South African mobile operator MTN, together with Huawei launched their C-band 5G trial on the first day of AfricaCom 2019, as part of the operator’s network evolution plan towards 5G.
C-band, the so-called ‘golden band’ for 5G spectrum, is a valuable slice of spectrum and comprises of a frequency range of around 3.3 – 3.8GHz. Many countries around the world are deploying this spectrum band to deliver their 5G services, making it highly valuable for mobile operators.
MTN and Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a Joint 5G Innovation Program to assess and work on new technologies such as 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Through these innovations, MTN SA will develop use cases that have a social impact, including smart city and education driven by 5G and AI technologies.
The media launch demonstrated use cases including a live 5G speed test (with throughputs up to 1.6Gbit/s) and a series of live 5G demonstrations, such as Cloud VR gaming, a robotic arm guessing platform, and augmented reality (AR) eyeglasses – demonstrating facial recognition. These solutions showed a glimpse of the future that 5G may bring to our digital life.
‘MTN is very pleased to launch the 5G C-band trial in South Africa,’ said MTN CTIO Giovanni Chiarelli. ’This trial demonstrates the capability of this new technology while giving customers a glimpse of what the future holds, showcasing the next generation of applications for consumer and enterprise customers. MTN will further co-operate with Huawei to accelerate commercial 5G deployment.’
Dean Yu, Huawei Carrier Business VP for Southern Africa adds, ‘5G is at the stage of large-scale deployment in 2019 globally. In 5G era, more “Cloud Native” services will appear. With the redefinition of the smart clients, broad pipes, and Cloud applications, devices can be significantly simplified and more capabilities can be mapped from clouds to devices. Huawei will keep supporting MTN through its challenges and requirements, providing the most innovative product and solution for MTN, bringing the ultimate experience to MTN subscribers.’
MTN’s network performance has proved to be the best according to the MyBroadband speed test across South Africa early this year, while Huawei is leading the 5G rollout globally, with more than 60 commercial contracts and shipment of 400 000 plus base stations.
Both Huawei and MTN are looking forward to an exciting future that their 5G collaboration will bring to South African businesses and consumers.