No 5G for capital … yet
28 February 2020 | Infrastructure
The request to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Huawei Communications and the City of Windhoek for a 5G network connectivity was not approved by Council at Thursday’s monthly council meeting and was sent back for further discussions.
Although some were excited about new technology, many councillors had questions especially what the benefit for the CoW would be
The agenda point came after a CoW delegation attended the Smart China Expo in sister city Chongqing in August last year.
The delegation was introduced and exposed to the world’s fastest wireless network to date, the 5G network. “This network is currently rolled out and functional in China,” according to council documents.
Considering that Huawei is the only company that has implemented 5G successfully so far, the intention of the MoU is to outline a cooperation framework between the two entities, and look at which 5G powered smart city initiatives would be the most beneficial to the City given cost savings and benefits of expansion of the City’s network to a modern one.
“To achieve the CoW’s plan to be a smart city by 2022, it is essential to ensure that Council is responsive to the demands posed by the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution, which has become a reality,” the document read.
During the council meeting, councillor Brunhilde Cornelius pointed out that one of the recommendations is that services not covered in the MoU would only be introduced to council at a later stage. In this vein, another councillor reminded others that any additional services would still need to be approved by Council.
The City operates four types of networks, namely a fixed leased line, optic fibre owned by council, wireless and point-to-point networks, and radio wave networks.
Council’s Smart City Strategy necessitated that said networks be upgraded and extended to address the bottleneck caused by insufficient bandwidth to accommodate new data transport requirements as well as inadequate network speeds.
In a nutshell, the old infrastructure needs upgrades.
According to an article published on the IOT World Congress website, the benefit of 5G includes greater speed in the transmissions, a lower latency and therefore greater capacity for remote execution, a greater number of connected devices and the possibility of implementing virtual networks, providing more adjusted connectivity.
“Speed in transmissions can approach 15 or 20 Gbps. By being able to enjoy a higher speed we can access files, programs and remote applications in a totally direct and without waiting,” according to the article.
Even though this scenario may sound like a dream come true, USA Today warns that users won’t be able to take advantage of 5G’s benefits without a phone that is compatible with the new network.
Huawei implemented the 5G network in parts of Johannesburg and Tshwane together with the company Rain. The network is said to have speeds of around 200 Mbps.
Paratus is considering legal action after CoW seized their equipment and tools in the capital two weeks ago. The CoW has also not received a fibre optic licence to operate of the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRAN) yet, although an application was made in February 2019.