Telkom has deployed 5G sites in selected parts of the country and is now optimizing the user experience ahead of a commercial roll-out.

Telkom will be the fourth mobile operator in South Africa to launch 5G after Rain, Vodacom, and MTN.

Rain launched South Africa’s first commercial 5G network in Johannesburg and Pretoria in September 2019.

Rain expanded its 5G coverage to Cape Town in July 2020 and currently has over 1,000 live 5G sites.

Rain is only offering fixed-broadband products and their 5G network does not currently support mobile services.

Vodacom launched South Africa’s first 5G network which supports both mobile and fixed wireless services in May 2020.

At launch, Vodacom had limited coverage in three cities – Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town – with further rollouts planned for other parts of the country.

MTN followed suit in June 2020 when it launched commercial 5G services in selected neighbourhoods in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, and Port Elizabeth.

MTN used a wide range of spectrum for its 5G rollout, including 3,500MHz at 58 sites, 2,100MHz and 1,800MHz at 35 sites, 700MHz at 5 sites, and 28GHz at 3 sites.

With Cell C out of the race because of its strategy to discontinue its radio access network, Telkom is the only operator without a commercial 5G network. This is set to change.

Telkom has access to valuable 3,500MHz spectrum, which is the ideal spectrum band for 5G. It is now putting this spectrum to use.

Telkom spokesperson Mooketsi Mocumi told MyBroadband they have already deployed 5G sites in selected areas, but these sites are not commercially available yet.

They are currently optimizing these sites, after which they will launch commercial 5G services.

A launch date for Telkom’s 5G service has not been set yet.