The road to the 6G mobile network, is SA still in the back seat?

Vodacom Central Region 5G network Northern Cape Kimberley smartphones

Let’s look at South Africa’s readiness to accommodate 6G six years from now, why because even the country needs a nudge or slight reminder to grow and move forward even during times of uncertainty.

What is this 6G and why the fuss?

It was in May 2020 that Vodacom introduced the first 5G network across Africa, in partnership with Nokia.  The .3.5GHz launch of the network was available in three cities, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town.  MTN followed up with its launch in June that year.

Fast forward to 2023 and we have promises for unprecedented speeds and coverage to South Africa but it seems there are delays in rolling out the necessary infrastructure.  Slow movement from regulators coupled with slow processes at town planning departments predict an unwanted answer to the question is SA ready for 6G?

The role of the 5th generation mobile network was to connect virtually everyone and everything including machines, objects, and devices. It was also necessary in driving the fourth industrial revolution in the country. Improving the country’s quality of internet coverage is the wish, but approvals stuck at local council levels for lengthy periods, equal delayed wireless rollouts.

Back to the readiness for 6G

Getting ready for 6G has to be a team effort. The national government’s strategies must be in unison across the board, at local and national levels.  Hybrid work should be a clear sign of the technology moving into an era of ingenuity and it’s time the country understood.

What is 6G?

The simplest way to define 6G is the next step after 5G.  It is the sixth-generation mobile network predicted to be rolled out in the year 2030.  It’s important that we note that 6G is still a concept and still in the research phase and its impact is still speculative.

We can expect delays for 6G in South Africa considering infrastructure challenges not to mention challenges such as load shedding, but the 6G mobile network itself is a wonder.

A six 6G network will require massive amounts of power and with the current unresolved load shedding challenges we can expect a delay in 6G for the country when we factor in the reality that we still have 5G infrastructure challenges.

The fifth generation network was a hundred times faster than 4G, we can only imagine the speeds 6G will reveal with less latency.

The speeds in how we communicate and engage will be extraordinary, but this all depends on ICASA’s speed in saying yes to the proposal long term.

It’s clear that 6G for the country will require infrastructural resolution as well as needed investment in order for the country to shift into a new era.

Expected challenges

There are a number of challenges which could include security, infrastructure challenges, international coordination, and a massive price tag as cutting-edge technology does come with high costs.

The impact of 6G could include higher data rates as even faster data transfers will become a reality.  Think in the line of terabits per second which means instant downloads.

The era of 6Gwireless technology could mean fully autonomous vehicles including augmented and virtual reality.

With 6G we are more likely to see better more advanced automation between artificial intelligence and machine learning which will bring forward more improved holographic communication.

It’s important to note that 6G is still in the early stages of development and features and impacts are still speculative and it may be years before 6G networks are deployed on a global scale.

Countries such as Japan China, South Korea, and several parts of Europe are expected to be at the forefront of the 6G revolution.

Also read: Threads gets Edit option and a Voice Threads

Featured image: Unsplash/Gabriel Meinert



Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.