Vodacom to begin 5G trials with Nokia - TechCentral

Vodacom to begin 5G trials with Nokia

Andries Delport

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


  1. Ofentse Letsholo on

    This sounds awesome, as usual they wanted to be no.1 even though Comsol announced first but Vodacom will probably push it first even if it’s trials. I wish I could be one of their customers on this trial… oh well.

    It does however look like 5G is taken more seriously than LTE was, everyone wants to be in the trials early and I’m talking also international networks. Let’s hope this in the end does help making data affordable since spectrum should be allocated by the time it goes live for South Africans.

  2. Khetan Gajjar on

    It’s good to see the 3GPP-standards bodies and the I.EEE playing nicely together; WiFi is a non-optional and core part of any 5G deployment, and I’m glad South African MNO’s (while 10 years late to the party) are starting to catch up to their international counterparts in embracing WiFi, either willingly or because they’ll be left behind if they don’t.

    It makes a refreshing change from the almost uninterrupted whinging and whining about lack of access to licensed spectrum.

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