MTN taps up Ericsson for LTE network in South Africa

MTN has chosen equipment vendor Ericsson to launch its LTE network in South Africa, which following a year-long trial is now live in the Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban areas. LTE has not been deployed in the city of Cape Town at present.

Ericsson said that it has provided all aspects of the network including its RBS 6000 family of base stations, the Evolved Packet Core, the Home Subscriber Server (HSS) for user data management, and Operating Support Systems (OSS), as well as project management and support services.

Lars Lindén, head of Region Sub-Saharan Africa at Ericsson, said in a statement: “This will open countless opportunities and will change the way people work, live and play. The commercial deployment of LTE will help users experience and interact in a better, more efficient way.”

Lambo Kanagaratnam, MTN South Africa chief technology officer said in a statement: “MTN’s first LTE network will enable our South African customers an experience that is more efficient and seamless.”

MTN said that the network was capable of up to 70Mbps but actual speeds in loaded areas would be between 7-20Mbps.

To support the launch MTN is offering the LTE Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 with a 2GB TopUp contract for R799.00 per month, with more devices to come in early 2013.

At the recent AfricaCom conference MTN South Africa’s CTO Kanagaratnam Lambotharan said that as the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands were not available it was forced to refarm 1800MHz 2G spectrum to launch its LTE network, but in order to ensure sufficient network performance it could only do this where it had 2x10MHz spectrum blocks.

The LTE Africa conference is taking place on the 16th-17th July 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. Click here to download the flyer for the event.

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