By Mark Kawalya
Huawei, a Chinese equipment vendor, in collaboration with MTN Uganda, has launched what they say is Uganda’s first 5G industrial use case at the Hima Cement Company.
The launch of the 5G network will allow high-bandwidth, low-latency connectivity as well as connecting a high concentration of devices.
“5G will enable real-time data transmission in the production area. Harnessing edge computing, 5G will significantly improve the production efficiency of the factory,” Huawei said in a statement.
Sylvia Mulinge, CEO of MTN Uganda, while speaking about the project, said, “Today marks another big milestone in our journey to deploy a technology that will accelerate the realization of Uganda’s economic potential and unlock wealth creation opportunities for its people.”
Although MTN has not officially launched 5G in Uganda, the company has been running proofs of concept with partners since 2020. Commercially, 5G will be launched in Uganda after the regulator allocates spectrum to local operators.
“MTN Uganda is ready, and the network is primed to roll out 5G as soon as we get the regulatory tools and approvals to do so,” Mulinge added.
Airtel Uganda, MTN’s competitor, made an upgrade to make its core network 5G-ready and started testing 5G at 11 mobile towers in Kampala.
During the launch at the Hima Cement Factory, Huawei and MTN demonstrated two application scenarios for 5G technologies.
Test One involved virtual reality training on environmental health and safety (EHS) which focused on the safety of trainers and trainees as they worked in areas of the plant that were accident-prone. Test two compared the latency speeds of 4G- and 5G enabled surveillance cameras.
“The results were clearly noticeable, with the near-5G network enabling near-instantaneous live feeds with minimal latency, while the 4G camera suffered from lags and delays,” MTN Uganda explained in a statement.
“The use of 5G technology is set to revolutionize the way businesses operate in Uganda, bringing greater efficiency and productivity to industries and commerce in general,” the telco added.
Jean-Michel Pons, Hima Cement’s country CEO, said the partnership would enable the cement company to see what’s possible with 5G technology and “explore automated and data-driven solutions to make our industrial operations more sustainable.”