South African multinational mobile telecommunications company, MTN is building private fifth-generation networks for at least 14 companies in South Africa’s mining and ports sectors. This was made known by Sunday Times, a local newspaper in the country.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN, Charles Molapisi in a statement averred that private networks were an “exciting” area for the operator.
In his words:
“We are far ahead of many in terms of private network on the 5G side. We see this as a huge growth area.”
The CEO further noted that the 5G private networks, in addition to the provision of data and voice services would also support cloud computing, improved cybersecurity and unified communications.
“It’s connectivity first; then we put [on] layers of other services. Any form of communication will be deployed. Globally, companies are moving aggressively into this,” Molapisi said.
MTN’s latest interim financial results showed that by the end of June 2022, 443 sites were added by the carrier across South Africa, thereby making the total number of 5G sites to be 1,391.
The telecommunications company is currently providing 5G services in coverage to about 20 percent of South Africa’s population, and has the target of reaching the 25 percent benchmark for the country by the end of 2022.
It would be recalled that MTN had during a spectrum auction March 2022, acquired a 3.5 GHz spectrum, which was carried out by Icasa, a regulator in South Africa. The company also plans to acquire more spectrum during the second phase of the regulator’s auction, expected to happen immediately the migration of the digital TV has been completed.
MTN, the acronym for Mobile Telecommunications Networks currently provides 5G services in 38 South African cities.
Icasa, known as the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, an independent regulatory body of the South African government had March this year completed a delayed spectrum auction for the provision of 5G services, where all the six qualifying bidders secured frequencies in the various spectrum bands.
According to Icasa, the South African government raised a total of ZAR14.4 billion (currently $812 million) in the process, while noting that Cell C, Liquid Telecom, MTN South Africa, Rain Networks, Telkom South Africa, and Vodacom South Africa submitted bids in the main auction of frequencies in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands, which followed an initial opt-in phase.
Vodacom on its part, secured 2×10 megahertz blocks in the 700 MHz, 1×80 megahertz in 2.6 GHz and 1×10 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz bands, while MTN secured 2×10 megahertz in the 800 MHz, 4×10 megahertz in the 2.6 GHz and 4×10 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz bands.
Telkom secured 22 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band, with the operator also securing 2×10 megahertz in the 800 MHz band in the opt-in phase.
Rain Networks secured 10 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band, adding to the 2×10 megahertz of 700 MHz and 10 megahertz in the 2.6 GHz band secured in the opt-in phase, while Cell C had 1×10 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band, while Liquid Telecom secured 4 megahertz of 3.5 GHz.
MTN had in July 2020, over two years ago, announced the launch of its 5G network in South Africa, starting with the initial deployment of 100 5G sites, with the network initially covered areas of Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.
The Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) was used for these initial 5G deployments.