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Liquid Telecom to start wholesale 5G network in South Africa

African wholesale operator Liquid Telecom is adding a 5G wireless network to its existing fibre offering in South Africa.

The company says the service, which will operate on 3.5GHz, will be available “in all major South African cities” and will be aimed at all service providers.

“This breakthrough 5G wholesale service will create innovation in every aspect of South African society and industry,” said Liquid Telecom chairman Strive Masiyiwa (pictured).

“For the first time, mobile network operators and ISPs will have open access to Liquid Telecom’s new 5G mobile network. The launch of the service also underscores Liquid Telecom’s vision to bring high-speed connectivity to everyone.”

South African IT-based web news service Techcentral reported last year that Vodacom, the African subsidiary of Vodafone, has already signed a deal to use Liquid’s 3.5GHz spectrum for 5G services, beating the South African government’s plan to license 5G spectrum later in 2020.

Liquid has 56MHz worth of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band, says Techcentral.

Group CEO Nic Rudnick called the decision to launch a wholesale wireless service “a milestone moment” for the company. “Our wholesale operating partners can exploit our new ultra-fast 5G roaming network to build the next generation of communications and make innovation possible, anytime, anywhere. 5G will facilitate real-time remote collaboration, improved business efficiency and lower costs – ultimately driving growth in the South African economy.”

Liquid has not given a launch date for the wireless service, but says it will be “available from early 2020”.

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