Vodacom has signed a roaming and managed services agreement with Liquid Telecom which will enable the company to launch 5G services this year.
Liquid Telecom announced in January that it plans to launch a wholesale 5G network in South Africa in early 2020.
The company said its wholesale 5G network, which uses its 3.5GHz spectrum, will be available from early 2020 in all major South African cities.
“This network will enable wholesale operators to create innovative, ultra-fast, and scalable digital services for their customers,” Liquid Telecom chairman Strive Masiyiwa said.
Masiyiwa added that mobile network operators and ISPs will have open access to the 5G mobile network.
Partnership between Vodacom and Liquid Telecom
Vodacom has now announced a partnership with Liquid Telecom where it will manage the network on behalf of Liquid Telecom.
Through this agreement, Vodacom will roam on Liquid Telecom’s 5G network, which will allow the mobile operator to launch 5G services in South Africa.
“This agreement will allow Vodacom to offer customers a leading connectivity experience at a time when most 5G spectrum is yet to be assigned,” Vodacom said.
The mobile operator added that 5G services are currently being trialled ahead of a commercial launch during this year.
Similar to Rain 4G partnership
The partnership between Vodacom and Liquid Telecom is similar to Vodacom’s current agreement with Rain.
Vodacom explained that its agreement with Rain means Rain procures the active radio equipment, OSS systems, and software required for its network and roaming agreement.
Vodacom, in turn, provides Rain with access to its passive infrastructure, which includes mast space, shared antennas, space in its containers, power, and cooling.
Vodacom’s agreement with Rain provided the opportunity for subscribers to roam on the Rain network, giving them better coverage and less congestion.
It is likely that the agreement with Liquid Telecom will follow a similar structure as it passed regulatory scrutiny.
New agreement with Rain
Vodacom has also concluded a deal with Rain to extend its roaming and facilities leasing agreements beyond its original agreement of 5,000 sites to virtually all Vodacom sites.
This agreement will enable Vodacom to increase access to 4G capacity at more favourable terms.
“This is an important agreement in an environment where spectrum remains a key capacity constraint for all networks,” Vodacom said.