Mobile operator Vodacom Group has switched on Africa’s first live 5G mobile network in three cities in South Africa, with further rollouts planned in other parts of the country.
Vodacom was recently assigned temporary additional spectrum by South Africa’s telecoms regulator for the duration of a national state of disaster to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, which has been used to fast track its 5G launch, the company said in a statement.
Chief Executive Shameel Joosub said in February Vodacom expected to offer 5G mobile services in South Africa this year by using a network being built by another African operator, Liquid Telecom.
The deployment of 5G will help Vodacom manage the 40% increase in mobile network traffic and the 250% increase in fixed traffic experienced during the five-week long coronavirus lockdown, it said.
The lockdown has resulted in a spike in online activity, from video conferencing to streaming movies.