MTN unveils Africa's quickest mobile downloads‚ but there's a snag

08 January 2018 - 11:20 By Dave Chambers
Image: Gallo Images/Charles Gallo

MTN says it has achieved download speeds of more than 20 gigabits per second in its first trial of fifth-generation (5G) technology.

“This is the highest achieved on a mobile network in Africa‚” the service provider said in a statement on Monday.

It said it was ready to deploy the technology commercially but could not do so until it had access to additional frequency spectrum.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa‚ which regulates spectrum‚ has not yet allocated spectrum for 4G infrastructure‚ TechCentral reported‚ forcing operators to reallocate 2G and 3G spectrum.

Said MTN South Africa chief technology and innovation officer Giovanni Chiarelli: “There is no doubt that 5G will offer the consumer higher speeds and lower latency‚ but to achieve this we need the capacity that comes with additional spectrum.

“Once again we call on the government to urgently release the much-needed spectrum that is required in South Africa‚ to lower the cost of data and drive growth and development for all South Africans.”

MTN has collaborated with network equipment provider Ericsson on its 5G trial and found that the technology is at least 100 times faster than 4G.

Says Wikipedia’s 5G page: “5G planning aims at higher capacity than current 4G‚ allowing a higher density of mobile broadband users‚ and supporting device-to-device‚ more reliable‚ and massive machine communications.

“5G research and development also aims at lower latency than 4G equipment and lower battery consumption‚ for better implementation of the internet of things.”