Vodacom has switched on its 5G mobile network in three cities of South Africa after getting a temporary spectrum by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa).
The cities that will benefit from the network include Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town.
The Vodacom 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.
Chief Executive Shameel Joosub said, “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.”
“This is largely due to the allocation of temporary spectrum by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) which has already mitigated the network congestion we have experienced since the start of the lockdown period.”
5G improves significantly on 4G in three key areas:
1. Faster speeds
In comparison to 4G, peak speeds on 5G will increase significantly. 5G will enable fibre-like speeds using the mobile network. This will be extremely useful to download media content like 4K and even 8K movies in seconds.
The higher speeds from 5G will also enable entirely new applications in future like augmented and Virtual Reality (VR) which will be helpful to realise new applications such as e-education and also new forms of entertainment like watching a sports game or music concert live in VR from home.
2. Lower latency & better reliability
Latency is the time it takes for devices to send and receive signals between each other. Latency is very important for applications which require near real time responses, for example, between the user device and a cloud server used in gaming.
In comparison to 4G, where latencies are typically between 20-30 milliseconds, 5G can support latencies as low as 1 millisecond.
3. More capacity
5G networks can also provide much more capacity for data. 5G uses spectrum in a much more efficient manner than 4G technology and is able to fit more data into the same amount of spectrum.
5G devices can connect many more “things” to the network at the same time, enabling the realisation of new applications such as smart homes and smart cities. 5G is also more efficient than 4G in terms of the energy required per bit of data which is transmitted or received.