Africa news

Published: May 15, 2020

Preparing for 5G in Africa

Mass adoption of 5G in Africa is still a few years away, with very limited commercial deployment to date. Stakeholders are, however, already starting to think about how it might be rolled out, and how they might finance the infrastructure.

In August 2018, MTN Nigeria signed a N200bn (US$554mn) loan with seven local banks. It was rumoured that the telecoms operator would use some of the funds to conduct a 5G network test in Nigeria, following on from a previous demo in South Africa. 

In November 2019, those rumours became a reality. Together with the technology provider Ericsson, MTN commenced a 5G network trial in Abuja and geared up for trials in Calabar and Lagos. The test used Ericsson 5G-enabled devices, and the 5G spectrum set aside by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). 

The company’s stated plan had always been to roll out 5G commercially by 2020. “5G will make our life better, drive incremental capacity and open up new businesses,” said Ferdi Moolman, CEO of MTN Nigeria. “MTN as a company is constantly making efforts to break barriers by democratising voice and data connectivity in order to improve subscriber experience, and has invested over N800bn in infrastructure in Nigeria.”

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