5G – the fifth-generation wireless network – is about astounding speeds and almost zero latency – the lag time between when your phone pings the network and when it responds.
After years of anticipation and a considerable amount of hype, 5G is finally in South Africa.
With 5G you can download movies in seconds and YouTube clips instantly plus experience lag-free real-time gaming.
MTN recently launched its 5G network with 100 sites in Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.
The launch was made possible, in part, by the recent allocation of temporary spectrum by the country’s communications regulatory body, ICASA.
In Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein, MTN delivers 5G connectivity using 3.5 GHz at 58 sites.
This is the ideal spectrum band for 5G, known as the “Golden Band” which offers a truly world-class 5G experience with both faster speeds and low latencies.
MTN SA CEO Godfrey Motsa said the 5G network rollout will be ramped up to more sites once the government allocates permanent spectrum through the planned auction later this year.
“The biggest telecommunication opportunities for the masses of South Africans, are for operators to deliver ultra-fast broadband to townships that continue to be significantly underserved by fixed-line fibre services,” Motsa explained.
“If the spectrum is made available, the coverage is a given and the affordability can be achieved. Although we are starting relatively small our growth plans for our 5G ecosystem are huge.”
We had an extensive first-hand taste of 5G on MTN’s network.
Two weeks ago, MTN delivered a Huawei P40, which is a 5G phone to test its network.
MTN offers 5G home-connected plug and play solution that connects to Wi-Fi enabled devices offering average speeds of 100Mbps and peak speeds of 500Mbps.
We tested MTN’s 5G on mobile offering speeds of 50Mbps and peak speeds of 500Mbps.
Yesterday, at KFC near 14th Avenue Shopping Centre in Constantia Kloof we downloaded the Ookla app on the Huawei P40 and were ready for the test.
Before doing the speed test, my son said let us try to download the Fortnite game from Huawei App Gallery over MTN’s 5G network.
“Wow daddy, that’s awesome and it only took a few seconds. 5G is the future and faster than our fibre at home,” my son said, adding “let me play the game and see if it’s lagging like in my Samsung Galaxy S8”.
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After a few minutes, he exclaimed: “5G is better and it is so cool. I can sit here the whole day playing Fortnite.”
A thought struck me about downloading a series.
“Can you please download the Netflix app?” I asked.
The download was so quick.
I decided to download the Ozark series. To my surprise, an almost 10-hour series was downloaded in just 41.3 seconds.
MTN is taking speed to the next level.
I then quickly did a speed test.
All tests were conducted from inside a stationary vehicle and the Ookla software was left to determine the best server to connect to.
We conducted several 5G speed tests around Constantia Kloof.
We achieved our best download speed outside MTN’s headquarters at 14th Avenue, giving us 684Mbps.
The second-best speed was 452Mbps under the N1 bridge on 14th avenue while going to the Life Flora Hospital gave us speeds of 451Mbps.
All in all the speeds were awe-inspiring.
We hope MTN will sustain these speeds when more subscribers have access to 5G devices. When more users sign up the cost of the 5G service will be less expensive.