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Cell C prepares 5G launch in South Africa

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South African telco Cell C is planning to deploy 5G in the country imminently, its chief technology officer Schalk Visser revealed to local press.

The company is currently in talks with infrastructure partners roll out its 5G network, although a final date has not yet been disclosed.

Its announcement comes three months after South Africa’s long-awaited broadband spectrum auction where Cell C acquired 10MHz in the 3,500MHz band for US$18 million.

Vodacom and MTN were the highest bidders at the auction which raised around US$1 billion for the country.

In October 2021, the telco revealed it had switched nearly 40% of its network to vRAN, allowing it to perform baseband functions as software on the hardware of other network operators

The telco believes that its upgrades will allow 5G to be spread out further across the country, bringing in more customers.

This leaves Telkom as the only operator without 5G support, but its 5G sites have been deployed with implementation still being trialled.

Last year, Telkom overtook Cell C to become South Africa’s third largest mobile operator, thanks in large part, to increasing demand for data packages.

South Africa is the continent’s earliest adopter of 5G, but the heavy strain on its networks caused by the pandemic has resulted in several delays.

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