MTN launches its first 5G network in South Africa today

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Today, MTN has announced that its first 5G network in the Africa and Middle East region will go live in South Africa today.

The network spans 100 sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth and is made up of a mish-mash of spectral bands.

While some of the bands being used were granted as part of temporary spectrum assigned by ICASA a few months back, other bands are being used dynamically.

To be specific, the 3.5GHz band available at 58 sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein was granted to MTN by ICASA temporarily.

As for the other bands, MTN is making use of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) to make use of 4G spectrum for 5G. This comes as a result of there being a lack of dedicated spectrum for 5G.

While that may stoke fears that MTN’s network which isn’t using 5G will be negatively impacted, the network operator told us that this is not the case and that through DSS the network should cope.

The spectral breakdown is as follows:

  • 3.5 GHz at 58 sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein
  • 2100MHz and 1800MHz at 35 sites in Johannesburg and Pretoria
  • 700MHz at 5 sites in Port Alfred, Hopetown, Virginia Queenstown and Tsantsabane
  • 28GHz at 3 sites in Hatfield (Pretoria), Edenvale and Durban

Pricing for MTN’s 5G packages follows below but take note that you will need to purchase a 5G router. MTN states that routers and 5G smartphones together with a SIM will be available from 1st July.

All of the available plans can be found over on the MTN website.

Plan Anytime Data Night Express 24-month SIM-only 36-month SIM-only
5G 75GB 75GB 75GB R699 R499
5G 100GB 100GB 100GB R799 R599
5G 200GB 200GB 200GB R1 099 R849
5G 300GB 300GB 300GB R1 199 R949
5G 400GB 400GB 400GB R1 399 R1 099
5G 500GB 500GB 500GB R1 599 R1 299


Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.