Liquid Telecom is set to launch the first 5G wholesale roaming service in South Africa early in the year. The service will be available in all major South African cities.
Liquid will be selling South African networks access to their 5G network since they are one of the few telecoms players with access to the spectrum necessary to build a 5G network. Vodacom is reportedly one of the first networks that will piggyback on the 5G network.
Fortunately for Liquid, they have a great headstart since the only other networks with the spectrum to launch their own 5G services are Rain and Telkom – the former launched a fixed 5G offering last year whilst the latter hasn’t deployed any 5G infrastructure or shared plans regarding the technology.
Until other networks get licensing which allows them to access the spectrum on which they can build 5G networks -which is expected to happen sometime this year- they might have to rely on Liquid Telecom in the meanwhile.
Liquid Telecom expects the move to firmly propel South Africa into the 4th Industrial Revolution with IoT, AI and Robotics highlighted as some fields that will be revolutionised by the technology.
Nic Rudnick, the CEO of Liquid called it a milestone moment and hailed the technology:
This is a milestone moment for Liquid Telecom South Africa.
Our wholesale operating partners can exploit our new ultra-fast 5G roaming network to build the next generation of communications and make innovation possible, anytime, anywhere. 5G will facilitate real-time remote collaboration, improved business efficiency and lower costs – ultimately driving growth in the South African economy.Nic Rudnick
Strive Masiyiwa, Liquid’s Chairman believes this will have an enormous impact on South African innovation:
This breakthrough 5G wholesale service will create innovation in every aspect of South African society and industry.
For the first time, mobile network operators and ISPs will have open access to Liquid Telecom’s new 5G mobile network. The launch of the service also underscores Liquid Telecom’s vision to bring high-speed connectivity to everyone.
It’s not clear when Liquid Telecom will actually start selling bandwidth to interested parties but the telecoms company will use its 3.5GHz spectrum asset to build the 5G network.