MTN is building private 5G networks for 14 mining and port companies in South Africa. reports the Sunday Times.
These networks will provide companies with guaranteed coverage and capacity for their operations.
MTN South Africa CEO Charles Molapisi said private networks are an “exciting” area for the operator.
“We are way ahead of many in terms of private networks on the 5G side. We see a huge growth area in that,” said Molapisi.
In addition to providing data and voice services, Molapisi said the networks would support cloud computing, better cybersecurity and unified communications.
“Connectivity comes first; then we bet [on] layers of other services. Every form of communication is used. Globally, companies are moving aggressively in this direction,” Molapisi explained.
The high capacity and low latency of 5G has long been leveraged for use in Internet of Things (IoT) applications in smart mines and factories.
A specific use case is the accurate and safe remote control of excavator vehicles in mines in areas that are too dangerous for humans.
5G has also been used to support connectivity in ports worldwide.
These facilities leverage automation, machine learning, big data, augmented reality, and IoT to improve efficiency and reduce operational costs.
Given Transnet’s history of problems and delivery delays in Port Operations, such solutions could quickly lead to real benefits for the South African economy.
Ericsson – a major player in 5G technology – said recently Its customers in the ports of Livorno and Rotterdam have reported that optimizing ship berthing with IoT resulted in an average cost reduction of 20% per year, equivalent to around 2.5 million euros.
The company also supplies network equipment to South African telecom operators. It is claimed that 5G holds great potential for local manufacturing, mining and shipping industries.
“With manufacturing accounting for nearly 12% of South Africa’s GDP, there is a solid case for the value of innovation,” said Ericsson.
MTN’s public 5G network in South Africa has also seen impressive growth since it was first rolled out in June 2020.
After his current interim resultsthe operator added 443 5G sites across South Africa by the end of June 2022, increasing its total presence to 1,391 sites.
With this launch, it covered 20% of the country’s population, a significant milestone given the goal of covering 25% of people with MTN 5G by the end of 2022.
As well as providing mobile 5G connectivity, it offers a range of unlimited and high-capacity fixed-line 5G plans for less than R1,000 per month.
The company has attributed much of the progress to the additional capacity it has acquired in the 3,500MHz band during Icasa’s busy spectrum auction in March 2022.
It is planned to acquire additional frequencies during the second phase of the Icasa auction, which is expected to take place after the completion of the transition to digital television.
There are now at least 38 towns and cities where MTN has 5G available. These locations are listed in the table below.
|Cities and metropolitan areas with MTN 5G coverage|
|City of Johannesburg
City of Cape Town
City of Tshwane
Nelson Mandela Bay
City of Mbombela
|King Sabata Dalindyebo
City of Matlosana
City of Mogale