Telkom Launches 5G Network in Various South African Townships

Telkom Launches 5G Network in Various South African Townships

Telkom has today announced the launch of its 5G network, and will use the network, at least at first, to provide fixed-wireless Internet. The development sees Telkom become the fourth network operator in South Africa to launch 5G services — after Rain, MTN and Vodacom. The announcement was made during an event hosted today by the telecommunications operator in partnership with Chinese equipment vendor Huawei. It has 123 5G base stations at launch, located in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.

The 5G network was launched at Wanderers cricket stadium in Johannesburg. According to Telkom, its 4G/LTE network still remains critical to its provision of mobile and fixed services to consumers. The telecom company added that it sees 5G as having application in commercial settings in South Africa, including for smart cities, healthcare, manufacturing and autonomous vehicles.

In March, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) held the long-awaited broadband spectrum auction, which saw six network providers—Rain, Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Liquid Telcoms and Cell C—bid for frequency spectrum in various bands. ICASA raked in R14 billion from the bidding network operators, surpassing its target of R8 billion.

Lebo Masalesa, Telkom’s managing executive for its mobile network, speaking on the development noted that the intention was to build the 5G network where it’s needed by our customers. He said that the company was rolling out 5G nationally, including to smaller towns.

Masalesa concluded that once there was a greater proliferation of 5G-capable mobile devices on Telkom’s network, it will launch 5G services for mobile users.

Speaking at the launch today, Lunga Siyo, CEO of Telkom Consumer and Business, noted that while 4G remains the bedrock of the majority of Telkom customers, the telco’s 5G network is already live in several parts of the country.

“Although 5G stands head and shoulders above 4G and LTE through faster and more reliable connection it provides; however, it was critical for us to make sure that our existing 4G ecosystem remains strong whilst introducing 5G into the market,” stated Siyo.

“The 5G network supplements our current connectivity ecosystem, offering a diversity of connectivity solutions and improved network responsiveness. 5G is the next frontier of technological innovation and we are excited to bring this technology to the fingertips of all South Africans to realise the potential of a fully connected world.”