Speaking at the LTE Africa conference in Cape Town, Charnley said mass broadband access in Africa is the reason Smile Communications rolled out LTE networks in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria and will soon launch one in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“We believe that people in Africa, whether as individuals, in households, in SMEs or in big corporates, want and deserve high quality, reliable and fast broadband access,” said Charnley.
Charnley said people want access to broadband in a way that is affordable to them.
“LTE is the only technology fast enough to truly open the doors to the digital revolution,” she said. “LTE specifically in the 800 megahertz band... that we use, provides by far the best coverage in doors and in built-up areas.”
She said LTE wireless is the most cost effective basis for both building and operating a mobile broadband network, and has the fastest growing ecosystem for end user devices.
“LTE is the evolving standard for at least the next ten years,” she said.
Charnley said she could summarise Smile Communications’ strategy in two words: “customer experience.”
Part of Smile Communication's business model is not to try and be “everything to everybody”, meaning the company elects to partner with other industry experts. The company also engages in infrastructure sharing.
“This is more efficient than building our own towers. It allows us to use local experts and it is also friendly to the environment. We make our own infrastructure available on an open access wholesale basis,” said Charnley.
“The operating environment is becoming much more conducive for LTE in Africa. The future looks bright. The rate at which LTE devices are becoming available is far exceeding... 3G devices.”