MTN Group is expecting to rollout its initial 5G commercial network in 2020 and scale this up by 2022

Pan-African telco, MTN Group, has named Swedish tech giant, Ericsson, as its official launch partner for 5G in South Africa.

Speaking at the AfricaCom conference in Cape Town this week, Giovanni Chiarelli, chief technology and information officer at MTN South Africa, said that the deal would help his company kick on with their 5G commercialisation process, with the launch of 5G services expected in the next 18 months.

“South Africa is undergoing a huge digital transformation, which will open up new business opportunities and boost the nation’s economy. To enable and speed up this process, MTN, with Ericsson as our partner, is rapidly upgrading our network to deliver the quality, capacity, and overall network performance that our enterprise and customers demand. Launching 5G will accomplish this transformation and, with fixed wireless access, will ensure high quality, increased capacity, and greater reliability for our customers,” he said.

As part of the deal, Ericsson will supply MTN South Africa with its radio access network and core, as well as a range of transport products and solutions.

The pair will continue to work together to identify and develop 5G use cases and applications to drive industry digital transformation

“With this deal MTN South Africa will be one of the true 5G pioneers in Africa. We will work closely with them, just as we have done with other generations of technology, to bring the benefits of 5G to them and their customers. Citizens, enterprises, industry and society in general in South Africa are set to benefit enormously from 5G and we are here to help MTN South Africa make that happen,” said Nicolas Blixell, vice president, Ericsson Middle East and Africa.

Ericsson has now signed more than 70 commercial 5G agreements with operators across the world.