China’s ZTE, telecoms firm start 5G technology trial in Uganda

January 21, 2020
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China’s ZTE and MTN Uganda have started 5G technology trial to bring the Standalone 5G network into reality in east Africa as the region awaits its commercial rollout. The companies are the first to roll out the technology in the region.

Uganda’s Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, who was the chief guest at the launch, said the government supports the development of new technology provided it will solve people’s challenges and make life easier and affordable.

He was optimistic that technologies like 5G will have an impact on the economic development of the country.

Godfrey Mutabazi, Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission, said that as a regulator of  the communications sector, they are working to ensure that there is appropriate infrastructure that supports 5G. “If we accept this technology, this country will be the best in Africa,” Mutabazi said.

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He said that Uganda is the first country in East Africa to have 5G technology and the third in Africa after South Africa and Nigeria.

Mr Wim Vanhelleputte, Chief Executive Officer MTN Uganda, said 5G technology will have increased speeds  and capacity with exact wireless connections but similar to fiber optic cable experience.

Vanhelleputte said this would enable easier wireless connections compared to running fiber optic cables to every facility or home.

“In the next 2 to 3 years, we will embark on massive commercial rollout of the technology,” he said, noting that advancements like telemedicine will be easier when there is real time connection.

Yi Yahua, ZTE Corporation vice president for the Southern Africa, said ZTE is fully supportive to MTN Uganda’s strategy to tap into the potential of modern mobile technologies. Yahua said  this would serve the country better and move forward with 5G industrialisation.

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