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MTN pilots LTE in South Africa

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MTN, the South African network operator, has announced that it has activated an LTE pilot program in Gauteng. The network consists of over 100 LTE sites and the operator said that these will all be activated in stages over the next few months.

Huawei and Ericsson are the equipment vendors for the pilot and selected customers will be provisioned with compatible dongles to take advantage of the improved network speeds. The network will use 10MHz of re-farmed 1800Mhz spectrum, and will achieve theoretical speeds of up to 70Mbps with latency of 15ms, which the operator said was twice as fast as what was currently available.

“Kanagaratnam Lambotharan, MTN South Africa’s chief technology officer said in a statement that: “Today’s pilot launch will give our customers a glimpse of what the future looks like. Being the first operator in Africa to launch a LTE pilot network of this scale is a reaffirmation of MTN’s vision to be the leading telecoms operator in emerging markets.” He also said that the pilot trial would enable MTN to gain experience of LTE and gain a competitive advantage over its rivals.

““Full deployment of LTE in future will allow MTN to maximize its infrastructure investment to provide its subscribers with a quality experience that is richer, faster and with significantly more capacity than that provided currently, ” he added.

MTN has invested 18bn RAND ($2.62bn) in infrastructure investment and says it puts up to 6bn RAND ($874m) in upgrading the network each year. MTN is the second largest mobile operator in South Africa, with 35.6 per cent of the market, according to Informa WCIS statistics.

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2 comments

  1. Justine Nofal 15/07/2011 @ 11:49 am

    This is great news. Good on MTN for staying ahead of the game by bringing this much-needed technology to South Africa.

  2. Motheto Selepe 15/07/2011 @ 3:45 pm

    It is interesting to see MTN ahead of the pack. South Africa like the rest of the matured markets is only venturing into LTE, while the competitor carriers are going the conventional evolution path in the country; it’s fantastic news that true unmatched, unrivalled whopping LTE data rates will see an exciting user experience for MTN subs. These are indeed exciting times…churn churn.

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