Vodacom claims record 5G speeds in South Africa

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Vodacom says it achieved 5G transfer speeds of 2.4 Gbps in recent trials

Vodacom, which operates in several African countries, claims it has achieved a blazingly fast transfer speed of 2.4 Gbps on its 5G network in recent tests. This represents a nearly two-and-a-half times increase compared to the fastest fiber-to-the-home connections in the region, which can hit 1 Gbps.

“This achievement demonstrates Vodacom’s continued innovation as a 5G technology leader and a Network of Firsts, showcasing how fifth-generation mobile technology can unlock incredible fibre-like experiences for users on the go, or where fibre installations aren’t feasible,” said Beverly Ngwenya, Vodacom South Africa technology director.

Vodacom is indeed a network of firsts in many instanaces, as Ngwenya stated; the carrier was the first telecom in Africa to launch 2G, 3G and 4G. However, it was second to launch 5G in Africa, coming in behind Rain, which launched 5G in September of 2019.

For the recent trial, Vodacom used a commercially available smartphone and base stations and the spectrum it secured in the March auction, where it paid R5.4-billion for 2×10 megahertz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, 1×80 megahertz in the 2.6 GHz band and 1×10 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band.

Following the auction, Vodacom Group’s CEO Shameel Joosub commented that the carrier was “pleased with the outcome,” despite high prices. “Once the auction process is fully concluded, Vodacom’s immediate focus will be on the deployment of valuable spectrum to extend both 4G and 5G network coverage to more parts of the country,” he added.

“This is a preview of how Vodacom’s recently acquired spectrum will enable true 5G capabilities and raise the bar on network performance,” said Ngwenya of the most recent news.

The other South African telcos, MTN South Africa, Telkom and Rain, also purchased spectrum assets in the auction, which supported the expansion of their 5G services.