ZTE and MTN signed a memorandum of understanding at the unveiling of their 5G joint showcase at AfricaCom in Cape Town. South Africa’s Vice Minister of Communications, Pinky Kekana, launched a synthetic speed test to achieve a download speed of over 1.3 Gbps and a download speed of 90 Mbps. The test has been configured as a non-standalone 5G network, which means that it uses some of the elements of MTN’s existing LTE infrastructure. Operators such as MTN are turning to non-autonomous 5G as a means of conversion from 4G and a stand-alone 5G network
In addition to speed tests, ZTE also asked a dancer to move the arms of a robot on the 5G network using motion detection controllers. He also showed how to transmit in real time the voice and image of former rugby captain Corné Krige to a holographic projector. According to ZTE, such a holographic communication currently requires about 20 Mbps of download and bandwidth, as well as latencies of less than 10 milliseconds.
Mr. Xiao Ming, president of global sales at ZTE, said South Africa could benefit from China’s huge economies of scale and predicted that the cost of 5G technology would decline rapidly. By 2020, there will be two major 5G networks in China, with about one million sites to build.
He added “It will be good for Africa, and especially South Africa, to take the lead on 5G.”