MTN’s CEO says Africa is not ready for super fast 5G network

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Rob Shuter, MTN’s Chief Executive notes that Africa would likely be able to embrace the next generation 5G network in the about 5 years. Now in the final testing stage, 5G networks will rely on denser arrays of small antennas and the cloud to offer data speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than current 4G network.

During an interview with Reuters at a telecoms conference in Durban, Shuter said “this is the technology that would be used for very specific cases. It would not be technology for everybody because most people don’t need it, your phone works fine on just 3G”.

Shuter also added “you also need the equipment itself. So right now, there’s no 5G handset and even the routers that can receive 5G network are very few and very expensive”.

MTN customers in emerging markets across Africa and the Middle East are still waiting for the 4G network, but are likely to have to get by with 3G network for a few years.

This was confirmed by the Chief Executive, who said “what we are doing now is to learn from the technology and get our network ready for it, but I think 3G is much more relevant in most of our markets”.

MTN operates in more than 20 countries, including war-ravaged Syria and Afghanistan.


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