President Cyril Ramaphosa recently opened the inaugural 4th Industrial Revolution SA Digital Economy Summit and surprised some people with his comments about Huawei and 5G.
Ramaphosa said local telecommunications companies asked him to intervene in the trade war between the United States and China and how it related to Huawei.
“Because we want to go to 5G, and only this company called Huawei can lead us to 5G, and the United States are now punishing them,” Ramaphosa said.
“We have to say we support a company which are going to take our country and indeed the world to better technologies, and that is 5G.”
Ramaphosa also said the United States (US) has been “unable to imagine a better future which goes beyond 4 plus 1G, where they have been unable to imagine what 5G can offer”.
He added that the United States was jealous that a ‘Chinese company called Huawei’ has outstripped them.
Nokia network used
What is ironic is that Ramaphosa was using a Nokia network to transfer his message that Huawei was the only company which “can lead us to 5G”.
As part of his speech, Ramaphosa communicated with the Premier of the North West, Job Mokgoro, via a hologram powered by Vodacom and Nokia.
Only a day later, at the 2019 Durban July, Vodacom showcased Africa’s first live, 5G data session on a commercially ready 5G mobile phone and network using Nokia network equipment.
The data session was successfully completed using LG’s V50 ThinQ 5G smartphone and was carried using Nokia’s AirScale 5G radio network solution.
At the same event, Vodacom carried a hologram over a 5G Nokia network. This was another first for Africa.
These demonstrations cast more doubt over Ramaphosa’s claim that only Huawei can lead South Africa to 5G.
Huawei is great, but so are many other players
There is absolutely no doubt that Huawei is a global 5G leader and that local networks rely heavily on the company for their network needs.
Huawei forms the backbone of many South African networks, and for good reason; its carrier business is at the forefront of innovation and it offers excellent value to clients.
This, however, does not mean that it is the only company which is doing great work in the 5G space.
Nokia told MyBroadband that it is the only 5G vendor with an end-to-end portfolio and a truly global presence.
To date, Nokia has signed 44 5G commercial agreements, with customers including Rain, Vodafone Italy, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile US.
Nokia 5G technology is already used to provide live commercial services by operators across North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle-East.
Deon Geyser, head of the Southern Africa Market Unit at Nokia, added that Nokia is fully committed to bringing its global 5G leadership to South Africa.
No comment from The President
MyBroadband asked The Presidency for comment about Ramaphosa’s 5G statements, but it did not respond by the time of publication.
Listen to Ramaphosa’s US and 5G comments
The photos below show the hologram demonstration at the inaugural Digital Economy summit on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), powered by Vodacom and Nokia.