According to Schalk Visser, Chief Technology Officer of South Africa’s telco Cell C, the company is planning to deploy 5G in the country.
He also disclosed that the country is in talks with infrastructure partners to roll out its 5G network, although a final date has not yet been revealed.
The announcement comes three months after South Africa’s broadband spectrum auction, which saw Cell C acquiring 10MHz in the 3,500MHz band for over US$18 million.
Telecom operators Vodacom and MTN were the highest bidders at the auction and managed to raise over US$1 billion for the country.
The telecom operator disclosed in October 2021 that it had switched almost 40 per cent of its network to vRAN, which will allow it to perform baseband functions as the software on the hardware of other network operators.
Cell C believes its upgrades will allow 5G to spread out further across the country, drawing in more customers.
This has left Telkom as the only operator in the country without 5G support, although its 5G sites have been deployed with implementation still being tested.
In 2021, the telecom operator overtook Cell C to become South Africa’s third-largest operator; this was due in the main to increasing demand for data packages.
South Africa is Africa’s earliest adopter of the 5G network, but the heavy strain on its networks due to the pandemic has resulted in several delays.