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Huawei’s 5G equipment delivers mighty speeds for MTN in Johannesburg

MTN this week successfully launched its superfast 5G next-generation mobile network across South Africa’s major cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.

During a YouTube livestream media launch, speed tests were performed at various locations in Johannesburg showing download speeds in excess of 600Mbps, with latencies averaging 15ms demonstrated.

Third-party tests reported download speeds peaking in excess of 700Mbps and upload speeds peaking at 100Mbps.


Huawei’s DSS (dynamic spectrum sharing) technology enables operators to quickly provide 5G services by upgrading existing 4G base stations to 5G without changing antennas and radio units.

“MTN is the first in Africa to deploy the DSS technology on a 5G live network, which can dynamically adjust the spectrum in milliseconds based on 4G and 5G service requirements, maximising spectrum utilisation”, says Huawei CEO Spawn Fan.

MTN’s 5G deployment in Johannesburg uses industry-leading Huawei Massive multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO). This technology guarantees the user experience for services that require high bandwidths such as 4K video, multi-angle video, and AR/VR services, and provide broadband services for families and SMEs.

To enable wider 5G coverage, MTN uses dynamic spectrum sharing between 4G and 5G in the 2.1 GHz band. The 2.1 GHz spectrum can provide wider coverage due to its lower frequency spectrum characteristics.

The millimetre-wave band has abundant spectrum resources and can provide a huge capacity to provide services for hotspots and home broadband. MTN uses 100 MHz millimetre wave spectrum resources to provide broadband resources for Enterprises and SMEs, which can enjoy high-speed internet services and enter the digital age without requiring a fiber connection.

“This is expected to greatly support people working remotely during this era of social distancing caused by the Covid 19 pandemic and will boost South Africa’s transition to a digital economy. We congratulate MTN on the successful upgrade of its network that enabled their transition to the 5G era,” says Fan.

Giovanni Chiarelli, CTIO of MTN South Africa, said: “The 5G technology is also expected to contribute significantly to the country’s economy and will play a role in the realisation of South Africa’s digital transformation goals. An excellent 5G network will enable us to provide more exciting services and to offer the ultimate service experience to MTN customers.”

Governments and media globally are stepping up to debunk the conspiracy linking 5G mobile technology to coronavirus, which led to some 5G masts being set on fire in Britain.

NHS England’s national medical director, Stephen Powis said the 5G conspiracy idea was fake news with no scientific backing that risked damaging the emergency response to the outbreak.

“The 5G story is complete and utter rubbish, it’s nonsense, it’s the worst kind of fake news,” Powis said. “The reality is that mobile phone networks are absolutely critical to all of us.”

Fifth Generation (5G) spectrum is largely unassigned in South Africa. The regulator, ICASA, said it would auction additional spectrum, including the highly sought after 5G spectrum, by the end of the year.

The government expects to conclude the release of the new broadband spectrum by the first quarter of 2021. The government was heavily criticised last year for its failure to act swiftly on spectrum, which has left South Africans footing hefty data bills for mobile data and cellphone operators out of the 5G race.

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