MTN and 8ta to introduce LTE by end of 2012

Two South Africa-based mobile phone service providers MTN and 8ta are in the final stages of releasing Long Term Evolution (LTE) services for commercial use by the end of this year.

MTN South Africa chief technology officer Kanagaratnam Lambotharan said the company is planning to unveil LTE network for commercial purposes before the end of this year and that three urban cities have already been identified as suitable for the project.

“MTN hopes there will be an increase in broadband access through wireless services. Telecommunication networks should identify ‘high demand spectrum’ for the operation of LTE services for progression,” Lambotharan said.
It is expected that the introduction of LTE would lead to faster, reliable and affordable Internet connectivity in the country. In July last year, the company launched a pilot project in Gauteng South Africa.

Currently, there are 200 LTE live sites on 10Mhz of re-famed 1,800MHz spectrum with 70 Mbps speed and 15 latency operating in parts of Sandton, Fourways, Centurion, Tambo International Airport and Roodeport.
“The project will be of higher speed when you analyze the pilot plan. Our customers should expect faster speed than those in the market. Downloading and streaming of music, video or any data would be faster,” Lambotharan explained.
A statement from 8ta says the Cellular service provider firm is upgrading its radio access network (RAN) and transmissions links that will transmit data from the towers boosting the network in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, and Durban.
8ta’ managing director Amith Maharaj says the company’s LTE project will be ready for commercial services in 2013.
LTE provides standard wireless communication of mobile phones and data terminals on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network to increase the capacity and speed via new modulation techniques.

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