Vodacom Congo (DRC) has revealed it's begun testing 5G technology the west African country.

However, in an interview with ITWeb Africa, the company has stated that its main focus is on expanding its existing 4G network coverage, and mobile money services.

Feature: Africa's 5G challenge

Democratic Republic of Congo
– Getty Images

In the interview, Vodacom DRC CEO Khalil Al Americani noted that the operator is currently testing 5G under the supervision of the country's regulator.

Like many operators have said about 5G, Al Americani said he expects the technology to drive use cases in the enterprise, plus IoT applications.

"There’s still a long way to go before we start rolling out 5G. It will necessitate a much denser mesh network of sites, because we’re using higher frequencies. As a result, major deployments and corresponding capex will be required," he said.

The operator has struggled with the deployment of mobile sites in the country, as the majority of its base stations are dependent on diesel generators for power.

Vodacom has seen the theft of its equipment for alternative energy solutions – such as solar power and lithium batteries – as a significant setback to its rollout program.

This has been a similar challenge for Vodacom in South Africa, with the telco outlining plans in September to combat the growing theft of its base station batteries, including the implementation of "enhanced security."