South Africa to get commercial LTE services by the end of 2012

mobile4  gailjadehamiltonMTN and 8ta will both launch commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in South Africa providing a major boost to mobile broadband speeds in the country

Africa’s largest telecommunications provider, MTN, and South Africa’s newest mobile network, 8ta, will make the LTE services available by the end of 2012 and sometime in 2013 respectively.

MTN launched a LTE pilot in clusters around Gauteng in July 2011 with an aim of “revolutionising broadband provisioning in South Africa”.

The chief technology officer at MTN SA, Kanagaratnam Lambotharan, said, “MTN is exploring the possibility of switching on commercial LTE network within 2012 and has identified three key urban cities to roll out the network. Pricing has not been finalised yet.”

“Approximately 200 LTE sites are currently live and the pilot is running on 10Mhz of re-farmed 1,800 MHz spectrum and boasts speeds of 70 Mbps. The speed is almost twice faster than currently available broadband speeds and allows quicker download and streaming,” Lambotharan added.

Although it is difficult to predict the real world performance of LTE, MTN was confident that LTE would give a great user experience.

8ta head Amith Maharaj recently said that the company was building an LTE network, but that it would take some time before the company was ready for a commercial launch. Current estimates pointed to 8ta’s LTE service launch in 2013.

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