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MTN and Huawei conduct Africa's first 5G field trial

MTN and Huawei conduct Africa's first 5G field trial

MTN and Huawei have launched Africa's first 5G field trial in Pretoria today in a demonstration that achieved speeds of 520Mbps downlink and 77Mbps uplink.

Babak Fouladi, Group Chief Technology & Information Systems Officer, at MTN Group says this latest 5G trial and others provide an opportunity for future proofing networks and preparing for the evolution of new generation networks.

"We have gleaned invaluable insights about the modifications that we need to do on our core, radio and transmission network from these pilots. It is important to note that the transition to 5G is not just a flick of a switch, but it's a roadmap that requires technical modifications and network architecture changes to ensure that we meet the standards that this technology requires. We are pleased that we are laying the groundwork that will lead to the full realisation of the boundless opportunities that are inherent in the digital world."

Giovanni Chiarelli, Chief Technology and Information Officer for MTN SA told attendees during the trial that next generation services such as virtual and augmented reality, ultra-high definition video streaming, and cloud gaming require massive capacity and higher user data rates.

"The use of millimeter-wave spectrum bands is one of the key 5G enabling technologies to deliver the required capacity and massive data rates required for 5G's Enhanced Mobile Broadband use cases. MTN and Huawei's joint field trial of the first 5G mmWave Fixed-Wireless Access solution in Africa will also pave the way for a fixed-wireless access solution that is capable of replacing conventional fixed access technologies, such as fibre."

Edward Deng, President of Wireless Network Product Line at Huawei says the company continuing to invest heavily in innovative 5G technologies.

"5G mmWave technology can achieve unprecedented fiber-like speed for mobile broadband access. This trial has shown the capabilities of 5G technology to deliver exceptional user experience for Enhanced Mobile Broadband applications. With customer-centric innovation in mind, Huawei will continue to partner with MTN to deliver best-in-class advanced wireless solutions."

MTN and Huawei anticipate that the first practical uses of 5G technology in Africa will begin only after ITU regulations are in place starting from 2020 onwards.

Another first

The 5G trial comes days after Huawei collaborated with Tunisie Telecom in a 4.5G demonstration in Tunis where they achieved a bandwidth of 706.14 Mbps in a live network and in real conditions rather than in a laboratory with the use of a consumer commercial smartphone.

Huawei and Tunisie Telecom say the 4.5G test is a first for Tunisia and made use of state-of-the-art features such as aggregation, MIMO as well as advanced optimisation actions that made it possible to adapt this solution to the live network.

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