South African telecoms operator, Telkom, strongly considers switching off its 2G network in favor of putting more emphasis on its 3G, 4G/LTE, and later 5G networks. This is according to CEO Sipho Maseko, who was speaking at the group’s annual results presentation in Centurion on Monday.
“Luckily, we don’t have a big base of 2G customers,” said Maseko. “Because it’s a small base, we can switch it off and have an all-3G/4G network.”
Rivals of the telecoms operator aren’t, however, in the same position to switch off their 2G networks. Vodacom, MTN and Cell C still have millions of devices on their networks that only support 2G. Operators are keen to move to more modern technologies as consumer demand grows for data as opposed to voice services.
CEO of Telkom’s wholesale division Openserve, Alphonzo Samuels, said at the results presentation that the company has begun testing the next generation of mobile broadband technology in its labs, which is 5G and not yet ready for commercial deployment.
Samuels added that the company will, however, deploy 5G when the standards are ready, which will likely be in dense metropolitan areas first and will take advantage of the company’s fibre infrastructure, including the fibre it has laid to connect residential homes to fixed broadband.
By Daniëlle Kruger
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