China’s ZTE, local telecom firm start 5G technology trial in Uganda

KAMPALA (Xinhua) – China’s ZTE and MTN Uganda on Friday started 5G technology trial to be the first who brings the Standalone 5G network into reality in east Africa as the region awaits it commercial roll out.

Uganda’s Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, who was the chief guest at the launch, said government supports the development of new technology provided it will solve people’s challenges and make life easier and affordable.

He was optimistic that technologies like 5G will have an impact on the economic development of the country.

Godfrey Mutabazi, executive director of the Uganda Communication Commission, said that as a regulator of the communications sector, they are working to ensure that there is appropriate infrastructure that supports 5G.

“If we accept this technology, this country will be the best in Africa,” Mutabazi said, noting that Uganda is the first country in East Africa to have 5G technology and the third in Africa after South Africa and Nigeria.

Wim Vanhelleputte, chief executive officer MTN Uganda, said 5G technology will have increased speeds and capacity with exact wireless connections but similar to fibre optic cable experience.

Vanhelleputte said this will enable easier wireless connections compared to running fiber optic cables to every facility or home.

“In the next 2-3 years, we will embark on massive commercial rollout of the technology,” he said, noting that advancements like telemedicine will be easier when there is real-time connection.

Uganda’s Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda (L) shakes hands with a robot that uses the 5G network during a 5G technology trial ceremony in Kampala. PHOTO: XINHUA