(Reuters) – South African telecoms operator Telkom (TKGJ.J) has launched its 5G high-speed internet network using technology from China’s Huawei Technologies [RIC:RIC:HWT.UL], the companies said on Thursday.
Telkom, part-owned by the state, joins bigger rivals Vodacom (VODJ.J) and MTN (MTNJ.J) and smaller peer rain in the 5G race, as it wants to boost its fast-growing mobile data and fixed line broadband businesses, amid increasing demand for broadband.
“The COVID pandemic has driven significant lifestyle changes for South Africans, due to work from home or school from home, online shopping and an ‘always on’ kind of culture,” said Fortune Wang, Carrier Business Director for Huawei South Africa.
5G, with its ultra high speed and low latency, will support new services for South African consumers, like online augmented reality and virtual reality gaming and ultra high definition streaming, while also enabling businesses with cloud and artificial intelligence technologies, Wang added.
“At launch Telkom will primarily focus on providing super fast 5G fixed wireless access solutions, as the demand for mobile 5G increases, we will supplement this with suitable mobile propositions,” said Lunga Siyo, chief executive officer of Telkom Consumer and Business.
Shunned in the global north due to security concerns, which Huawei has denied, the Chinese company dominates in Africa as a supplier of equipment to many telecoms operators.