With the roll-out of multiple Long Term Evolution (LTE) projects and trials, South Africans can expect improved wireless communication of high-speed data for their mobile phones.
LTE operates at increased speeds that are faster than its predecessor 3G and will change people’s experience of the Internet.
Vodacom, one of South Africa’s leading mobile network providers, has installed more than 500 base stations across the country following a R3.2 billion (US$370 million) investment. At present Vodacom’s LTE service is only available to contract customers but Top-up and Prepaid customers can expect to be included in 2013.
Customers are required to use a 64K or a 128K SIM card for LTE. Those in areas not currently covered by Vodacom’s LTE service cankeep track on Vodacom’s website of the roll-out schedule. This will continue into the new year.
Another of South Africa’s mobile network providers, MTN, went live with their own LTE service in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban but no mention yet as to implementing it in Cape Town.
This year MTN modernised more than 1,600 base station sites and activated HSPA+ on almost 1,000 sites. MTN subscribers can expect to purchase LTE dongles and other mobile devices on contract in the first quarter of 2013
To date, Cell C has not launched their LTE commercially. Instead the mobile network provider launched two LTE sites in Johannesburg as a first phase trial project. Cell C will only launch their LTE service commercially when the network provider receives clarification from the government regarding their broadband plans.
HumanIPO reported in November Cell C CEO, Alan Knott-Craig, had called on the South African government to establish a singular unified telecoms network.
Before the end of this year, Cell C will have approximately 60 base sites with plans to roll out more into 2013.
8ta, South Africa’s youngest mobile network provider is currently running a LTE trial in Gauteng, which will end on March 31. 8ta gave customers the opportunity to participate. The trial service included a 50 gigabyte data bundle together with an LTE enabled device.
Once Vodacom has successfully covered the whole country with their LTE coverage, when MTN extends its LTE service to Cape Town, when Cell C is satisfied with the government’s broadband plans and when 8ta is ready to launch their LTE service commercially, South Africans might be able to enjoy the same mobile Internet quality as Europe and the USA and possibly by the end of 2013.