SA: Vodacom switches on commercial 5G in major cities

05 May 2020

Cape Town is one of three cities now connected to 5G

Cape Town is one of three cities now connected to 5G

Vodacom has switched on its 5G mobile network in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town with further rollouts planned for other parts of South Africa.

The operatpr said in a statement that the network will support both mobile and fixed wireless services and is currently available on 20 live 5G sites, 18 of which are in Gauteng and two in Cape Town.

Vodacom customers with 5G-enabled devices and within a 5G coverage area can now access one of the fastest and most sophisticated network connections in Africa, the firm said.

In September last year, mobile data-only network operator Rain activated Africa’s first commercial 5G network.

SA’s big mobile operators, such as Vodacom and MTN, were unable to launch 5G services until more spectrum was licensed to them by the communications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA).

“Vodacom’s 5G launch in South Africa comes at an important time as it will help us improve our network efficiency during the COVID-19 national state of disaster," said Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO. “During this difficult and unprecedented period, we are proud to offer world-class network technology to South Africa, and all of its associated benefits, as we provide an essential service to keep the country connected. This is largely due to the allocation of temporary spectrum by ICASA, which has already mitigated the network congestion we have experienced since the start of the lockdown period.”

Vodacom announced in 2018 that it had begun modernising its network to prepare for the deployment of standards-based 5G technology in South Africa, subject to the allocation of spectrum.