KAMPALA – Airtel Uganda says it is in the process of deploying the much sought-after 5G network across the country’s capital starting in August.
The development was confirmed by the Managing Director, Mr. manoj murali while addressing the press at Sheraton Kampala Hotel.
Airtel Uganda early this month acquired radio frequency spectrum across multiple bands to deploy 5G technology in the most recent auction concluded.
The move comes after the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) initiated a spectrum sale process on May 25, 2023, inviting applications from telecom operators to obtain 5G spectrum licenses. Airtel Uganda emerged as one key player in the spectrum sale.
5G is the 5th generation mobile network that enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices at very high speeds. It delivers higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users.
In the low band (800 MHz), Airtel Uganda secured two blocks of 2×5 MHz, enabling the company to utilize a total of 10 MHz of paired spectrum in the 800 MHz frequency division duplex (FDD) band, allowing the company to deliver coverage.
3500 MHz Band
Airtel Uganda acquired 100 MHz (1×100 MHz) of spectrum in the 3500 MHz time division duplex (TDD) band, allowing the company to leverage the immense potential of this frequency range for delivering high-speed connectivity to its customers.
In the E-band, Airtel Uganda obtained two blocks of 2×250 MHz FDD Spectrum, equating to 500 MHz of paired spectrum. The maximum assignable amount of spectrum per applicant in the E-band is two (2) blocks of 2×250 MHz usable in FDD mode.
This spectrum acquisition empowers Airtel Uganda to deploy a robust 5G network, catering to the growing demands of data-hungry applications and services.
5G Deployment in Uganda
By securing the best available spectrum blocks required for 5G deployment, Airtel Uganda has positioned itself as a frontrunner in the race to deliver advanced broadband services across the country.
The UCC’s spectrum sale process required that telecom companies have a comprehensive five-year rollout plan and should highlight the specific milestones, timelines, and indicators to measure progress for the realization of the proposed network and/or expansion.
Additionally, participating operators had to commit to reducing data costs by 2025, aiming to make mobile internet and fixed wireless internet more affordable for consumers.
With the acquisition of the radio frequency spectrum, Airtel Uganda is poised to lead the way in delivering 5G services and driving the digital transformation of Uganda’s telecommunications landscape.
Experts say 5G can support up to 1 million connected devices per square kilometre compared to 4G which can only support up to 100,000 connected devices in a similar area. This makes 5G the suitable network over which remote teams can collaborate to undertake tasks like surgery, shared online school classes, farmers can share live video farming tips, engineering tasks over video and stream gaming and other entertainment experiences.
Airtel indicated that they will deploy 5G in 50 sites in the course of next week beginning with areas such as; parliament avenue, Fairway area, Speak Apartment, and crested towers among others.
Customers with 5G compatible devices can now enjoy the 5G experience.
All other 2500 Airtel sites across the country shall be deployed on a site-by-site basis. A list of rollout plans shall be communicated on the Airtel Website and social media.
Mr. murali said, “I am privileged to announce that the wait for 5G is over. We have gotten the required spectrum and shall begin deployment next week. We were able to transform the way people, businesses, and communities connect and do business using 4G, and are grateful to our partners for the support on that journey.
5G will revolutionise the way people, businesses, and industries connect and improve their productivity because of the super-fast internet speeds. We are deeply honoured to be delivering yet another Airtel first”
“I would like to extend my gratitude to the regulator, UCC, partners like Huawei, ATC, and the media for the support on this journey” murali concluded.
5G is famed for its immense applications is Home broadband activities like gaming, virtual reality, and other entertainment. In Manufacturing, commercial agriculture, and smart grids, 5G is useful for condition monitoring and other industrial applications.
In health and education, 5G is important for the delivery of fast High-Definition videos for services like telemedicine and smart e-learning.