Vodacom recently launched its 5G mobile network in South Africa, and its first customers have been pleased with the service, the company said.
“While it is too soon to disclose customer adoption figures, consumer interest in our 5G service has been in line with internal expectations,” Vodacom told MyBroadband.
“The initial feedback from customers who have used Vodacom’s 5G service is extremely positive.”
Vodacom launched it 5G network on 4 May, with fixed-broadband and mobile deals available.
Currently, the fixed-broadband packages come with either a Huawei or Nokia 5G CPE, while the only smartphone which is officially supported by the 5G network is the LG V50 ThinQ.
MyBroadband tested this mobile offering and found the download speeds were impressive. Upload speeds and latencies to mobile base stations were similar to that offered by 4G, though.
Vodacom said upload speeds will not be as good as download speeds initially, as the user’s device “has lower transmission power to communicate back to the base station, relative to a base station communicating to the customer device”.
When testing the Vodacom fixed-5G capped broadband packages, we found the service provided a fibre-like connection at speeds of 200Mbps with minimal latency.
Speedtest.co.za yielded download speeds of between 200Mbps and 300Mbps. Upload speeds were relatively stable at around 31Mbps.
Competing with Rain
These fixed-5G products are set to compete with similar offerings from Rain – however, there are a number of key differences between Rain and Vodacom’s products.
Rain’s packages are available on a month-to-month basis, while Vodacom’s packages are available as 24-month or 36-month contracts.
Additionally, Rain offers uncapped 5G packages, while Vodacom’s 5G products are capped at a maximum of 400GB.
Vodacom’s 5G network is also currently available in selected areas around Gauteng and in Cape Town.
Vodacom told MyBroadband that it plans to increase the reach of its 5G network in the coming months.
“We look forward to rolling the service out to other parts of South Africa in the coming months and will make further announcements in due course,” the company said.
The company has also stated that it will eventually offer uncapped 5G products, although this will be dependent on the maturity and development of the technology.
Vodacom’s 5G network was launched using temporary spectrum issued by ICASA as part of the government’s efforts to improve broadband connectivity during the national COVID-19 lockdown.
The company has stated that once it loses access to this spectrum, however, its 5G network will continue to run as normal.
The network will roam entirely on Liquid Telecom’s 5G network, it said.