Vodacom tests first 5G deployment with super fast mobile speeds

5G wireless connectivity could be a couple of years away from widespread adoption but that doesn’t seem to hinder telcos from pushing the next-gen tech forward. Vodacom Group said on Saturday that it has become the first operator in Africa to launch a standards-based, commercial 5G network in Lesotho. The service, which will initially provide fixed-wireless access broadband services to two enterprise customers in Lesotho, will utilize spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, Vodacom said.

Vodacom also announced that it has deployed the same 5G technology in South Africa, with initial speed tests being able to deliver upwards of 700Mbit/s with latencies of less than 10ms. They were also quick to add that this will exceed 1Gbit/s when new software versions and devices become available. However, until the 3.5GHz spectrum becomes available to Vodacom South Africa, this network will not be available to its customers.

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Vodacom Lesotho was allocated the 3.5 GHz spectrum and this enabled the launch of the commercial 5G service. Vodacom South Africa currently has a temporary license to operate the same frequency in the spectrum on 100 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band. This will allow them to showcase the performance of the said network in the South African market.

“What we’ve accomplished in Lesotho is an example of what can be achieved in Africa, should the requisite spectrum also be made available,” said group CEO Shameel Joosub in the statement.

“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’ve accomplished in Lesotho is an example of what can be achieved in Africa, should the requisite spectrum also be made available,” said Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO.

Mobile tech advances way too fast for most African economies, which are, for the most part, developing and third-world markets, to keep up. To see an African telco in the cutting edge of testing and deployment of such next-generation technology is a testament to just how far African tech industry has come, and just how ready Africa is to take on the rest of the world in innovation.