There has been huge buzz surrounding the launch of the fifth generation of wireless tech for digital cellular networks in South Africa, but mobile networks’ efforts to start offering the latest in speed to their customers have been hampered by delays in awarding spectrum for the provision of 5G technology.

Now, Vodacom, South Africa’s largest mobile service provider announced that it is looking to launch commercial 5G services this year, thanks to a new roaming agreement with Liquid Telecom.

In a statement, Vodacom group CEO Shameel Joosub said that customers would have access to next-generation 5G services in 2020.

“Having been the first network to commercially launch 5G in Africa through Vodacom Lesotho, we expect to be able to launch 5G services in South Africa this year. This is possible thanks to a recent roaming agreement with Liquid Telecom, as 5G spectrum is largely unassigned in South Africa,” Joosub said.

This comes after Liquid Telecom announced that the company was building a wholsale 5G network in South Africa, which mobile service providers could use to offer 5G technology to its customers. Liquid Telecom will also use its own share of the 3.5 GHz spectrum, with other operators having open access to the network, too.

Faster and better than ever before

5G offers users unmatched connectivity speeds (up to 1GB per second), making it ideal for integration with the Internet of Things (IoT).

In a statement last year, Vodacom said that 5G’s speed isn’t the only reason to get excited.

“The most significant immediate benefits of 5G technology include the quicker deployment of broadband services with fibre-like speeds, low latency to facilitate machine to machine connectivity, and the ability to simultaneously connect a large number of devices,” said a spokesperson for Vodacom.

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