MTN and Huawei have unveiled what is possibly Afrika's first 5G field trial in Pretoria, South Africa. The Huawei technology solution used for the trial is a 5G 28GHz millimeter-wave technology fixed-wireless access solution.

During the demonstration of the 5G trial, the companies explained that it was the first time they were testing and using it in a real-world environment.

“These 5G trials provide us with an opportunity to future-proof our network and prepare it for the evolution of these new generation networks. We have gleaned invaluable insights about the modifications that we need to do on our core, radio and transmission network from these pilots. It is important to note that the transition to 5G is not just a flick of a switch, but it’s a roadmap that requires technical modifications and network architecture changes to ensure that we meet the standards that this technology requires. We are pleased that we are laying the groundwork that will lead to the full realization of the boundless opportunities that are inherent in the digital world,” said Babak Fouladi, Group Chief Technology and Information Systems Officer.

The MTN and Huawei 5G field trial achieved speeds of approximately 520Mbit/s for the downlink and approximately 77Mbit/s for the uplink. MTN has indicated that the 5G field trial with Huawei will provide them with valuable insights especially into how much work there is still left to do before 5G is switched on.

“The use of millimeter-wave spectrum bands is one of the key 5G enabling technologies to deliver the required capacity and massive data rates required for 5G’s Enhanced Mobile Broadband use cases. MTN and Huawei’s joint field trial of the first 5G mmWave Fixed-Wireless Access solution in Africa will also pave the way for a fixed-wireless access solution that is capable of replacing conventional fixed access technologies, such as fiber,” said Giovanni Chiarelli of MTN Group.