5G has only been a reserve for developed nations for some time now.
Even where operators have launched the service commercially, 5G is yet to gain traction thanks to very many reasons.
For instance, and at the moment, 5G networks primarily transmit data through low-band, mid-band, and high-band radio waves.
Millimeter waves, also known as high-band waves, have high transmission speeds and the largest bandwidth, but their coverage is small.
Low-frequency waves have extended coverage, but they have the slowest transmission speeds. Mid-band waves fall in between. On the whole, it means that 5G has limited bands.
There has also been an issue with equipment.
Specifically, moving from 4G to 5G is a complex exercise. 5G networks need to transmit data at a higher frequency, hence, upgrading 5G networks requires different technologies and equipment.
Installing that equipment requires finding the best location for transmission. The whole process is a technical challenge.
Kenya has been testing 5G for more than one year now. The exercise is led by Safaricom, which is the only operator that can actually afford to do so. Commercial launch is expected to go live sometime this year, but there are a couple of 5G towers around Nairobi and other parts of the country.
MTN has started piloting 5G services in Zambia in partnership with Chinese tech corporation Huawei.
This means that MTN is the first mobile service provider to launch the service in the southern African region.
“I think what you (Huawei) are bringing to the table is creating endless possibilities and endless opportunities. What you also bring to the table is that the future is actually here. What you bring to the table is the opportunity to connect everyone and everything and for that, I say thank you very much,” says Zambia’s Minister of Science and Technology Felix Mutati.
“We can bring more opportunities here and cooperate more with MTN Zambia to bring the latest technology to the people of Zambia,” says Phil Li, Huawei’s Vice President for Southern Africa Region.
Huawei has previously worked with MTN Zambia. The companies launched 4G in the country back in 2013. They also upgraded the service to 4.5G in 2016.