Vodacom launches 5G mobile network

Vodacom has launched Africa’s first live 5G mobile network in three cities – Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town – with further rollouts planned to other parts of the country.

This network supports both mobile and fixed-wireless services, and is currently available on 20 live 5G sites – 18 of which are in Gauteng, and 2 in Cape Town.

There 20 sites are grouped into the following six clusters:

  • Midrand cluster
  • Sandton cluster
  • Menlyn cluster
  • Centurion cluster
  • Waterfall/Sunninghill cluster
  • Century City cluster

“Vodacom customers with 5G-enabled devices, and within a 5G coverage area, are now able to access one of the fastest and most sophisticated network connections in Africa,” the company said.

Vodacom was recently assigned temporary spectrum by ICASA for the duration of the national state of disaster.

This spectrum included 50MHz in the 3.5GHz band, which has been used to fast-track its 5G launch.

Vodacom and Liquid Telecom also concluded managed network services and national roaming agreements for a national 5G network in December 2019.

The deployment of 5G will help Vodacom manage the 40% increase in mobile network traffic and the 250% increase in fixed traffic experienced during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Better performance

Vodacom said 5G offers many benefits over 4G, which include faster speeds, lower latency, better reliability, and more network capacity.

  • Faster speeds – In comparison to 4G, peak speeds on 5G will increase significantly. 5G will enable fibre-like speeds using the mobile network.
  • Lower latency – In comparison to 4G where latencies are typically between 20-30 milliseconds, 5G can support latencies as low as 1 millisecond.
  • More network capacity – 5G uses spectrum in a much more efficient manner than 4G technology and is able to fit more data into the same amount of spectrum.

For those looking to use Vodacom’s new 5G network, it currently supports the LG V50 5G smartphone and Huawei 5G CPE PRO router.

Now read: New spectrum has arrived – Here is what mobile operators are doing with it

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Vodacom launches 5G mobile network