Telkom, in partnership with Huawei, has launched its commercial 5G network, the fourth in the country to do so behind Vodacom, MTN, and Rain. The big difference? Telkom has yet to launch its 5G services on mobile. It will focus its network on providing fixed wireless internet for now.
Playing catch up
Telkom’s goal is to provide “super-fast fixed-wireless access solutions” first, before eventually integrating “suitable mobile propositions” according to Telkom Consumer and Business CEO Lunga Siyo.
At launch, Telkom has 123 5G base stations in operation, spread across Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Kwa-Zulu Natal. Telkom hopes to dispel beliefs that it is a ‘metro-only network’ by bringing the network out nationally, small towns included.
“The intention is to build the 5G network where it’s needed by our customers,” it said.
The network was officially launched at the DP World Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg earlier today. The stadium is the first in Africa to be powered by 5G, showing off connected features like cashless ticket purchases, in-seat food orders, and ‘more’. These are coming to the stadium in the coming months, as soon as fans are allowed back in.
Before closing its announcement, Telkom gave the crowd a taste of its 5G connection speeds. Tested on the Ookla Speedtest app, in a matter of seconds we were seeing speeds of 1.3GBps, and a second test hit speeds of just over 1.2GBps. Whether these speeds will stick around once a few more customers are on the network, we’ll see.
We don’t know much more about how customers can get in on Telkom’s 5G network just yet. We’re sure it won’t be long before we do, however. Keep an eye on Stuff for updates. In the meantime, head over to Stuff’s Twitter to check us out at today’s launch.