MTN South Africa and Ericsson have tested the technological excellence of fifth generation (5G) wireless technology in the first demonstration of its kind in Africa, Ericsson has announced.

This demonstration displayed a live feed from a car on a skid pan at the Gerotek testing facility in Pretoria, mounting terminals in a vehicle on a live 5G network trial. Using 100MHz of spectrum in the 28GHz band, the audience was able to view the driver’s surroundings whilst moving around the track allowing them to experience what the driver was seeing, in real time.

The demonstration was then taken further by fully obscuring the driver’s windscreen, leaving him to navigate the track using the live feed from a 4K video camera to his VR headset. This was possible due to a throughput of more than 1.6Gbps and less than ~5ms latency on the connection – a record of mobile 5G performance on the continent.

The solution demonstrated consisted of 3 radio units, baseband equipment, a 5G user equipment (UE) prototype with an external antenna, a vehicle with the UE installed, a 4K video camera and a VR Headset, demonstrating the performance of a low-latency network.

This is just one of the use cases that the partnership has released following the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in November last year. This was followed by the launch of the first 5G trial in Africa in January 2018.

Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Market Area Middle East & Africa, Ericsson said: “5G presents an opportunity for operators to improve their existing consumer businesses and address previously untapped value chains in the digitalisation of industries. The collaboration between MTN South Africa and Ericsson has led to an exploration of a variety of use cases and applications for digital transformation of industries. These include the automotive, mining, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and utilities sectors. We are proud to be demonstrating this use case with MTN.”

On his part, Wanda Matandela, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, MTN SA said: “At MTN Business, we are very excited to have demonstrated our IoT (Internet of Things) capabilities, enabled by 5G technology, to our top tier customers today. Using pilots like this, we are not only assessing and preparing our network to roll out 5G in the future, but we are also future-proofing our infrastructure to enrich customer experience and take industries to the next level.”

“There are great opportunities for both the private and public sectors to join us as we forge ahead, harnessing the power of technology to unlock applications that can optimise enterprise efficiency and improve the delivery of services. This demonstration supports our vision of leading the delivery of a bold, new digital world for our enterprise customers,” concludes Matandela.

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