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MTN South Africa announced the availability of its 5G commercial offering using Ericsson products in the cities of Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.

The MTN 5G launch is central to the mobile operator’s commitment towards accelerating Africa’s growth plans. The launch confirmed Ericsson’s ability as a Core and Radio Access Network (RAN) infrastructure enabling the deployment of next-generation technology to deliver rich consumer experiences while building a robust, future-proof 5G network.

MTN previously upgraded to Evolved Packet Core (EPC) by Ericsson which enabled MTN to launch 5G services based on new radio (NR) non-standalone (NSA) while paving the way for a smooth evolution into NR Standalone and 5G Core (5GC) in future.

Under the 2019 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Ericsson committed to provide MTN with radio access network equipment from its Ericsson Radio System portfolio, which enable 5G services on both low- and mid-band. Ericsson’s solutions to MTN also includes the award-winning Ericsson Spectrum Sharing.

Giovanni Chiarelli, MTN SA’s Chief Technology and Information Office says: “5G has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of industries, as well as empower consumers with innovative applications. Our strategic partnership with innovative partners is integral to our efforts.”

Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa says: “Today’s event means that the 5G era in South Africa is becoming a reality. Soon, South Africans will be able to experience 5G in their daily lives and witness its positive impact on society and industry. We have a rich history of working in close partnership with MTN and now we are going live with 5G in South Africa. With many live commercial 5G networks across the globe, we look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with MTN, jointly leading and driving innovation to ensure the digitalization of Africa.”

Ericsson Spectrum Sharing will enable MTN to quickly launch 5G services over a wide area and successively expand 5G coverage in a tailored way by re-using existing network infrastructure and taking advantage of previous spectrum investments. MTN can therefore provide 5G commercial services and move towards Standalone (SA) 5G without the need for blanket costly re-investment. Industries such as transportation, healthcare and manufacturing can leverage 5G capabilities to accelerate digital transformation and deploy advanced automation technologies.

Ericsson currently has 95 commercial 5G agreements and contracts with unique operators, of which 55 are publicly announced 5G deals, including 43 live 5G networks on five continents.