SA leads Africa’s deployment of 5G base stations

SA leads Africa’s deployment of 5G base stations

As the race to rollout 5G gathers pace, Huawei has supported South African mobile operators to build more than 2 800 5G base stations locally.

So said Ryan Ding, global president for Huawei Enterprise Business Group, noting South Africa is spearheading Africa’s 5G race.

Ding was among the speakers at the Huawei Eco-Connect 2022 conference, hosted last week by Huawei SA’s Enterprise Business Group at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Speaking via video from Shenzhen, China, Ding indicated SA is leading in the promotion of advanced technologies such as 5G, cloud and the internet of things. He also noted SA is well-positioned to lead the digital economy on the African continent.

“Huawei continuously supports South Africa to build its 5G networks. So far, over 2 800 base stations have been deployed, making it the largest 5G network on the African continent.”

US-based broadband testing diagnostics company Ookla recently revealed SA has taken the driver’s seat in Africa’s 5G race. It further stated the country’s economic hub Johannesburg has the fastest median download speed among select cities on the continent.

Mobile telephony groups such as MTN, Rain and Vodacom have deployed 5G services in SA’s cities, with MTN said to be leading the race in this regard.

Last month, the mobile operator said it’s targeting at least 25% of the country’s population to have 5G coverage by the end of 2022.

In March, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) completed a delayed 5G auction, selling spectrum across 700MHz, 800MHz, 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands.

Rain and Vodacom got new low-band frequency assets in the 700MHz band, while Telkom and MTN gained spectrum in 800MHz.

All bidders received spectrum in mid-bands, which is considered the sweet spot for 5G in terms of speed and availability, according to Ookla.

Data from ICASA’s 2022 State of the ICT Sector Report shows SA’s 5G population coverage grew from 0.7% in 2020, to 7.5% in 2021, indicating an uptick of the fifth-generation technology in the country.

Ryan Ding, global president for Huawei Enterprise Business Group.
Ryan Ding, global president for Huawei Enterprise Business Group.

According to Ding, the global economy and society are recovering, and digital transformation of industry has become a new engine for economic development.

As part of their strategy to fight the effects of the global pandemic, many countries have accelerated their digital transformation and advanced the digital economy, increasing social resilience and promoting economic recovery.

Ding pointed out that, by the end of 2022, the digital economy will account for over 50% of the global GDP.

“By 2025, there will be 40 billion personal smart devices and 100 billion connections worldwide. This signals an incredible number of digital opportunities, which will grow the digital economy to over $27 trillion.

“Huawei will continue to focus on ICT and technology innovation, thus enabling digital transformation in various industries,” he concluded. 

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