Ethiopia’s state-owned Ethio-Telecom on Monday evening launched a pre-commercial 5G services trial in the capital Addis Ababa in partnership with Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
Ethiopia’s first 5G services, which was launched across six mobile stations in Addis Ababa, is said to be part of the Ethiopian government’s digital transformation aspirations.
“We are pleased and honored to launch the world’s advanced fifth-generation network. We are committed to seeing a digital Ethiopia, which will uplift our people’s overall living conditions,” Frehiwot Tamiru, CEO of Ethio-Telecom, said during the launching event.
Tamiru said the 5G network service, characterized by the fastest speed and low latency and massive communication capability that offers service for up to 1 million connections within 1 square km, can unlock blazing fast speeds in more places, real-time responses and massive connectivity.
Tamiru noted that Ethio-Telecom will expand its pre-commercial trial service across the capital and regional cities, reaching up to 150 sites over the coming 12 months.
With high speeds, superior reliability and negligible latency, 5G will impact industries such as critical services requiring real-time decisions, manufacturing plants, remote healthcare, precision agriculture, as well as facilitate the Internet of Things (IoT), said Tamiru.
“This 5G service will provide our customers with best-in-class solutions, improve their experience and allow our enterprise customers to boost productivity, enhance operational efficiency, and introduce new solutions to their customers,” Tamiru said.
Ethio-Telecom, which is the sole telecom services provider in Ethiopia so far, said the pre-commercial trial of the 5G service was launched after a temporary 5G Spectrum approval by the Ethiopian Communication Authority while its strategic partner Huawei technologies deployed the 5G network.
Hou Wei, Vice President of Huawei Northern Africa, said as one of Ethio-Telecom’s strategic partners, Huawei will keep focusing on cooperating with Ethiopia’s state-owned telecom service provider through the provision of state-of-the-art solutions, reliable delivery, fast response and trustable maintenance.
“Huawei has been devoting (itself) to this market for more than 20 years, and we have observed the fast development and great evolution of the telecom industry in this country,” he said.
Ethio-Telecom said the full commercialization of the 5G service is dependent on the readiness and demand from the players in the ecosystem, which includes customers’ readiness to use the service as well as the availability of 5G-enabled devices and smartphones.
The company, which is recognized as one of Africa’s oldest telecom service providers, has more than 60.8 million subscribers, with about 25 million data and Internet users.
As part of its ambition to provide modern telecom service to its users, the company partners with Chinese tech companies, mainly Huawei and ZTE.
The company said it has already expanded 3G and 4G networks throughout the East African nation effectively, achieving 97 percent telecom services coverage while densifying the network and upgrading the earlier technologies to the latest ones.