MTN and Huawei on Tuesday successfully conducted the African continent’s first outdoor 5G field trial in Hatfield, Pretoria.
The demonstration saw MTN use 5G Fixed-Wireless Access on a tower in conjunction with Huawei’s 5G 28GHz mmWave Customer Premises Equipment. An online speed test clocked stable and – very – blistering speeds of 520Mbps on the downlink and 77Mbps on the respectively.
This is about 14 times faster on download than anything currently available.
This isn’t the first 5G test MTN has conducted. Back in January the network operator paired with Ericsson to conduct an indoor test but this took place in a controlled environment. The test today was rather different, since it relied on consumer equipment and far less spectrum.
At the event the organisers showcased the 5G network’s connectivity strength, streaming media and YouTube to 4K TV sets that, on this connection, boasted visuals and sound that were as smooth as butter. There was no frame-tearing or distortion to be seen. Furthermore, attendees could even enjoy a virtual reality display that, once again, was picture perfect.
The test itself, according to MTN, is a slice of things to come. It’s an opportunity for MTN to future-proof its network and prepare it for the arrival of 5G, which is still a way off but is now certainly in the pipeline.
Babak Fouladi, group chief technology and information systems officer at MTN Group said: “We have gleaned invaluable insights about the modifications that we need to do on our core, radio and transmission network from this pilot. It is important to note that the transition to 5G is not just a flick of a switch, but a roadmap that requires technical modifications and network architecture changes to ensure that we meet the standards that this technology requires.
“We are pleased that we are laying the groundwork that will lead to the full realisation of the boundless opportunities that are inherent in the digital world,” he added.