Vodacom continues to upgrade its network infrastructure and capacity in preparation for the rollout of 5G technology.
5G promises everything from ultra-low latencies to lightning-fast speeds, allowing for the launch of new product offerings.
One of the most promising of these – at least for the initial period of 5G rollout – is fixed-wireless access connections which deliver fibre-like speeds over the wireless technology.
These connections would offer speeds and latencies which are competitive with physical fibre connections, and would require far less infrastructure investment.
Vodacom recognises the potential of these services and plans to roll out products to customers when they become available.
Speaking in an interview with MyBroadband, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said that 5G can mirror the capabilities of fibre connections.
“On 5G, you can emulate what you will do with fibre, and that will be one of the big use cases for the technology,” Joosub said.
“But to do fixed-wireless before that, you still have to have the technology in place.”
He added that implementing fixed-wireless access on the currently-available technologies doesn’t necessarily make sense as mobile is always a contended service.
In the future however, Joosub believes that fibre and 5G or 4G would be used interchangeably to deliver high-speed Internet access to separate coverage areas.
“My view is that you will have for example, 3 million homes covered by fibre then you would have 5G and 4G to cover the rest,” he said.
“Over time, 5G will cover everything.”
Vodacom CTO Andries Delport previously told MyBroadband that their solution would be one of the first 5G offerings on the market.
Once the company launches the technology and obtains the requisite spectrum to bring down the cost of data, it plans to offer 5G fibre-like services.
Additionally, Delport said he suspects 5G mobile data services will be similarly priced to their counterparts on older technologies: 3G and 4G.
The rollout of 5G technology to mobile users remains far away for most, however, with several steps required to improve capacity and test the technology across local networks.
Vodacom has already deployed a live 5G network in Lesotho, though, with one of its customers opting to replace their fibre offering with a 5G solution – demonstrating the potential of the technology as a fibre-like service.