MTN and Ericsson launch first 5G customer trial in South Africa

MTN and Ericsson have partnered to launch the first 5G customer trial deployment in South Africa.

The trial will begin with the deployment of a 5G fixed-wireless access site at Netstar’s headquarters in Midrand.

“The field deployment in Midrand, situated between Johannesburg and Tshwane (Pretoria), is part of Ericsson’s continuing efforts to deliver end-to-end 5G capabilities to support MTN South Africa’s growth as well as 5G and enterprise ambitions,” MTN said.

The 5G solution deployed operates on the 28GHz band with a total operating bandwidth of 100 MHz, using Ericsson trial antenna integrated radio units and Intel’s 5G Mobile Trial Platform to provide a 5G access point in the Netstar premises.

Netstar employees can connect to this 5G network through a number of different WiFi access points. MTN said that following this field deployment, it is also planning to test other 5G consumer use cases.

MTN South Africa CTIO Giovanni Chiarelli said the company has been working with Ercisson on 5G for lab tests, field trials and now customer tests.

“Our aim is to build a network to cater for current and future required services,” Chiarelli said.

He added that the current discussion regarding the imminent release of much-needed additional spectrum, should also include 5G spectrum in the primary 3.5 GHz band.

“Access to 5G spectrum will see our nation able to actively participate on the cutting edge of the digital economy and we cannot afford to fall behind the 4th Industrial Revolution,” Chiarelli said.

Now read: Vodacom’s big plans for fibre-like 5G connections

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MTN and Ericsson launch first 5G customer trial in South Africa