Vodacom, the South African subsidiary of UK-based Vodafone, has signed a MoU with Nokia under which the companies will trial Nokia 5G technology to accelerate the launch of the new technology and enable Vodacom to drive digitalization for the benefit of businesses and individuals in South Africa.
"We have defined a technology path that allows operators to transition to 5G at their own pace. Working with Vodacom, we can help it identify how 5G can support growth in the country and the steps it should take in its own transition to best meet individual subscriber and enterprise needs," said Rajen Naidoo, head of Vodacom South Africa Customer Team at Nokia.
Nokia has a 5G portfolio that will allow operators to gain an early-to-market advantage in the delivery of ultra-fast mobile broadband services that leverage multi-Gigabit speeds and ultra-low latency. Nokia will leverage expertise from its Bell Labs Consulting arm to work with Vodacom and identify where, when and how to evolve its network to 5G.
Working with Vodacom in a series of workshops and trials, Nokia will share its latest 5G innovations including massive MIMO Adaptive Antennas, AirScale Radio Access, AirGile Cloud-native Core, Multi-Access Edge Computing, and end-to-end Mobile Anyhaul transport networks to test how they can be used to meet ever-changing demand in the country.
"As the leading mobile network provider in South Africa, with the best 3G and 4G networks, it was crucial for us to partner a formidable player such as Nokia as we're gearing ourselves for the next generation of wireless networks, 5G," said Andries Delport, Vodacom Group Chief Technology Officer. "This collaboration comes at a time when we have a firm mandate from the Vodacom Board to propel Vodacom Group to become a leading digital company."
Initially the companies will focus on the delivery of Ultra-HD and virtual reality video services, leveraging the enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-low latency capabilities of 5G. Vodacom and Nokia will also collaborate to understand how 5G can drive continued economic growth in vertical industries important to South Africa including manufacturing, mining, healthcare, media, energy and transportation.
"It is my firm belief that the adoption of 5G will help us to deliver against some of the digital technologies in areas such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things," Delport added. "Quite crucially, Africa is in the middle of a mobile connectivity boom, and as such, 5G will help us to deliver faster internet speeds to our almost 70 million customers across the Group."