Liquid Telecom is taking full advantage of being one of the only companies in South Africa to have access to the 3.5 GHz spectrum, launching their 5G network before many competitors can get their hands on a licence.
The South African regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), has yet to announce a spectrum auction for 5G, creating an interesting dynamic for telcos in Africa’s southernmost nation. Liquid Telecom has 56 MHz worth of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, which it is using for its 5G network rollout.
The only other players currently with a licence for this spectrum are state-owned Telkom, which has so far revealed nothing of its 5G ambitions, and rain South Africa, who launched a 5G network in Johannesburg and Tshwane but is only offering wireless access services so far.
As for other competitors, like MTN and Vodacom, they will have to wait for the allocation of the remaining 116 MHz of spectrum – presumably some time next year – giving Liquid Telecom a substantial advantage in the nation’s mobile 5G race.
“Our wholesale operating partners can exploit our new ultra-fast 5G roaming network to build the next generation of communications and make innovation possible, anytime, anywhere,” said Liquid Telecom CEO Nic Rudnick.
“5G will facilitate real-time remote collaboration, improved business efficiency and lower costs – ultimately driving growth in the South African economy.”
Liquid Telecom’s 5G network means the company is poised to take advantage of a host of 5G-ready handsets which will hit the South African market next year, while its key competitors remain stalled by the regulator.