Vodacom Launches LTE Services in South Africa
Vodacom’s LTE service had been officially switched on and was open for business. Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said that the service is initially available in Johannesburg, with other cities to follow in the near future.
Joosub said “Vodacom was the first network in SA to test LTE more than two years ago, and since then we’ve been busy upgrading base stations and our fibre-optic transmission network in preparation for today.”
Commenting on Vodacom’s intention to be the first choice for anyone looking to connect via this new technology, Joosub said “LTE devices are in short supply world-wide, but thanks to Vodafone’s global purchasing power we’re confident that Vodacom will have the best possible selection in stores in the very near future.”
The LTE service will initially be accessible via approximately 70 base stations in Johannesburg, with plans to have 500 sites upgraded by the end of this year.
Speaking about the factors constraining Vodacom, Joosub said “We’ll be rolling out LTE services using existing spectrum, but to unlock the full potential of this technology and transform connectivity in South Africa, we still need additional spectrum to be released by ICASA.”
Joosub said “Switching on commercial LTE services is just one step in a much bigger network transformation. With over 9,000 base stations, Vodacom already has by far the most extensive network in South Africa and on average delivers faster connection speeds. Our challenge isn’t keeping ahead of the other operators – it’s keeping ahead of the tidal wave of data demand. Ninety percent of our 3G base stations are 21.6 Mbps enabled, and almost 80% are 43.2 Mbps enabled.”