Telkom has stated that it is closer than any other mobile operator to deploying 5G services, provided it is supplied with enough spectrum.
5G promises low latencies and high-speed mobile connections, and mobile operators including MTN, Vodacom, and Rain have all tested the technology in an effort to prepare their networks.
The allocation of spectrum to operators remains the biggest obstacle to the wide-scale deployment of 5G, however, with all mobile networks in South Africa calling for spectrum to be freed up as soon as possible.
One of the first use cases which we could see with 5G is the deployment of fast fixed-wireless services from mobile operators.
Speaking to MyBroadband, Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko said that the company is the closest to deploying this kind of 5G product locally.
Maseko said the Telkom network has already been designed for this type of application, describing its capabilities as “4.5G”.
“We are the closest because our LTE network is 4.5G. The way in which we have been rolling out our LTE network has been providing high-speed broadband services to homes,” Maseko said.
“My view is that 5G will probably be providing high-speed connection and data services to enterprises initially,” he said.
Maseko added that the distance factor in 5G is a lot shorter than older technologies, which means more cells would be required.
“That is partly why we are spinning out our Gyro business,” Maseko said.
“It can begin to aggressively go after those potential 5G locations as well and offer a passive infrastructure proposition where all the network operators can use their towers to carry both 4G and 5G.”
Maseko said the Telkom network has been designed with the eventual deployment of 5G fixed-wireless solutions and widespread coverage in mind.
“That is how we have designed our network development over the past year or two,” he said.
“So the issue now will be about how do we drive that level of execution.”