We tested the free 5G network in Soweto and got 140Mbps download speeds

Comsol recently partnered with Samsung to launch a live 5G pilot network in Soweto, Johannesburg.

Using its access to 28GHz spectrum, Comsol has deployed a 5G fixed-wireless access (FWA) network in the area.

The customer premises equipment (CPE) used to deliver the 5G connectivity to residents and visitors is provided by Samsung South Africa.

During the launch event for the pilot, Comsol said it reached speeds of 1.75Gbps when connected directly to the network.

Comsol’s pilot network comprises two 5G base stations with multiple radio antennas and multiple CPE devices.

These base stations are connected via a fibre backhaul to Teraco, where MWEB has provided the Internet breakout for the duration of the trial.


Wi-Fi hotspot

The 5G pilot network is open to the public through a number of wireless access points dotted around Soweto.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are placed at various points of interest in the area, each delivering free high-speed Internet through Comsol’s 5G network.

For those near these public hotspots, you can log in to the Comsol 5G SSID with a smart device and accept the terms of the trial to begin using the Internet.

The 5G network trial will be available to users in the coverage area until 31 November 2018.

Comsol noted that connectivity and coverage could change during the trial period.

A map of the coverage area and access points is shown below, with blue circles depicting radio coverage and yellow pins signifying Wi-Fi access points.

Comsol 5G coverage


Testing the network

MyBroadband visited Vilakazi Street in Orlando West, Soweto on Saturday 15 September to test the Comsol 5G network.

We used two smartphones from different manufacturers to connect to the Comsol 5G wireless access point and conduct speed tests while walking on the street.

When a device is first connected to the 5G network via the “Comsol 5G” SSID, the user is required to accept the terms of the trial – acknowledging that the network allows for 500 devices to be connected simultaneously.

Once this is completed, Internet access is available on the user’s device – no email or cellphone registration required.

We used the MyBroadband Speed Test app to conduct multiple speed tests on each device at various locations on the street.

Speeds and latencies varied between each test, which could be caused by a multitude of factors – from network congestion to connectivity issues.

Tests showed download speeds well over 100Mbps and extremely-low latencies – including a download test of 144Mbps. Certain tests also produced upload speeds of over 100Mbps.

A handful of tests, however, produced low-speed results and high latencies.


Speed tests

Screenshots of fast and the slow speed tests recorded when connected to the Comsol 5G network in Soweto are posted below.

Soweto 5G fast

Soweto 5G slow


Now read: 5G could be fibre’s biggest competitor in South Africa

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We tested the free 5G network in Soweto and got 140Mbps download speeds