It’s not long since leading Madagascan operator Telma announced the launch of its 5G network. Now the network is on hold.
As regular readers will know, Ericsson announced that Telma switched on its 5G commercial network on 30 June amid much fanfare, with the promise of “new experiences for Telma customers, from gaming and entertainment services, to IoT and business applications”, driven by 5G use cases such as enhanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless access.
Telma activated the 5G network on 3.6-3.7 GHz mid-band using the latest radio access and transport products from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio.
Patrick Pisal Hamida, CEO, Telma Madagascar, said at the time: “We are very proud to be among the first countries in the world to roll out this technology. It’s a new step ahead for Madagascar as one of the leading ICT countries in the Indian Ocean and Africa.”
Now, according to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, the country’s regulator, the Agency for Regulation of Technology and Communication, has announced that it has ordered Telma to suspend its 5G services.
A press statement issued by the regulator argued that Telma was not authorised to go ahead with a commercial launch of 5G. In fact, according to the statement, it was operating on a temporary authorisation granted by the regulatory authority, one that does not allow services to be marketed. The authorisation was, apparently, valid for only a month.
To add to this slightly surreal situation the regulator pointed out that, as a condition of the authorisation all tests were to be conducted within an enclosed building. Telma, by contrast, has allegedly carried out trials on more than ten outdoor sites “without prior notification”.
Telma, a leading operator in the Indian Ocean area with an estimated 5 million subscribers in Madagascar and 200,000 in Comoros, does not yet seem to have commented on this rather unusual turn of events.