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Vodacom Group today announced that it has created Africa's first standards-based, commercial 5G service in Lesotho using 3.5GHz spectrum to initially deliver Fixed-Wireless Access broadband services to two enterprise customers in Lesotho.
Vodacom Group also announced that, in another first, it has deployed the same standards-based 5G technology in South Africa, with speeds in excess of 700 Mbps and latencies of less than 10 milliseconds. This will exceed 1Gbps as new software versions and devices become available.
Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group Chief Executive Officer, says: "Vodacom prides itself on being a market leader and we are extremely pleased to be first to deliver 5G services to customers in Africa. What we've accomplished in Lesotho is an example of what can be achieved in Africa, should the requisite spectrum also be made available.
It will be able to make 5G services available to its customers in South Africa once requisite spectrum is assigned, the company said.
The 3.5GHz spectrum band is considered optimal for 5G network deployments due to its suitability for throughput and capacity and it is not dependent on the digital migration in South Africa.
In addition, the 3.5GHz band has adequate indoor penetration characteristics and will lend itself in future to the facilitation of a broad range of consumer and business applications such as smart factories, augmented reality and autonomous vehicles.
Vodacom has deployed advanced 5G Active Antennae - also known as Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) - to provide improved spectral efficiency and coverage, enabling increased network capacity.