Telkom launches 5G

Telkom has commercially launched its 5G network, will soon introduce fixed wireless access services and has started testing mobile 5G on its network.

During a media event on Thursday, Telkom consumer business CEO Lunga Siyo said Telkom has quietly been laying the groundwork to launch 5G, including expanding its fibre backhaul.

“We will launch the most 5G-ready network in the country,” Siyo said.

For Telkom, the measure of success for its 5G network is “where it can make the most impact,” Siyo said.

The operator has been testing its 5G network since February 2021 using closed-access sites in selected parts of the country.

In August 2021, Telkom told MyBroadband it would increase the number of test sites from 10 to 60 locations by August 2022.

Siyo said they now have 123 active 5G sites — double what Telkom had hoped to have online by August.

“With the largest fibre network in the country and recent allocation of spectrum, we are well-positioned to become an enabler of a connected society, so that all South Africans can be a part of the digital ecosystem,” stated Siyo.

Telkom’s wholesale and networks division Openserve has over 160,000 kilometres of fibre in the ground in South Africa.

The company acquired 42MHz of spectrum during industry regulator Icasa’s spectrum auction in March — 20MHz in the 800MHz band and 22MHz in the 3500MHz band.

This brought Telkom’s total spectrum holdings from 169MHz to 211MHz.

“At launch, Telkom will focus on providing 5G Fixed Wireless Access solutions, and as the demand for 5G mobility increases, we will have our 5G mobility propositions ready, these are already in testing,” Siyo said.

Telkom’s first mobile 5G result appeared in MyBroadband’s Speed Test app database in the second week of October.

The results were recorded in the Highveld area in Centurion, Gauteng, the same area where Telkom’s headquarters is located, and measured a 266.77Mbps download speed, and 45.44Mbps upload.

“OEMs and devices will be tested, certified, and onboarded over the next few months as Telkom embarks on this exciting 5G journey,” said Siyo.

Now read: First Telkom 5G network speed tests appear

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Telkom launches 5G