June 2020-COVID 19 National Disaster Temporary Spectrum Allocation-MTN to join Rain and Vodacom in 5G rollout in South Africa


Are the emergency spectrum allocations being used to promote the sale of 5G enabled smartphones?

MTN’s 5G enabled phones are not cheap. Who will be able to afford these phones?

Who will really benefit from 5G?

We refer to our post from 2019: Who Will Benefit? South Africa, 4IR, Smart Cities, 5G (For Some?). This question is even more relevant today, considering the current state of hunger and unemployment in South Africa. https://www.emfsa.co.za/news/who-will-benefit-south-africa-4ir-smart-cities-5g-for-some/

EMFSA: at R20 000 per phone? A critical measure introduced by the regulations is the temporary release of high demand spectrum (HDS) for the duration of the national state of disaster in order to ease network congestion, maintain good quality of broadband services, and enable licensees to lower cost of access to consumers. https://www.icasa.org.za/news/2020/emergency-release-of-spectrum-to-meet-the-spike-in-broadband-services-demand-due-to-covid-19

The High Court in Pretoria has ruled that level 3 and 4 lockdown regulations are invalid and unconstitutional. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mtNqj91h3c

On the 6th of April 2020 ICASA made the following International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum bands available for temporary assignment: 700MHz, 800MHz, 2300MHz, 2600MHz and 3500MHz bands. https://www.icasa.org.za/news/2020/emergency-release-of-spectrum-to-meet-the-spike-in-broadband-services-demand-due-to-covid-19

6th May 2020: SA’s big mobile operators, such as Vodacom and MTN, were unable to launch 5G services until more spectrum was licensed to them by the communications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA).



MTN’s initial launch was supposed to be from 1 June, but this has been delayed. MTN’s 5G will be available in SA in MTN’s LTE coverage areas and at LTE price points.

Current 4G devices will not be able to use the new network, which will require new 5G-enabled wireless devices. The service is only available in LTE coverage areas.

MTN is pushing Huawei’s P40 and P40 Pro as its first 5G-capable devices on its network.

P40: Huawei Pro R R20,000 – 25,089.00

P40: Huawei P40 R16,999 – R17,000


The emergency spectrum allocations can be used until either three months after the national disaster period has ended or 30 November 2020.

7 million projected job losses due to Covid-19 in South Africa


Hunger numbers: Millions, millions, millions need food https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-05-08-hunger-numbers-millions-millions-millions-need-food/


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