In South Africa, Telkom has launched its 5G network, which the operator says will soon introduce fixed wireless access services and has started testing mobile 5G on its network.

Speaking about the launch, Telkom consumer business CEO Lunga Siyo said Telkom has quietly been laying the groundwork to launch 5G, including expanding its fibre backhaul.

“We will launch the most 5G-ready network in the country,” Siyo said. According to Siyo, the measure of success for its 5G network is “where it can make the most impact.”

The operator has been testing its 5G network since February 2021 using closed-access sites in selected parts of the country.

In August 2021, Telkom said it would increase the number of test sites from 10 to 60 by August 2022. Siyo said they now have 123 active 5G sites — double what Telkom had hoped to have online by August.

“With the largest fibre network in the country and recent allocation of spectrum, we are well-positioned to become an enabler of a connected society so that all South Africans can be a part of the digital ecosystem,” stated Siyo.

Telkom’s wholesale and networks division Openserve has over 160,000 kilometres of fibre in South Africa.

Earlier this year, the company acquired 42MHz spectrum during industry regulator Icasa’s spectrum auction — 20MHz in the 800MHz band and 22MHz in the 3500MHz band.

This brought Telkom’s total spectrum holdings from 169MHz to 211MHz.

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