to showcase the same standards-based 5G network capabilities in South Africa.
The 3.5GHz spectrum band is considered optimal for 5G network deployments due to its suitability for throughput and capacity.
The 3.5GHz band has adequate indoor penetration characteristics and will lend itself in future to the facilitation of a broad range of consumer and business applications such as smart factories, augmented reality and autonomous vehicles.
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