MTN LTE goes commercial in SA
MTN SA has gone live with the commercial availability of LTE (Long Term Evolution) in the Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban regions, promising to bring the consumer faster broadband speeds and a better Internet experience. As of 1 December 2012, South African consumers will be able to purchase LTE devices and access the revolutionary technology on the MTN network.
Says Kanagaratnam Lambotharan, Chief Technology Officer at MTN SA: “Having piloted LTE for some time now, we are confident that we have made significant milestones in providing access to this technology and are happy to be able to offer our customers the LTE experience over our world-class MTN network. To date, there are a limited number of devices that offer support for multiple LTE bands including legacy 2G and 3G support.”
With this launch, MTN is offering the LTE Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9” on a MTN 2GB TopUp contract for R799.00 per month, over 12 months.
Adds Lambotharan: “As we know, mobile users like to browse the Internet, share photos, download music and watch video clips and have therefore created a need for enhanced and uninterrupted experience for the Internet on the network, especially with video. This has resulted in the global move towards LTE. LTE is much faster than HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) and offers more capacity. We are proud to announce the commercial availability of LTE – which means video streaming with no interruptions, better conferencing and downloads, and overall faster Internet browsing for our consumers.”
For the initial rollout, consumers will have access to LTE in various areas of Pretoria (including Menlyn, Centurion, Pretoria East, Hatfield and Midrand), Johannesburg (Sandton, Rosebank, Fourways, Roodepoort, Fairlands, and O.R. Tambo International Airport) and Durban (Westville, Pinetown, Kloof, Hillcrest, Tongaat, Queensburgh, Amanzimtoti King Shaka International Airport & Umhlanga). MTN’s street level coverage map that shows areas with MTN LTE coverage can be viewed on the company’s website http://www.mtn.co.za/Travel/Pages/NationalCoverage.aspx by entering a street name.
This broadband evolution offers broadband speeds of up to 70mbps and consumers can expect speeds of between 7 and 20 Mbps on average, dependent on network conditions.
Adds Lambotharan; “LTE promises to offer an enhanced and seamless broadband data experience, lower latency and high spectral efficiency. This also means that a high number of data users can be serviced without compromising the quality of service they receive – a key mantra behind MTN’s customer service.”
As more mobile devices become available on the MTN network, MTN will communicate to the market, it is expected that from the first quarter of 2013, consumers can purchase LTE dongles and other mobile devices on Contract from selected MTN stores.
Continues Lambotharan: “Changes in mobile communications have always been evolutionary, and the deployment of LTE will be the same. It will be a transition from 3G to LTE over a period of several years (gradual process), as is the case still with the transition from 2G to 3G. The transition to LTE is more than a technology upgrade and needs to be approached correctly. While it has implications for product and service innovation and it will change how people consume data, it will also impact on the regulation of spectrum. It is for this reason, MTN has taken its time to make this technology commercially available – ensuring all factors have been considered to allow LTE to support the delivery of a holistic multimedia solution to consumers and business users alike.”
In addition to the launch of LTE, MTN has modernized over 1600 base station sites in preparation for LTE and activated HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access) on close to 1000 sites during 2012. It has re-farmed 2x 10MHz in 90% of its LTE sites which will provide faster connection speeds than other network systems which run 2X 5MHZ. The company has also made significant progress on its mobile broadband network deployment. MTN has increased its network footprint to almost a thousand 3G sites 2012 and to over 800 fibre optic cable sites in the same year.
“Our 2020 Broadband for all vision includes the provision up to 100Mbps to consumers in urban areas. MTN’s commercialisation of the technology is a quantum leap towards realising this vision. We continue to be focused on revolutionising broadband for South Africa – ensuring that broadband capacity is made available to all South Africans. We are proud to be announcing that, as of today, consumers can experience broadband access like never before with MTN LTE,” concludes Lambotharan.