Vodacom Switches on Africa’s ‘First’ 5G Fixed-Mobile Service

“Vodacom’s 5G launch in South Africa comes at an important time as it will help us improve our network efficiency during the COVID-19 national state of disaster," Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO, says.

Vodacom 5G
Vodacom 5G

South Africa’s Vodacom announces being the first operator to switched on Africa’s first live 5G mobile network in three cities – Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.

Vodacom announced in 2018 that it had begun modernising its network to prepare for the deployment of standard-based 5G technology in South Africa, subject to the allocation of spectrum.

5G was designed to meet the growing data and connectivity requirements of modern society, as the amount of data traffic is expected to continue growing at exponential rates.

The Vodafone-owned company said on Monday that the 5G network will support both mobile and fixed wireless services and is currently available on twenty-live 5G sites, 18 of which are in Gauteng and 2 in Cape Town.

With immediate effect, Vodacom customers with 5G enabled devices, and within a 5G coverage area, are now able to access one of the fastest and most sophisticated network connections in Africa.

Vodacom was recently assigned temporary spectrum by ICASA for the duration of the national state of disaster, including 1 x 50 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band, which has been used to fast-track our 5G launch.

It also makes Vodacom the first operator to activate temporary spectrum in South Africa.

Vodacom and Liquid Telecom also concluded managed network services and national roaming agreements for a national 5G network in December 2019.

As a more efficient technology than its predecessors (such as 3G and 4G), the deployment of 5G will help Vodacom manage the 40% increase in mobile network traffic and the 250% increase in fixed traffic experienced during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Vodacom’s 5G launch in South Africa comes at an important time as it will help us improve our network efficiency during the COVID-19 national state of disaster,” Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO, says.

“During this difficult and unprecedented period, we are proud to offer world-class network technology to South Africa, and all of its associated benefits, as we provide an essential service to keep the country connected.

Shameel Joosub, VODACOM ceo.
Shameel Joosub, VODACOM ceo. Image source. Vodacom Twitter

“This is largely due to the allocation of temporary spectrum by ICASA which has already mitigated the network congestion we have experienced since the start of the lockdown period.”

Vodacom is currently offering the following 5G enabled devices, which customers can use to experience the 5G network within the coverage area of the 20 live sites (listed under Notes to Editors):

  • Smartphones: LG V50 5G smartphone
  • Fixed Wireless Access Routers: Huawei 5G CPE PRO

Customers can check if they are in a 5G coverage area on the Vodacom website (https://www.vodacom.co.za/vodacom/services/internet/5g ). They can then either sign up for a new 5G device deal or upgrade online. The new 5G device will be delivered to the customer’s home during the national lockdown period.


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