Being Africa’s most developed economy, it is not surprising that the fast 5G mobile broadband technology made its debut in South Africa. Not only is it first in Africa, but the spread is growing fast with three 5G networks being active in South Africa as of July 2020.
Launched in the Gauteng province in October 2019, this was the first commercial 5G network in Africa. Its 5G network covers some of the most populated areas of Johannesburg and Tshwane (Pretoria) metropolis respectively. Rain only recently extended its 5G coverage to the city of Cape Town.
Rain makes use of the 3.6 GHz frequency.
As of July 2020, Rain only supports 3 network-locked devices which are:
- Huawei 5G CPE X (outdoor and indoor)
- Huawei 5G CPE (indoor only; no longer on offer)
Rain only offers a fixed wireless 5G solution and does not support 5G smartphones at this time.
Rain’s 5G offer starts from R699 per month on a 2-year contract.
Vodacom South Africa launched its 5G network in May 2020 with very limited coverage Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town – making it the first incumbent cellular network to do so.
Vodacom offers two 5G solutions: mobile and fixed wireless. Vodacom makes use of the 3.5GHz temporary spectrum from ICASA as well as a roaming agreement with Liquid Telecom.
Vodacom supports these 5G Smartphones
- LG Velvet 5G
- LG V50 ThinQ 5G
- Nokia Fastmile 5G Gateway 1 router
- Huawei 5G CPE PRO
Vodacom’s 5G fixed wireless offer starts from R899 per month on a 36-month contract.
MTN’s 5G network was launched to much fun fair in June 2020.
The MTN 5G network makes use of 4 different major frequencies across South African towns and cities:
- 700 MHz – wide coverage for smaller towns
- 2100MHz and 1800MHz – re-farmed 4G spectrum
- 3.5 GHz – this is the sweet spot of speed and coverage
- 28 GHz – fastest network speed for high-density populated areas
MTN offers and supports these 5G smartphones:
- Huawei P40 Pro
- Huawei P40
- LG Velvet 5G
MTN’s fixed 5G solution starts from R499 per month on a 36-month contract.