Vodacom Central Region has switched on 5G mobile network in Mangaung Municipal District, in the Free State province of South Africa.
The telecom operator plans to go live in other municipal districts in the Free State and Northern Cape provinces by the end of September 2021.
A statement from the company said the 5G network is currently available on five live 5G sites in Free State and supports both mobile and fixed wireless access services.
With this, Vodacom customers with 5G enabled devices, and within a 5G coverage area, are now able to access the new 5G network in Free State province.
In May 2020, Vodacom switched on South Africa’s first live 5G mobile network in three cities – Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town. This network supports both mobile and fixed wireless services and is currently available in Gauteng, Western Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal Provinces.
To launch the 5G network in Free State, Vodacom used the temporary spectrum assigned by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), specifically 1×50 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band.
Vodacom has decided to use the 700 MHz band for wide scale mobile, 5G coverage and is supplementing network capacity with 3.5 GHz where required.
Commenting, Evah Mthimunye, Managing Executive for Vodacom Central Region said: “We are pleased to bring 5G network footprint in Free State. This is part of phase one rollout and we are currently preparing for the second phase. The 5G network is going to play a vital role in accelerating digital transformation in various industries across the province. This is a demonstration of our commitment to invest in the latest networks to bridge the digital divide.”
Short for the ‘fifth generation’ wireless mobile network, 5G is the newest iteration of our global mobile networking standard. It promises much higher download and upload speeds, lower latency (the time it takes for a connected service to respond to your command) and far greater capacity, speed and increased coverage.
More 5G devices are expected to become accessible to South Africans in future. Vodacom says already we are seeing the introduction of increasingly cost effective 5G enabled smartphones around the world, not just in the premium segment but also in the mid-tier segment.