Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

4G/5G

Vodacom Joins Race to Prove 5G's Value

Article Image
Vodacom is the latest African mobile operator to show how 5G could enable new communications applications by testing virtual reality (VR) services over 5G connections during the Vodacom Durban July horse race held at the Greyville track on Saturday.

The operator, working with technology partner Nokia, set up two tests during the race meeting. The first used 4K video cameras from two positions on the course to stream live 360-degree video footage over 5G connections to VR headsets at Vodacom's hospitality suite. This test showed the low-latency capabilities of the latest generation of mobile broadband technology that recently had further specifications agreed by the 3GPP. (See 3GPP Done With 5G SA Specs. Now the Hard Work Begins.)

The video feed from the cameras was streamed in real time via 100MHz of spectrum in the 28GHz band using a 5G-enabled Nokia Airscale basestation.

Vodacom combined a day at the races with its 5G tests.
Vodacom combined a day at the races with its 5G tests.

The second test was nothing to do with horse racing: Instead, with the spirit of the World Cup in mind, it featured a VR soccer penalty shoot out, allowing "participants to feel as if they are physically within a stadium facing the best goalkeepers in the world," noted the operator in a press release. "The VR penalty shootout experience will enable participants to 'feel' the difference between the different latencies which are typical of 4G and 5G networks, by introducing different reaction times," the operator added.

She shoots, she scores! There's no escape from World Cup fever...
She shoots, she scores! There's no escape from World Cup fever...

Vodacom has been aiming to highlight the services and use cases made possible by the higher mobile broadband speeds and lower latencies that 5G systems can enable. "Latency is the time gap that exists between a request and a response in a system, which is typically around 20 milliseconds on a 4G network. On a 5G network, this is reduced to less than 5 milliseconds, which means that the request-response between connections is almost real-time. This could enable 5G applications being extended to mission critical control of remote applications, such as industrial automation in factories, remote robotic surgery etc., as well as smart vehicles and transportation systems, which require ultra-reliable and low latency communications," noted the operator in its media announcement.

"Our future will be characterised by a range of new technologies that are fusing our physical and digital worlds," said Vodacom CTO Andries Delport. "Robotics and super-realistic virtual and augmented reality are characteristic of this era. These new technologies require the high speed and low latency that only a 5G network can deliver."

Vodacom isn't the only African operator working with Nokia on 5G's potential: Sudatel is also engaging in a number of next-generation networking trials with the vendor. (See Sudatel Checks Out 5G, FTTH With Nokia.)

Nokia's rivals Ericsson and Huawei are also busy working with operators on 5G use cases and tests. (See MTN, Ericsson Take 5G on the Road, MTN Takes Its 5G Tests Outdoors and Orange Botswana on Long Trek to 5G.)

Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading for Connecting Africa.

Innovation hub

Story

Hot startup of the month: South Africa's Botlhale AI

Connecting Africa's hot startup this month is South Africa's Botlhale AI, which creates conversational AI tools for African languages while helping businesses engage customers in languages they understand and trust.

Story

SA's Teraco to power data centers with 120MW solar plant

Teraco, the vendor-neutral data center provider, is planning the construction of a 120 megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) energy facility in the Free State province of South Africa.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: January 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in January 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included a $200 million fintech deal between MTN and Mastercard as well as 5G network trials by Telecom Egypt – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: September 2023

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in September 2023 in the Middle East and Africa included more 5G spectrum licenses, vendor and operator strategies, and partnerships – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002