South Africa is preparing for 5G network in its efforts to remain competitive and embrace the new era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, says Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele.
“The dense and heavy traffic 5G cells will need to be connected to the core network through a backhaul infrastructure, often with extreme requirements in terms of capacity, latency, availability, energy and cost efficiency,” the Minister said.
Addressing the 5th Annual 5G Huddle in Durban on Tuesday, he said all backhauls will be important, whether it is microwave or new forms of satellite that will give the requisite speeds. Backhauls comprise the intermediate links between the core network, or backbone network, and the small sub-networks at the edge of a hierarchical network.
“We’ll use any technology that can give us the requisite speeds and improve access for all. As a country, we are prioritising the rapid deployment policy, where we are harmonising and making it easy for the operators to access the site to deploy ICT infrastructure,” Cwele said.
The Minister said SENTECH is exploring a partnership to rollout modern satellite technologies in order to expedite coverage, especially in rural areas.
Earlier this year, 5G trials were conducted successfully during the Pyong Chang Olympics to demonstrate the performance, reliability and use cases for the future wireless technology during a dynamic and high traffic event.
5G will build on the ongoing evolution of 4G technology and will deliver significant technological improvements by enhancing mobile broadband, the massive Internet of Things (IoT) and mission critical services.
“We should also encourage and enable women to participate actively in the opportunities created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will be thriving on these 5G networks.
“The principle of inclusivity is fundamental in ensuring that global humanity embraces the benefits of the power of evolving technologies,” the Minister said.
He said 5G will create an ecosystem for technical and business innovation involving vertical markets such as automotive, energy, food and agriculture, city management, government, healthcare, manufacturing, public transportation and many more.
“5G will serve a larger portfolio of applications with a corresponding multiplicity of requirements ranging from high reliability to ultra-low latency going through high bandwidth and mobility,” the Minister said.