MTN switches on its fast-paced 5G network on June 30, the carrier confirmed.
This comes almost two months after Vodacom launched its 5G network at 20 locations in three cities – Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town – on May 4.
Rain, South Africa’s latest cellphone service provider, has been offering 5G connections since last year. However, Rain is exclusively a data network and no voice calls can be made over its network.
With 5G, MTN subscribers will be able to access fast mobile internet, and still be able to make calls and send SMS messages as normal.
However, only a handful of smartphones can already connect to a 5G network, including the new Huawei P40 series.
The LG V50 is also capable of connecting to a 5G network.
So even if you live in an area with 5G coverage, but you do not have a smartphone that is 5G-enabled, you will not be able to connect to this new network.
Service providers, including Vodacom and MTN, have been preparing for the arrival of 5G, the official successor of the so-called 4G technology, for many years.
However, a shortage of the necessary high-frequency spectrum has delayed the process. Earlier this year, the Independent Communications Authority made available additional spectrum for the disaster.
MTN and Vodacom have acquired this temporary frequencies and can now switch on their 5G networks.
However, service providers will have to “return” this additional spectrum at the end of November after which it will be auctioned off.
MTN initially planned to turn on its 5G network in early June, but there was a delay in providing the necessary equipment.
Meanwhile, MTN has also announced that it now has more than 100 million active data users on all its networks around the world.
MTN does business across Africa and the Middle East.
The company has a total of 257 million subscribers, of which about 30 million are in South Africa.
Not all of its subscribers are connected to the Internet, as access to smartphones with Internet access in some areas is still unaffordable to many.
What do you need to do to get 5G?
MTN has not yet announced exactly where it will activate its 5G network, but if you are in the coverage area and have a 5G device, you can immediately access the 5G network.
MTN is expected to provide more details on which areas are covered on June 30 – the day it turns on its 5G network.
Separate 5G data bundles must also be purchased.
At Vodacom, a 5G data bundle with five gigabytes of data costs R292.
This data can also be used on a 4G network if you move outside the 5G catchment area.