MTN and ZTE launch East Africa’s first Standalone 5G network

Published: 22 January 2020 - 2:28 p.m.
By: CommsMEA staff writer

MTN Uganda has teamed up with Chinese tech giant ZTE to launch East Africa’s first standalone 5G network.

Non-standalone 5G is built on top of existing 4G network architecture and leverages a 4G core. However, the new standalone network launched by MTN Uganda utilises ZTE’s 5G core technology.

The pair have conducted a series of tests on the network, using spectrum from MTN Group’s portfolio in the 60MHz band, achieving download speeds in excess of 1.4Gbps.

"ZTE is very keen on sharing new technologies with MTN,” said Bill Yi, vice president at ZTE.

“We have been constantly enhancing our 5G capabilities and have become a core supplier of end-to-end solutions in the global ICT industry,” he added.

While the network is not yet commercially viable, it will underpin much of MTN’s 5G testing in the coming months. The pair have already successfully showcased a range of end to end 5G use cases, including ‘Beyond 100G Transmission’, ‘5G Flexhaul’, ‘5G New Radio’ and ‘Big Video’.

MTN Group is the largest multinational telecoms group operating in Africa and claims over 230 million subscribers across the continent. MTN Group and ZTE have worked together on 4G, LTE and 5G projects across the continent since 2009.

ZTE has signed more than 35 commercial 5G launch contracts with mobile network operators around the world and has secured numerous launch deals in the Middle East and Africa region.

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