State-owned operator Ethio Telecom has announced that it has rolled out commercial 5G services in Addis Ababa.
The official launch took place last weekend. This follows an earlier pre-commercial 5G mobile technology trial service in Addis Ababa and Adama, the capital city of the Oromia Region.
At that time we reported an Ethio statementthat full commercialisation would depend on “demand from players in the ecosystem” and consumer “readiness” for the service – which would correlate with the availability of 5G devices and smartphones – and enterprise demand.
Most of these potential hurdles seem to have been overcome, at least in the capital. Ethio says: “Our company has commercialized its 5G service at 145 different sites in Addis Ababa and is ready to offer unlimited 5G data, 5G to the home, and a variety of 5G mobile packages to our esteemed customers."
It adds, however: “To utilize these diverse services and mobile packages, our customers are required to have 5G-supporting mobile devices and handsets.”
It’s not clear how widely available handsets are at the moment. However, according to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, mobile 5G tariffs start at ETB929 (about US$16.81) per month for a plan offering 150GB of data, while unlimited data 5G plans start from ETB1,199 (US$21.69).
It’s not totally unlimited; there’s a fair usage allowance after which peak downlink speeds are slowed. 5G fixed wireless services are available in both volume-based and speed-based options.
Rival operator Safaricom Ethiopia has made it clear that it too plans to deploy 4G and 5G mobile networks across the country, though it’s not yet clear when its 5G service will arrive.