Another update of Developing Telecoms brings yet another series of 5G announcements, following hard on the heels of recently highlighted 5G FWA rollouts in the US and ongoing trials in China.
Now comes word that African operator Vodacom has tested its high-speed 5G mobile technology in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. Two companies are now reportedly using one of the world’s first commercial 5G networks operating in 3.5 GHz spectrum.
The Lesotho network is said to be the first in Africa and to deliver speeds of up to 700 megabits per second. However, it is not yet clear how it is being used or how large a user base it has.
Small-scale 5G demos are apparently proliferating. For example, Czech mobile network operator Vodafone has demonstrated 5G technology in one of its roles as a tech partner at the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary. Vodafone is said to be have demoed 1.84Gbps transmission speeds using Huawei’s 64×64
MIMO configuration and 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band, ahead of a planned commercial launch of the latest generation mobile service in the first quarter of 2019. In the same year the Czech regulator intends to auction off key frequencies in the 700MHz and 3.5GHz bands; these can be used by operators exclusively for 5G.
Slightly more realistically perhaps, while ZTE South Africa, a subsidiary of ZTE Corporation, recently reiterated the corporation's strong commitment to lead 5G innovations globally, its spokesperson suggested that, in much of Africa, countries are rolling out 4G and mobile operators still expect to recover their 4G investment. Therefore, ZTE says it has developed pre-5G – a forerunner of 5G rollout – as an end-to-end solution to provide an enhanced user experience for 4G.