MTN, Vodacom Urges SA To Begin Immediate Use Of 5G Networks

Leading Telecommunications firm, MTN and South African Mobile Communications Company Vodacom have warned that unless the government ensures that 5G spectrum is released quickly, South Africa will find itself for the first time completely left behind at the release of a new generation of wireless technology.

According to Vodacom: “Licensing 5G spectrum should be prioritised as this would prevent South Africa from lagging behind the rest of the world."

Mobile operators have agreed that 5G spectrum is suitable for LTE networks with full coverage zones and it would work well to improve rural coverage in the country.

Vodacom and MTN also agree that spectrum in the 3.5GHz band would be a right place for ICASA to begin licensing new 5G spectrum because according to Vodacom, the key bands for an initial 5G rollout, are not dependent on the digital migration, and can be used for 5G as soon as they are assigned.""

Other network providers like Cell C and Telkom, which are in disagreement with the two giant telcos are saying that ICASA should not begin a 5G spectrum licensing process yet because according to Telkom: "Frequency bands to be used for 5G, also known as IMT-2020, are one of the highly debated issues to be discussed during the World Radiocommunication Conference scheduled for November 2019.""

Telkom added that IMT-2020 spectrum could only be licensed as soon as the frequency bands, have been decided on at the conference. Other issues to be discussed are technical, regulatory, and operational requirements applicable to such frequency bands, for the protection of existing services.

About 11 frequency bands in the range of 24.25GHz and 86GHz are being studied for compatibility with existing radio communication services, and determining the feasibility of using these frequency bands for IMT-2020.


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