Uganda seems to be on the path to emerge as one of the first African country where 5G technology will be rolled out. The Chinese telecommunications equipment giant, ZTE has partnered with local carrier MTN  to carry out the first 5G network trial in the country.

Apart from being the first 5G test run in the country, it is also the first of such test carried out in the East African region and that will make MTN the first operator to bring the Standalone 5G network into reality in East Africa.

The trial was carried out on Friday with Uganda’s Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda in attendance. The PM  stated that the  government supports the development of new technology provided it will solve people’s challenges and make life easier and affordable. He also express optimism that  technologies like 5G would have an impact on the economic development of the country.

MTN Uganda Launches 5G Trial
Uganda’s Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda (L, Front) shakes hands with a robot that uses the 5G network during a 5G technology trial ceremony in Kampala, capital of Uganda, January 17, 2020. /Xinhua Photo

The head of the country’s communications commission also added that they are working to ensure that there is an appropriate infrastructure that supports 5G. He also noted  that Uganda is the third country in Africa to have 5G technology after South Africa and Nigeria.

On his part, Wim Vanhelleputte, chief executive officer MTN Uganda, said 5G technology would have increased speeds and capacity with exact wireless connections but similar to fiber optic cable experience. This would enable easier wireless connections compared to running fiber optic cables to every facility or home, he added.

“In the next two to three years, we will embark on massive commercial roll of the  technology,” he said, noting that advancements like tele-medicine will be easier when there is real-time connection.

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Yi Yahua, ZTE corporation vice president for Southern Africa, said ZTE is fully supportive to MTN Uganda’s strategy to tap into the potential of modern mobile technologies to serve this country better and move forward with 5G industrialization.



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