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First Live 5G Video Call By MTN And ZTE In AfricaCom 2019


TechInAfrica – AfricaCom 2019 shows Africa’s first live video call with the 5G network technology, which results from mobile operator MTN based in Africa and Chinese telecom company ZTE. Attendees of the event also witnessed the VR capability of a 5G motion-controlled robot and a live interview conducted via hologram. The connection of MTN’s live core network to its center in Tygerberg, Cape Town, which subsequently linked to the showcased technology is the key player of the resulting uplink and downlink speeds, both companies explain.

Both companies have signed an MoU that strengthen their collaboration regarding 5G innovation, device, and network implementation, and to develop further use-cases. Joining ZTE senior vice-president Jerry Zhou and MTN SA chief technology officer Giovanni Chiarelli is deputy communications minister Pinky Kekana in a streamed live call through the showcased 5G network.


Seeing 5G as something that will revolutionize the technology industry while gradually gave positive development to other industries made Zhou very confident with the direction ZTE takes in the 5G investment, owning over 35 commercial contracts. The technology sees immediate and efficient effects in e-education, e-health, mining, and the manufacturing field with the high throughput and low latency of the technology, according to Zhou.

 “We are proud to be partners with MTN and our intention is to be the champion in South Africa’s telecommunications sector and champion on the continent,” says Zhou, added that SA has to grab all the chances ahead while considering 2020 as a critical timeframe for the application of the technology.


Chiarelli points out the required ingredients for 5G to become a commercial phenomenon in SA, such as preparing for the radio telecom equipment and 5G-enabled core network devices, and not to mention the regulations. He notes that the country is ready, but the 5G devices would eventually roll out to the high-end market segment. Add the need for spectrum allocation confirmation, which turns out to be the critical part of the operating 5G in SA.

Kekana ensures the government’s goodwill and support for the spectrum allocation, having president Cyril Ramaphosa recognized the game-changer quality of 5G and that ‘government must be as agile as possible because industry is ready’. With the government’s interest in the development, such as maintaining communication with the Independent Communications Authority of SA, it’s not an instant process, but Kekana is happy to report that ‘there is movement from that side’.



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