The 5G network is already live in certain areas of Johannesburg

BARCELONA–South African carrier Rain launched what it claims to be the first commercial 5G network in South Africa in partnership with Chinese vendor Huawei.

The launch was announced during Mobile World Congress 2019, taking place in Barcelona, Spain, this week. For the commercial 5G launch, Huawei provided its end-to-end 5G solutions and Rain used its spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band.

In the first phase of the 5G network deployment, the South African operator deployed a number of 5G sites in key areas in Johannesburg.

“The network will provide fiber-like speeds without the installation complexities, time delays and cost of laying fiber in under-serviced areas,” the carrier’s CEO Willem Roos said.

“Rain is excited to build South Africa’s first large scale 5G network which can provide fast wireless internet to more citizens. We are supportive of President Ramaphosa’s investment drive in the country and hope to contribute to readying South Africa for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Roos added..

According to the deployment plan, Rain will continue to expand the 5G network to cover all the major metropolitan areas in South Africa with 5G networks to provide ultra-broadband services to homes and enterprises.

A number of high-value global telecom markets–the U.S., Japan, Australia and others, have expressed concerns about working with Huawei on 5G given perceived relationships between the company and the Chinese government. Some have even outright banned Huawei from participating in 5G. But these concerns clearly aren’t universal; in addition to its win with Rain, Swiss telecom operator Sunrise is making progress in the deployment of its 5G network, said Sunrise CEO Olaf Swantee.

The 5G network will be launched in March this year, covering more than 150 towns cities and villages across Switzerland.

In December 2017, Sunrise completed new business demonstration based on 5G end-to-end network with Huawei, including virtual reality, panoramic video live broadcast, and 12-channel ultra-high definition video. In the 3.5GHz band, the downlink throughput rate reached 3.28Gbps.

In June 2018, Sunrise completed the first end-to-end 5G standard network deployment, and in November, the telco deployed the standard 5G network in the Swiss ski resort Laax.

Huawei is providing to Sunrise its end-to-end 5G network, including radio access network, transport network and core network.

“With Huawei’s innovative 5G solution and global hands-on 5G deployment experience, we are strongly confident to provide best user experience to our customers and become the number one 5G provider in Switzerland,” Swantee added.


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