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27 July 2020

Rain claims African first for Standalone 5G

South African operator Rain has claimed its latest mobile service, now available in Cape Town, is the first working 5G Standalone (SA) deployment in the continent. Deployed in partnership with Huawei, the network will allow the operator to enhance its existing fixed wireless broadband (FWA) service in the area. Rain already offers a fixed 5G service in parts of Johannesburg and Tshwane, while in May 2020.

Vodacom launched 5G services in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, but so far using only Non-Standalone equipment.

South Africa’s regulator, Icasa, will shortly offer spectrum in five bands to support 5G services, which have been relying on temporary licences, awarded in April.

Then, Icasa awarded temporary spectrum to MTN, Vodacom and Telkom for 5G services. In addition, new mobile broadband operator Rain got 20 MHz in the 2.6 GHz band, and Liquid Telecom got 4 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band, in addition to the 56 MHz the company already had in this band.