The device below is a MTN Turbonet Router. It is an internet device capable of delivering 4G internet speeds to devices connected to it.
The device can handle 32 simultaneous users connected to it.
This device, for many reasons, has actually got me excited for the potential of 5G in Ghana in the coming years.
What Is The Big Deal With 5G?
It’s been a couple of years since MTN Ghana activated their 4G services in Ghana. It was a clear upgrade from the 3G speeds and definitely delivered on its promise of faster speeds and better performance.
It wasn’t long until 5G has come to lots of people’s attention. It’s almost impossible to escape the news of 5G, from tech journalists testing speeds in the US and Britain to China trying to get ahead and be the leaders in the 5G space.
With 5G, it’s another massive upgrade which would actually change how lots of things work.
5G speeds have been reported to be about 20x times faster than 4G. While 4G has peak speeds of about 1Gps, 5G speeds can be high as 20 Gbps.
So what does MTN’s Turbonet have to do with this?
Limited Home Broadband and Fiber Connectivity
Not all areas in Accra have been equipped with fiber cables to deliver broadband or fiber internet to households. Those without access to home internet usually resort to MiFi devices, mobile routers, dongles or hot-spotting their phones for internet connectivity at home.
At the moment, a Turbonet device can provide speeds of 49 Mbps in areas where MTN’s network is present.
Currently, all you need is the router with an MTN SIM card and you basically have near fiber speeds from a mobile router unit.
Although the TurboNet is not capable of 5G, there are upcoming routers which are 5G capable. So it’s not far fetched to get 5G speeds in a device similar to the Turbonet.
Basically, speeds of 49 Mbps at home could easily get 200 Mbps which will far surpass broadband speeds.
No cables. No home fiber installation. Just high speeds from a mobile router.
But There Needs To Be Groundwork
Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has said Ghana is at the threshold of moving from 4G to the 5G spectrum for mobile networks.
Ursula Owusu stated that the deployment of 5G should be viewed by telecommunication companies as an evolution that builds on all spectrum asset adding that service providers need to be able to make the best use of the latest internet innovation.
The Communication Minister has argued that although it will take a while for Africa to experience the full potential of 5G, her ministry is in talks with some mobile phone brands to begin with trials in Ghana.
In order to get 5G speeds, Telcom operators are going to have to install 5G nodes (or mini towers) at close distances. 5G internet works on a high frequency and therefore its signals are shorter. That means nodes or mini-towers would have to be closer to each other for optimum connectivity.
Don’t be surprised to be seeing little 5G nodes on light poles in your area if 5G trials are ever to begin.
5G is still far away but testing is already ongoing in some Africa countries. South Africa reportedly has some areas already live with 5G networks.
For now, it’s a waiting game. But if MTN’s Turbonet device has proved anything, it’s that future internet speeds are going to be crazy fast.