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MTN, Huawei launch Africa’s first live outdoor 5G field trial

SAMUEL MUNGADZE

PRETORIA-Telecoms giant MTN and Huawei on Tuesday carried Africa’s first live outdoor 5th generation (5G) wireless systems field trial.

The field trial demonstrated a 5G fixed-wireless access use case with Huawei’s millimetre-wavemeter-wave technology in a “real-world” environment in Hatfield, Pretoria.

The trial saw speeds of 520Mbit/s on the downlink and 77Mbit/s on the uplink being achieved.

The trial resuscitated the spectrum allocation matter as operators need more it to deliver a high speed and smooth network.

The government has once again been urged to conclude the long-awaited spectrum licensing of the much-needed 700MHz, 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequencies.

“Spectrum is the lifeblood of any mobile network operator,” commented Ryan Van Den Bergh, the Radio Access Network (RAN) Technical Specialist at MTN SA.

MTN said the rollout of 5G services to smartphones and other handheld devices would depend on the allocation of lower-frequency spectrum to operators and the development of compatible devices.

Speaking of the trial, Edward Deng, President of Wireless Network Product Line of Huawei said his firm is continuing to invest heavily in innovative 5G technologies.

He said: “5G mm Wave technology can achieve unprecedented fiber-like speed for mobile broadband access. This trial has shown the capabilities of 5G technology to deliver exceptional user experience for Enhanced Mobile Broadband applications. With customer-centric innovation in mind, Huawei will continue to partner with MTN to deliver best-in-class advanced wireless solutions.”

Giovanni Chiarelli, MTN SA Chief Technology and Information Officer, said the joint field trial of the first 5G mmWave Fixed-Wireless Access solution in Africa would also pave the way for a fixed-wireless access solution that is capable of replacing conventional fixed access technologies, such as fibre.

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