MTN 5G launch at 100 sites in South Africa using multiple frequency bands and DSS

MTN South Africa has officially launched its 5G network, a first for its 21 operations across Africa and the Middle East. The 5G network covers areas of Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.  The operator used various spectrum bands, including temporary spectrum assigned by communications regulator Icasa during the Covid-19 state of disaster, to launch the network.  See video interviews in References, directly below this article.

The launch comes after the South African government’s allocation of temporary spectrum and extensive 5G trials and testing. One of the key innovations driving the broad roll-out by MTN has been the adoption of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) to overcome the lack of dedicated 5G spectrum.

“Our 5G strategy has been years in the making and we are confident that we have built a strong foundation to grow and support our 5G ecosystem…,” said chief technology and information officer Giovanni Chiarelli.

“One of the key innovations driving the broad roll-out by MTN has been a strategic approach to dynamic spectrum sharing, as these deployments overcome the challenges of lack of dedicated 5G spectrum,” he added.

MTN will deliver 5G connectivity on the 3.5 GHz band at 58 sites including Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein, as well as use the 2,100 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands at 35 sites. The operator is re-farming some 4G spectrum to allow it to run 4G and 5G services at the same time, in the same band. This allows for easier migration of network technology from LTE to 5G and allows the company to deploy 5G using existing spectrum assets in the absence of additional high demand spectrum. MTN deployed 5G sites on the 2,100 MHz band in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

In addition, it will use the 700 MHz band (which analog TV broadcasters are still using) at five sites for extensive coverage in small towns, including Port Alfred, Hopetown, Virginia Queenstown and Tsantsabane.

The South African operator will also deploy 5G in the 28 GHz frequency at three sites in Hatfield (Pretoria), Edenvale and Durban.MTN was the first in the southern hemisphere to demonstrate AAA game streaming over its 5G network.

MTN South Africa 5G Coverage map, courtesy of Tech Central. 

In a partnership with Emerge Gaming, MTN demonstrated GameGloud on 5G streamed to a Huawei P40 Pro phone.nch comes on the back of government’s allocation of temporary spectrum and extensive 5G trials and testing. One of the key innovations driving the broad roll-out by MTN has been the adoption of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing to overcome the lack of dedicated 5G spectrum.

“We are extremely encouraged by the release of the temporary spectrum by Icasa. Our call to the regulator and government is to release permanent 4G and 5G spectrum as a matter of urgency so that we can fuel the digital revolution our nation needs to bridge the digital divide that currently deepens the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’,” said MTN South Africa CEO Godfrey Motsa.

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References:

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/mtn-launches-first-5g-network-at-100-sites-in-south-africa–1344595

https://techcentral.co.za/mtn-5g-launch-everything-you-need-to-know/99224/

https://techcentral.co.za/this-is-where-you-can-get-mtn-5g-coverage/99203/

 

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