MTN has confirmed that it is planning on launching its own 5G network at the end of this month.
The company had initially planned to launch at the start of June, but encountered “delays in bringing some equipment into the country.” Business Insider reports that MTN outed itself in the latest issue of Y’ello magazine. In the magazine, the Pan-African telecom writes that it is running a promotion for 5G connectivity using Huawei’s recently launched line of P40 smartphones.
Along with the LG ThinQ, the P40s are currently the only smartphones in the country capable of using 5G services.
MTN has not indicated how it is planning on offering its 5G services. South Africa’s largest mobile operators have struggled for many years to get certain permissions to use parts of the radio spectrum best suited for 5G technologies.
The government is due to auction off blocks of the spectrum later this year.
Before now, only two networks – Vodacom and Rain – have been able to offer 5G services, and both have achieved this by working around government regulations.
Vodacom recently announced a deal with Liquid Telecom to use their 5G network. Liquid owns the parts of the spectrum that formerly belonged to Neotel.
In the case of Rain, they’re repurposing the parts of the spectrum formerly used by iBurst after they bought parent company WBS.
Vodacom is also using the emergency spectrum allocated by the government to provide 5G services. In April, the government allowed access to some of the radio frequency spectrum best suited to 5G on an emergency basis to provide to aid during the national hard lockdown.
The allocation is to help the operators cope with demand. The catch is that operators only get access until November, or until the end of the state of emergency.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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