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Vodacom launches superspeed 5G network

by Lesotho Times
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Bereng Mpaki

VODACOM Lesotho Telecom on Saturday availed the ultra-high-speed 5G cellular technology network, the first such commercial service in Africa.

The technology will allow for a wide range of benefits and use cases in a rapidly advancing technology.

The organisation said this week that subscribers, especially business entities in Lesotho will now enjoy ultra-high-speed internet connection thanks to the pioneering introduction of the commercial 5G service in the country.

The service is described as a 5th generation cellular technology network that allows for a wide range of benefits and use cases in a rapidly advancing technology environment.

According to Vodacom Lesotho’s Brand and Marketing Manager Mpho Brown, the most important benefits of 5G technology are ultra-high-speed internet connections in a speed-demanding environment, low latency connectivity that allows for high responsiveness in machine to machine connectivity, and allowance for connectivity between a larger number of devices at the same time.

“All of these benefits speak directly to enabling and bringing us closer to global trends in the Internet of Things and have direct implications for actors like health, education, financial services and many others,” Mr Brown said.

“These benefits speak directly to our commitment as Vodacom to continue to be the leading company bringing innovation to Lesotho and using technology to drive socio-economic development.”

He said they the introduction of the 5G service was done with their major customers in mind.

“We are introducing the 5G service in Lesotho with two major customers initially, in the Mining and Banking industries – the names of which will be revealed at the launch event that will be held on 6 September 2018. Details of the launch will be made available in the coming days.

“Generally, in these early days, 5G connectivity is going to be extremely beneficial to businesses, big and small, as well as government and various organisations to ensure that they have access to the best quality connectivity the world has to offer.

“As 5G capable devices become more and more available globally and more affordable – 5G service will begin to be available also to individual consumers and various other sectors at a fraction of what it costs today,” Mr Brown said.

He expressed gratitude to the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) whom he said supported the programme through speed assignment of the necessary spectrum.

“Vodacom Lesotho has been the first to roll-out this technology because of its commitment to innovating the Lesotho communications market with new technologies, products and services. We would like to commend the Lesotho Communications Authority for making this possible through speedy assignment of the necessary spectrum and generally being responsive to technological trends.”

Meanwhile, Vodacom Group also announced that, in another first, it has deployed the same standards-based 5G technology in South Africa, with speeds in excess of 700 Mbps and latencies of less than 10 milliseconds. This will exceed 1Gbps as new software versions and devices become available. Until such time as 3, 5GHz spectrum becomes available to Vodacom South Africa, this network will not be available to its customers.

Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Vodacom prides itself on being a market leader and we are extremely pleased to be first to deliver 5G services to customers in Africa”.

“What we have accomplished in Lesotho is an example of what can be achieved in Africa, should the requisite spectrum also be made available.

“Vodacom will be able to make 5G services available to its customers in South Africa once requisite spectrum is assigned. Global technological advancements are evolving at a rapid pace and South Africa cannot afford to be left behind, particularly when we look at some of the potential use cases for 5G to support critical sectors of our society such as healthcare and education.”

Vodacom Group continues to lead the market with many firsts such as 2G, 3G and 4G in South Africa and now also 5G on the continent. Vodacom Lesotho has been assigned spectrum in the 3.5GHz band, enabling the launch of a commercial 5G service. Vodacom South Africa has been granted a temporary spectrum license of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band to showcase the same standards-based 5G network capabilities in South Africa.

The 3, 5GHz spectrum band is considered optimal for 5G network deployments due to its suitability for throughput and capacity and it is not dependent on the digital migration in South Africa. In addition, the 3.5GHz band has adequate indoor penetration characteristics and will lend itself in future to the facilitation of a broad range of consumer and business applications such as smart factories, augmented reality and autonomous vehicles. Vodacom has deployed advanced 5G Active Antennae – also known as Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) – to provide improved spectral efficiency and coverage, enabling increased network capacity.

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