Telkom looks set to become the third South African telecom operator to launch a 5G mobile network in the coming weeks.

MyBroadband observed four speed tests recorded on Telkom’s 5G network on the MyBroadband Speed ​​Test app on Wednesday, October 12, 2022.

The tests related to two smartphones – a Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T and a Vivo V25 – in the Highveld region of Centurion, Gauteng.

Notably, this is also where the Telkom Park campus is located, suggesting the employees may have been testing as part of a limited trial.

The Redmi Note 9T recorded the highest speed, measuring 266.77 Mbps download and 45.44 Mbps upload. This same test recorded a latency of 12 ms.

We tried to find Telkom’s 5G network with a Samsung Galaxy S22+, but couldn’t retrieve it after searching the Highveld area. The Telkom campus is not open to the public, so we could only walk around its perimeter.

A Telkom said the network operator would announce more information about its 5G plans at an event “later this month.”

MyBroadband understands that Telkom is planning to hold an event on October 27, 2022.

Telkom has not confirmed if this event will mark the launch of its 5G network, or if it will just announce the official launch date.

Telkom has been testing its 5G network with gated sites in parts of the country for at least February 2021.

In August 2021the operator told MyBroadband that it will dramatically increase these sites from 10 to 60 locations by August 2022.

None of these sites were accessible to regular customers, as they were being optimized for commercial deployment.

Telkom has already upgraded its mobile core network to support non-standalone 5G radio technology, which uses 4G for control functions such as signaling.

Telkom told MyBroadband that it expects 5G access on its network to complement its LTE-Advanced connectivity and said it could account for 25-40% of connections by 2026.

Telkom will be third in mobile 5G, fourth overall

If the operator were to launch its 5G network later this month, it would come more than two years after Vodacom and MTN rolled out their 5G mobile networks.

South Africa’s two largest carriers have significantly expanded their coverage since then and seen speeds improve dramatically.

MTN, in particular, has accelerated its rollout in 2022 and has covered around 20% of the South African population with 5G from June 2022. It is aiming for 25% coverage by the end of the year.

Vodacom recently carried out a Amazing 2.4 Gbps download speed on a Samsung Galaxy S22+ with carrier aggregation technology that allowed it to dedicate a large portion of the radio frequency spectrum to a single device.

MyBroadband’s own testing on a Galaxy S22+ got us up to 1.8 Gbps on Fast.com, while a Vodacom engineer hit 2.0 Gbps on his Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Rain, which has extensive 5G coverage for fixed-location customers across South Africa, is also plans to roll out a 5G mobile network in the coming year.

The operator also filed a proposal with Telkom’s board of directors to buy Rain in exchange for shares.

He believes such a deal could have the potential to create a strong third mobile network operator and 5G “powerhouse” in South Africa.