Telecoms giant MTN has launched 5G across 100 sites in South Africa and made some big promises about its future rollout if it gets access to the spectrum it needs from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).
The announcement was made via a YouTube livestream and MTN SA’s CEO, Godfrey Motsa, called the 5G rollout “a beautiful day for South Africa and a significant step for MTN.”
“Today, from MTN’s birthplace of South Africa, we are stepping up our digital revolution with the next generation of telecommunication technology, demonstrating to all South Africans that 5G is no longer just an idea – it is here, it works and it has the capacity to bring about exponential improvements to our economy, and to the lives of the people we serve,” said Motsa.
MTN had previously tested 5G in South Africa as well as in other operations like Nigeria and Uganda but this is the first of its 21 operations in Africa and the Middle East to launch the next-generation technology commercially.
The MTN website promises that 5G speeds will be “10x faster than 4G and eventually become 100x faster” with ultra-low latency and increased reliability.
The company is set to spend about R2bn ($116 million) in upgrading to the new technology.
In May, rival Vodacom launched 5G in three cities in South Africa – Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town – also with limited coverage for now.