Not a lot of people have 5G capable devices at this stage, especially in South Africa. But the infrastructure is being rolled out nonetheless, and Vodacom 5G is now available in select areas around the country.
The new network was built in cooperation between Vodacom and Liquid Telecom, and it’s now available to the public on recently assigned spectrum from communications regulator Icasa. Vodacom 5G was able to be fast-tracked thanks to the recently assigned temporary spectrum from Icasa that was made available for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Vodacom has switched on Africa’s first live 5G mobile network in three cities — Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town — with further roll-outs planned in other parts of the country,” Vodacom said this week. “This 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.”
According to the operator, the new technology is more efficient than its predecessors, 3G and 4G. This means they would be able to manage the 40% increase in mobile network traffic and the 250% increase in fixed traffic experienced during the lockdown.
Vodacom offers users the Huawei 5G CPE Pro for the connection to their new network. The 5G connection speeds offered all has an average speed of about 200Mbps, which is still much lower than what the technology could potentially achieve. True 5G with millimetre wave infrastructure is easily capable of hitting 1Gbps. The deals all have Anytime data and an equal amount of Night Owl data and is available over 24 or 36 months.
These prices are for fixed-wireless 5G services, but Vodacom will also offer the LG V50 5G smartphone for customers that want to access it with a mobile device. Other devices will follow soon.