African telecoms giant MTN has begun its trials on 5th generation (5G) mobile technology.

“This is the highest achieved on a mobile network in Africa‚” the service provider said in a statement on Monday after recording download speeds of 20 gigabytes per second.

MTN carried out the trials in South Africa in collaboration with network equipment provider Ericsson.

According to MTN, the company and its partners will continue to identify 5G use cases and applications for the digital transformation of industries such as mining, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and utilities.

The Chief Technology and Information Officer, MTN Group, Babak Fouladi, speaking on the announcement said, “In collaboration with our partners, we are continuously pushing the boundaries of how 5G can meet the diverse needs of our customers. 5G gives us the opportunity to rethink how our business can add further value to the lives of our customers.”

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The Vice President and Head of Global Customer Unit MTN at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, Seckin Arikan, said “Ericsson is the first to launch a 5G trial with MTN in Africa, supporting our strategy of delivering next-generation mobile broadband, cloud as well as providing support for massive Internet of Things deployment.”

Speaking at the event, Chief Technology and Information Officer for MTN SA, Giovanni Chiarelli, said that 5G offered a whole new world of potential for South Africa and the continent.

“With 5G, remote healthcare through connected robots could offer world-class surgery in the most remote parts of the continent and the world. Self-driving cars could change the face of road safety, along with smart agriculture, smart mining and smart cities.

“There is no doubt that 5G will offer the consumer higher speeds and lower latencies but to achieve this, we need the capacity that comes with additional spectrum thus once again we call on the government to urgently release the much-needed spectrum that is required in South Africa, to lower the cost of data and drive growth and development for all South Africans,” Chiarelli concluded.

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