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MTN pilots 5G in Zambia

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MTN Zambia this week became the first telco to launch 5G in the Southern African nation.

MTN said the 5G network pilot promises significant improved technology which will enhance faster connectivity speed, ultra-low latency and greater bandwidth.

"5G technology can connect virtually everyone and everything, including machines, objects and devices. We are moving into an era of ubiquitous connectivity," said MTN Zambia CEO Bart Hofker at the launch.

"MTN Zambia will be rolling out 5G pilot demonstration sites in Lusaka and Copperbelt Provinces and we are eager to set up specific and relevant use cases together with our Zambian customers and partners to expand social and commercial horizons, alongside the rest of the world," he added.

5G cellular networks are at least 10-times faster than 4G which creates never-before-seen opportunities for people and businesses in Zambia, MTN said.

"The 5G pilot launch by MTN Zambia has the capability to enhance social, cultural and commercial participation amongst the citizens of Zambia and also the global community," said Zambia's Minister of Technology and Science Felix Mutati, who spoke at the launch event.

"Although we are still in the early stages, the rollout of 5G technology has the potential to drive unprecedented inclusive growth in Zambia. It will transform the way we live and work and it will offer exciting new opportunities for entrepreneurs and youth in our country.

"Now is the time to begin putting in place the necessary building blocks to facilitate the transition to 5G and the Zambian government is committed to create a healthy environment to encourage these technology developments," Mutati added.

According to statistics from market research company Omdia, MTN was the leading mobile operator in Zambia at the end of 2021 with over 8.3 million subscribers. Close behind is Airtel Zambia with around 7.6 million users and the third operator, Zamtel, had about 3.7 million subscriptions.

Want to know more about 4G and 5G in Africa? Check out our dedicated 4G/5G content channel here on Connecting Africa.

MTN started its operations in Zambia in 2005 after acquiring Telecel and provides communications solutions across all the 10 provinces, including 4G, 3G and 2G networks.

MTN believes that apart from the many innovative applications of 5G, it will also help increase general Internet access in Zambia, where fixed broadband penetration remains low.

Omdia estimates that Zambia's fixed broadband subscriptions totaled about 42,000 at the end of 2021, in a population of about 19.4 million people.

*Top image is of (L to R) MTN Zambia CEO Bart Hofker, Minister of Science and Technology Felix Mutati, and MTN Corporate Services Manager Pamela Pio at MTN offices in Lusaka on January 11, 2022. (Picture by ROYD SIBAJENE/ZANIS, supplied by MTN).

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