Leading mobile services provider MTN has today rolled-out its fifth generation pilot mobile (5G) network, making it Zambia’s first mobile service provider to do so.
In partnership with the Chinese Tech giant and leading 5G vendor Huawei, MTN has officially paved way for Zambia’s new mobile network era, making it a pioneer of Zambia’s evolving mobile service provision.
In 2013, MTN partnered with Huawei to build the first ever 4G and GSMR network and later built the first 4.5G network in 2016.
Gracing the 5G Demonstration in Lusaka today, Minister of Science and Technology, Felix Mutati said the launch of 5G today puts Zambia among the first 10 African countries currently piloting it. The Minister explained that the launch speaks to his ministries key pillar of digital transformation through building digital infrastructure.
Mr.Mutati explained that there was no better present for the New Year that can be delivered to the people of Zambia, to drive the digital transformation that the new dawn government has embarked on other than 5G. He thanked MTN for bringing the first 5G as the most effective present to the people of Zambia. The Minister praised Huawei for the technical support towards the project, adding that Huawei’s technology brings endless opportunities.
“I also want to thank Huawei, I think what you are bringing to the table is creating endless possibilities, and endless opportunities. What you also bring to the table is that the future is actually here. What you bring to the table is the opportunity to connect everyone and everything and for that I say thank you very much” the Minister said.
And MTN Zambia CEO Bart Hofker said 5G is the evolution of technology and it enables new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually to everyone and everything, including machines, objects and devices. He said 5G is creating more opportunities for people all over the world and also in Zambia. Mr.Hofker explained that 5G presents fast connectivity, ultra-low latency and greater benefits, adding that it can help to create a smarter, safer and more sustainable future.
MTN CEO commended the Government for making 5G pilot a priority and making it as part of its 100 days promise. Mr. Hofker also commended Huawei for offering its technical support and always being on board to ensure that the project comes to fruition.
“I would like to thank our partner Huawei, they made it possible and they have been always super on board to make sure that this is done and we thank them for that. 5G is creating opportunities for many people all of the world and in Zambia. 5G presents fast connectivity, ultra-low latency and greater benefits, adding that it can help to create a smarter, safer and more sustainable future.” CEO said.
Meanwhile, Huawei Vice President for Southern Africa Region, Phil Li said 5G is bringing more opportunities especially during the time of the pandemic where most people are staying home and working remotely. He said 5G is part of Huawei’s vision to bring connectivity to every place, home and organization. Mr.Li explained that cooperation’s with MTN dates as far back as 2013 when the two partners introduced the first 4G network, followed by the 4.5G network in 2016. He predicted that the next 5 years will be the 5G period and more will be accomplished with the support from the Zambian government and ZICTA.
“We can bring more opportunities here and cooperate more with MTN Zambia to bring latest technology to the people of Zambia. Huawei’s 5G anchors on Huawei’s vision to bring digital to every organization and place for a fully connected and intelligent world. This is not the first time we have cooperated with MTN Zambia, in 2013 we did 4G, 2016, we did 4.5 G and now 5G” he said.
He further commended the government for its continued support to the ICT industry. Mr. Li explained that the government has been instrument in supporting ICT developments, adding that the environment has been enabling and thus having accomplishments like 5G network.
With Zambia now having a stand-alone Ministry of Science and Technology, whose agenda is to accelerate digital transformation for both economic and social growth, there is an indication that Zambia’s telecommunication sector will experience massive growth.