Vodacom and networking equipment supplier Nokia will trial 5G technology in South Africa, the two companies said on Tuesday.
Working with Vodacom in a series of workshops and trials, Nokia will test how 5G technology can be used to meet demand in South Africa.
The companies will focus on the delivery of ultra-high-definition and virtual reality video using the enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-low latency capabilities of 5G.
“Vodacom and Nokia will also collaborate to understand how 5G can drive continued economic growth in industries important to South Africa including manufacturing, mining, healthcare, media, energy and transportation,” the companies said in a statement.
“Nokia will leverage expertise from its Bell Labs Consulting arm to work with Vodacom and identify where, when and how to evolve its network to 5G.”
Vodacom chief technology officer Andries Delport said 5G will have applications in big data analytics, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, and the Internet of things.
The companies did not say when the trials will begin.
Last month, TechCentral reported exclusively that Comsol, a telecommunications company backed by Nedbank, the Industrial Development Corporation and Andile Ngcaba’s Convergence Partners, would launch the first 5G network in South Africa in November.
The company, based in Midrand in Johannesburg, will launch a trial 5G network, with live customers, in partnership with Internet service providers with a view to launching a commercial 5G network thereafter. Several high sites will be used for the trial.
The company has 280MHz of licensed spectrum around the 28GHz band, which it plans to use to build the 5G network, CEO Iain Stevenson said.
Comsol is already in talks to bring the test equipment into South Africa, though Stevenson declined to name the technology provider. The equipment will be pre-release hardware, but ready to be deployed in the local market on a trial basis.
The company has 280MHz of licensed spectrum around the 28GHz band, which it plans to use to build the 5G network. If the tests prove successful, the company could move quickly to build a network of national scope.
Last week, communications regulator Icasa said it had concluded an inaugural forum on 5G technologies, ahead of their anticipated introduction in South Africa by the end of the decade.
The standards for 5G networks are still being bedded down internationally, but Icasa said it felt the time was right to convene a forum in South Africa to debate the issues. — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media