MTN says its collaborations with Ericsson on fifth-generation (5G) connectivity suggest the new technology could be used to raise mining safety standards.The mobile operator expects 5G to become commercialised in SA in late 2019 or 2020, in line with international time frames.In addition to ultra-fast network connectivity, 5G will mean lower latency — or delays in transferring data — which is crucial for enabling technologies such as driverless cars, remote surgery and augmented reality. It could also improve safety in the local mining industry, which recorded 73 fatalities in 2016.In response to questions about 5G enabling driverless vehicles and "smart ventilation" in the mining industry, which contributes 8% of SA’s GDP, MTN said: "In underground areas, where safety conditions are unclear or questionable, mining vehicles can be deployed remotely and controlled by skilled operators from the safety of the surface."Automated mining vehicles, controlled from a centralised server usin...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now