5G tECHNOLOGY: south African Billionaire moves to build 700 5G sites in SA, 250 5G towers Already in Johannesburg, Centurion and Tshwane

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Patrice T. Motsepe,
Fifth-generation wireless (5G) is the latest iteration of cellular technology, engineered to greatly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks.

5G will also enable a sharp increase in the amount of data transmitted over wireless systems due to more available bandwidth and advanced antenna technology.

South African companies are competing to roll out 5G technology infrastructure in the country. Mobile operator Vodacom announced at the early this year that they will be launching commercial 5G services during 2020 using a network being built by rival operator Liquid Telecom.

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Now Billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Investments (ARC) said on Monday that it would be leveraging its shareholding in network provider Rain to make a R2 billion investment to build 700 5G sites in South Africa.

5G is the next generation wireless networking technology and offers considerable advances in speed and capacity. On average 5G can provide speeds at least 10 times faster than existing 4G networks.

What 5G connectivity means for the South African market

Liquid Telecom announced late last year that it was building a wholesale 5G network in South Africa that would be available from early 2020. Liquid Telecom, which will use its own spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, said it would allow other operators to use this infrastructure for the provision of 5G technology. Liquid added that its 5G service would be available in major South African cities.

Mobile operators in South Africa have complained about delays by the local government to award spectrum for the provision of 5G technology. Vodacom and rival telco MTN have been carrying out 5G pilots using spectrum from the regulator.

3 Major 5G Networks Launch across Africa

The State of 5G in Africa in 2020

Rain activated Africa’s first commercial 5G network by making it available to selected existing customers. Rain already offers a fixed 5G service in parts of Johannesburg and Tshwane. The company said it expects to expand 5G coverage to additional cities including Cape Town and Durban during 2020.

“ARC has an investment (a shareholding of 20.6 percent) in the mobile telecoms company Rain, and Rain has successfully done a soft launch of 5G in South Africa in September 2019.

“Rain has indicated to the market that it currently has rolled out about 250 5G towers in Johannesburg, Centurion and Tshwane as part of its soft launch specifically and that it is aiming to roll out 700 5G towers country wide by end of 2020,” Moss said.

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