5G launch for South Africa; 4G expansion for Belarus

5G launch for South Africa; 4G expansion for Belarus

South African data-only operator Rain has launched what is being called the African continent's first commercial 5G network.

The network is a fixed-wireless 5G broadband service, offering unlimited broadband access with a downlink of up to 700Mbps.

Customers in selected areas of Johannesburg and Pretoria can access the service for about $68 a month. Rain plans to expand the service to Cape Town, Durban and other major metropolitan areas this year and in 2020. The network operates in the 3.6GHz frequency band.

Rain already operates what it calls ‘the fastest-growing 4G network in South Africa’, which is available in most major metropolitan areas, and it says it is leveraging its 4G network infrastructure to build the 5G network in its regulated 3.6GHz spectrum band. The new service is being strongly promoted on the Rain website, promising fast download speeds (or, as the site puts it: “Download an HD movie before your microwave popcorn even has a chance to pop”).

Meanwhile 4G is still making waves in many markets. For example, Belarusian Telecommunications Network (BeST, life:)), an 80 per cent-owned subsidiary of Turkey’s Turkcell, has said that it has expanded its 4G coverage with the launch of services using 176 new base transceiver stations in 32 locations across Belarus. With 4G usage growing on a daily basis in the Belarussian cities where it is available, life:) is now looking to make 4G more widely available in the country’s regions.