Following yesterday’s announcement that Zain is offering 5G coverage in all of Saudi Arabia’s regions, we also have 5G coverage news from Brazil and South Africa, although, confusingly, neither country has formally auctioned long-term 5G spectrum yet.
Both the operators involved have, however, incorporated dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology into their 5G rollout strategy.
According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, Claro Brasil, a mobile, satellite television, fixed and broadband telecommunications operator, has claimed initial 5G coverage in parts of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with more to follow by the end of September.
Despite the continuing delays in spectrum auctions in Brazil, the company is using DSS to allow it to utilise its existing LTE-A frequency bands, though smartphone support seems to be limited to the Motorola Edge 5G for now.
Similarly, the MTN 5G network in South Africa is now live in the cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth, with a little help from DSS. The company plans to scale out the network throughout the course of the year, with Ericsson as its key supplier for 5G, an announcement made in November last year. DSS technology will allow the operator to deploy both 4G and 5G services using the same spectrum.
Again, however, the auction of permanent 5G spectrum across the country is still some while off. The spectrum used by MTN and Vodacom to launch 5G is temporary and supposedly only valid until November. South African regulator ICASA has committed to holding an auction to issue permanent high-demand spectrum licences by December.