(Getty)
  • Vodacom's now has 5G coverage available in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town.
  • 5G promises 10 times faster download times than 4G.
  • For now, you can get 5G home internet from R899 a month.
  • Vodacom only offers 5G for a single mobile phone model.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider South Africa.

Vodacom has switched on its 5G mobile network in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town, after being assigned temporary spectrum by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), the mobile operator announced on Monday

Last month, Icasa allowed Vodacom and others emergency access to high-demand radio frequencies on an emergency basis. This included frequency allocations that operators have been begging for in order to roll out 5G services.

See also: SA’s 5G spectrum is now wide open to help fight Covid-19 – but only until November

5G is the "evolution" of 4G LTE, which is what currently allows South Africans to stream videos and run video conferences over mobile phones. It promises to outstrip its predecessors with download speeds of up to ten times faster.

Given enough spectrum, it will work at average speeds of 150Mbps to 200Mbps, and peak speeds will reach above 1Gbps. A full HD film will download in around 3 minutes (compared to over 15 minutes on 4G), says Vodacom.

The Vodacom network will support both mobile and fixed wireless services and is currently available on twenty live 5G sites, 18 of which are in Gauteng and 2 in Cape Town.

To check if you are in a 5G coverage area, click here

Customers can sign up for a 5G fixed internet plan, which starts at R899 a month for 100GB anytime data and 100GB "night owl" data (between midnight and 05:00), and that includes a Nokia router. The most expensive plan costs R1,799 a month for 400GB anytime and 400GB "night owl" data, with a Huawei router.

For now, mobile users can get Vodacom's 5G service if they have a LG V50 ThinQ, which will cost R13,499, or R699 a month over 24 months.

READ: You can now buy a 5G phone in SA for R13 600, you just an’t use it properly – yet

The deployment of 5G will help Vodacom manage the 40% increase in mobile network traffic and the 250% increase in fixed traffic experienced during the Covid-19 lockdown, it said.

The allocation of temporary spectrum by Icasa has already mitigated the network congestion experienced since the start of the lockdown period, says Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub.  

Last year, upstart service producer Rain became the first to launch 5G in South Africa.

Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.

Get the best of our site emailed to you daily: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: