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South Africa gives telecom operators 5 years to complete the 5G-4G rollout

Friday, 17 February 2023 16:11
South Africa gives telecom operators 5 years to complete the 5G-4G rollout

(Ecofin Agency) - The South African government is ramping up initiatives to accelerate broadband and ultra-broadband adoption in South Africa, including plans to turn off 2G and 3G networks by March 2025.  

South African telecom operators have five years to finalize the rollout of 4G and 5G mobile networks in the rainbow nation, including rural areas. The ultimatum was revealed by Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni (photo) during her debate on the state of the nation's address last Wednesday.

The move is part of the South African government's efforts to accelerate broadband migration. In March 2022, the country arranged spectrum auction and unveiled a roadmap to shut down the country's 2G and 3G mobile networks by March 2025 to free up spectrum for 5G and 4G services.

Some telecom operators have already developed plans to switch off their 2G and/or 3G networks. However, a few obstacles remain. These include the high cost of devices compatible with 5G and 4G technologies. In addition, 2G and 3G networks are still widely used by telecom operators for machine-to-machine and IoT (Internet of Things) applications. Currently, Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, and Rain are largely focused on providing 5G in the country's major cities.

The migration to broadband networks is expected to accelerate the government's digital transformation ambitions, among other things. But, those ambitions could be delayed by the slow adoption of 4G and 5G. According to Swedish technology company Ericsson, 4G and 5G will respectively account for 55 percent and 14 percent of mobile subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa by 2028.

Isaac K. Kassouwi



Public Management

ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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