5G in Africa is still a work in progress in a few different countries of the Continent, other Countries in Europe and Asia.

5G network is a wireless connectivity network that was stationed in 2019. It is the fifth generation of technology standard for broadband cellular networks.

5G network has greater bandwidth as all devices in a cell are connected to the internet by radio waves via a local antenna. It is about ten times faster than 4G as it is enough spectrum. It operates at an average speed of 150-200 Mbps; it can reach above a peak of 1gbps.

One of the advantages of the 5G network is that it connects to the internet at a very high speed true highest speed and antenna within their location. The network range depends on lots of things but most especially on the frequency being used.

5G operates on the loco, medium and high-frequency bands, and it has different type of cells such as a femtocell, Pico cell, microcell and lots more.

  • Femto Cell can be used in homes business with48 uses for homes and 16 to 32 uses for businesses with a tense metre distance from the base station.
  • Pico Cell is usable in public areas like shopping malls airport train with a maximum of 64-128 users. It has an output power capacity of 100-250mW for indoors and 1000 to 5000 for outdoors.
  • MicroCell is suitable for urban areas, and it has maximum use of 128 to 256 users and is best suitable for outdoor as it has 5000-10000mW power output.

Having said all that, the question of 5G, which has been seen as a network that could drive growth and development in Africa, has poised itself in the mind of Africans and has aroused curiosity and doubts.

5G in Africa
Jack Sloop under unsplash free licence

Is there 5G in Africa?

No doubt, Africa has been viewed as a developing continent that has made people question the possible existence of 5G in Africa.

The fifth-generation technology popularly called the 5G network is undoubtedly in Africa, with Kenya being the second country to adopt the network and roll it out for mass consumption after South Africa.

Currently, about 18 countries are testing and evaluating the 5G network in Africa with 24 operators. According to 2 Global Mobile Supp Association (GSA) countries, only two have successfully rolled out the 5G network in Africa.

However, there is room for continuous growth and development as sub-Saharan Africa is expected to account for at least 475 million people using mobile internet and add 130 million new subscribers by 2025.

Having discovered that Africa has two countries that are successfully rolled out the 5G network, including South Africa, it is therefore imperative to know why South Africa was so fast in adopting this invention.

Why is 5G in South Africa?

South Africa has been rated as one of the early adopters of the 5G network in Africa. The South African network provider MTN launched its 5G network in July 2020. They are covering Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.

It was made possible and easier due to South Africa’s decision to award a temporary spectrum of 5G.

MTN also made it known that they have been carrying out a series of tests and checking out the potential of 5G before it was finally launched in South Africa to estimate that it will cover 10 million within 12 months.

A rival operator Vodacom is currently using Nordic vendor Nokia equipment to deploy its 5G network. Its first African Live 5G mobile network has claimed, and it was initially available in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.

It recently announced its deal with liquid Telecom to use its 5G network and said that the deployment would help Vodacom manage a 40% increase in mobile network traffic.

On the other hand, MTN has aired 5G tests in the last two years with telecoms equipment makers, including Sweden’s Ericsson and China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, MTN South Africa’s CEO, among others.

Going to the huge competition among the service operator in South Africa has propelled the quick adoption of the 5G network in South Africa and its rapid advancements living South Africans with a choice of two networks. The acceptability of the network by the government of South Africa can also be seen as a great determinant and a reason why the South Africans have widely accepted the 5G network.

Countries with 5G Network in Africa

Kenya and South Africa has been the only country to roll out 5G network for commercial use in Africa with Kenya being the second country in the continents.

Kenya has reportedly rolled out the technology in four towns with the expectation of expanding it to a total of nine towns before next year using the Finnish company Nokia and the Chinese company Huawei.

On the other hand, MTN and vodacom in South Africa has also rolled out 5G network for public use. Several countries in Africa are also testing the 5G network and they include Uganda,Nigeria, Lesotho and others.

The adoption of 5G network in Africa is no doubt generally slow and has been attributed to factors like financial constrain. The functionality of 5G network depends on several testing and trials which can best be utilised with good facilities and equipment. The government might be reluctant to pump which amount of money into the testing of the network.

Also, unavailability of regulations as well as rules could also be seen as one of the reason why most African government has not allowed the commercialisation of the 5G network which is prone to abuse.

However, 5G in Africa as promised lots of advantages and values to the continent.