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Vodacom launches 5G broadband service


Aug. 30, 2018 2 min read

2 min read

Vodacom Group announced that it has created Africa’s first standards-based, commercial 5G service in Lesotho using 3.5GHz spectrum, initially to deliver fixed-wireless broadband services to two enterprise customers. The 5G service provides for quicker deployment of broadband services with fibre-like speeds.

“The immediate benefit of 5G technology for Vodacom subscribers in Lesotho includes the quicker deployment of broadband services with fibre-like speeds,” the company notes in a press release. Vodacom Group also announced that, in another first, it has 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.

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Until such time as 3.5GHz spectrum becomes available to Vodacom South Africa, this network will not be available to its customers. Vodacom Lesotho has been assigned spectrum in the 3.5GHz band, enabling the launch of a commercial 5G service. Vodacom South Africa has been granted a temporary spectrum license of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band to showcase the same 5G network capabilities. South Africans have to wait a little longer for 5G.

Although Vodacom claims that it has already set up a similar network in the country, achieving download speeds of 700Mbps in the process, but the lack of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band hinders the rollout. Lesotho has no such problems at present. “What we’ve accomplished in Lesotho is an example of what can be achieved in Africa, should requisite spectrum also be made available,” noted Shameel Joosub, Vodacom’s CEO.

“Vodacom will be able to make 5G services available to its customers in South Africa once requisite spectrum is assigned.” Vodacom has deployed 5G Active Antennae – also known as Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) - to provide improved spectral efficiency and coverage, enabling increased network capacity. Telecompaper/Memeburn

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