The South African telco said the 5G trial, which took place in Pretoria, used Huawei’s 5G CPE
South African telecommunications group MTN and Chinese vendor Huawei have announced what they claim to be the first live outdoor 5G trial in the African continent with an end-to-end Huawei 5G solution.
The field trial demonstrated a 5G fixed-wireless access use case with Huawei’s 5G 28 GHz mmWave Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in a real-world environment at The Fields shopping centre in Hatfield, Pretoria.
MTN said the 5G trial reached downlink speeds of 520 Mbps and uplink speeds of 77 Mbps.
“These 5G trials provide us with an opportunity to future proof our network and prepare it for the evolution of these new generation networks. We have gleaned invaluable insights about the modifications that we need to do on our core, radio and transmission network from these pilots,” said MTN’s CTIO Babak Fouladi.
The trial was based on the commercial 5G core network solution released by Huawei at the Mobile World Congress 2018, which took place in Barcelona earlier this year. Huawei’s 5G CPE uses its self-developed Balong 5G01 chipset with downlink speeds of up to 2.3 Gbps. It supports 5G across all frequency bands including sub-6GHz and millimeter wave.
“We are heavily investing in 2G, 3G, 4G, that is our primary focus from a volume perspective. But as you know in order to be ready for the next generation we need to start preparation work a few years in advance, so we think that now is the right time to start this preparation, to better understand how the new technology in 5G can be applicable,” said Giovanni Chiarelli, MTN South Africa CTIO.
“Next-generation services such as virtual and augmented reality, ultra-high definition video streaming, and cloud gaming require massive capacity and higher user data rates. The use of mmWave spectrum bands is one of the key 5G enabling technologies to deliver the required capacity and massive data rates required for 5G’s enhanced mobile broadband use cases,” Chiarelli added.
In January this year MTN had carried out an indoor 5G trial at its headquarters in Johannesburg in partnership with Swedish vendor Ericsson. MTN said the 5G trial has achieved download speeds of more than 20 Gbps with latency of just 5 milliseconds. MTN had received a temporary license for 800 megahertz of spectrum in the 15G Hz band to conduct its 5G trial.
In November 2017, Ericsson and MTN had signed an agreement under which the two firms committed to trial 5G applications and use cases in South Africa.
The two companies also committed to identify 5G use cases and applications for the digital transformation of industrial verticals such as mining, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and utilities.
MTN assesses impact of U.S ban on ZTE
In related news, MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter said the company was evaluating the impact of a ban recently imposed by the U.S government to Chinese vendor ZTE. The U.S denial order bans American firms from exporting components and services to ZTE.
“Following the recent denial order issued by the US Department of Commerce, we are assessing both the impact and contingency planning given our exposure to ZTE in our networks,” South African news site MyBroadband quoted Shuter as saying.
“Networks that use ZTE equipment include South Africa, Nigeria, and Uganda,” he added.