MTN, Huawei launch Africa’s fore­most 5G field trial

African Times - - Business - MTHULISI SIBANDA – CAJ News

THE con­ti­nent’s first live out­door 5th gen­er­a­tion (5G) wire­less sys­tems field rial has been launched in South Africa with re­newed calls for gov­ern­ment to al­lo­cate high­de­mand spec­trum. MTN, the mo­bile op­er­a­tor, and tech­nol­ogy olu­tions provider launched the ield trial in Hat­field sub­urb in he cap­i­tal Pre­to­ria on Tues­day. The his­toric trial came on he back of con­tin­ual calls by ocal mo­bile op­er­a­tors for more pec­trum al­lo­ca­tion in South Africa.

“Spec­trum is the lifeblood of any mo­bile net­work op­er­a­tor,” said Ryan Van Den Bergh, the Ra­dio Ac­cess Net­work (RAN) Tech­ni­cal Spe­cial­ist at MTN SA.

Sim­i­lar calls were made when MTN and Eric­s­son the first 5G trial the for­mer’s head­quar­ters in Jo­han­nes­burg in Jan­uary. Spec­trum is an emo­tive is­sue in South Africa.

Gov­ern­ment in 2016 threat­ened le­gal ac­tion against the In­de­pen­dent Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Au­thor­ity (ICASA) af­ter it launched the auc­tion for 700MHz, 800MHz and 2.6GHz spec­trum li­cences.

Then, Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and Postal Ser­vices Min­is­ter, Siyabonga Cwele, said gov­ern­ment had not es­tab­lished pol­icy di­rec­tion on spec­trum thus ICASA failed to ad­here to leg­is­la­tion and reg­u­la­tions.

Mean­while, the field trial in Hat­field demon­strated a 5G Fixed-Wire­less Ac­cess (FWA) use case with Huawei’s 5G 28GHz mmWave Cus­tomer Premises Equip­ment (CPE) in a real-world en­vi­ron­ment.

Speeds of 520 Me­gabits per sec­ond (Mbps) down­link and 77 Mbps up­link were at­tained through­out re­spec­tively.

“Th­ese 5G tri­als pro­vide us with an op­por­tu­nity to fu­ture proof our net­work and pre­pare it for the evo­lu­tion of th­ese new gen­er­a­tion net­works,” said Babak Fouladi, MTN Group Chief Tech­nol­ogy and In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems Of­fi­cer.

Gio­vanni Chiarelli, MTN SA Chief Tech­nol­ogy and In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer, said MTN and Huawei’s joint field trial of the first 5G mmWave Fixed-Wire­less Ac­cess solution in Africa would also pave the way for a fixed-wire­less ac­cess solution that is ca­pa­ble of re­plac­ing con­ven­tional fixed ac­cess tech­nolo­gies, such as fi­bre.Ed­ward Deng, Pres­i­dent of Wire­less Net­work Prod­uct Line of Huawei, said the com­pany con­tin­ued in­vest­ing sig­nif­i­cantly in in­no­va­tive 5G tech­nolo­gies.

5G mmWave tech­nol­ogy could achieve un­prece­dented fiber-like speed for mo­bile broad­band ac­cess, deng said, adding the trial had shown the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of 5G tech­nol­ogy to de­liver ex­cep­tional user ex­pe­ri­ence for En­hanced Mo­bile Broad­band ap­pli­ca­tions.

“With cus­tomer-cen­tric in­no­va­tion in mind, Huawei will con­tinue to part­ner with MTN to de­liver best-in-class advanced wire­less solutions,” Deng said.

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