SA’s largest mobile operator – and first of the four to light up long-term evolution (LTE) sites for commercial use – has multiplied its LTE presence with more enabled base stations and devices.
Vodacom said yesterday that it has grown its LTE infrastructure threefold – tripling the number of LTE-enabled base stations on its network from just under 70 at launch last month, to over 200, in Johannesburg. In addition, says the operator, LTE tests have kicked off in Cape Town.
Zunaid Dinath, Vodacom chief officer of sales and distribution, says LTE (new generation mobile technology with the capability of operating at speeds up to three times faster than 3G) represents a step change in mobile capabilities.
“Thanks to faster speeds, we’re able to unlock the true potential of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. LTE has the ability to deliver stutter-free video and almost instantaneous music and picture downloads.”
Vodacom has also started to address one of the major problems with LTE in SA – the lack of compatible devices. Three devices are now available at Vodacom World, in Midrand, and selected Vodacom outlets across Gauteng: the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, Vodafone K5006 and Alcatel One Touch L100V LTE dongle modems.The Samsung Galaxy S3 is available at R449 per month on a Smart Standard 229 package, while both modems are available on six of Vodacom’s “Mofaya” contracts, from Mofaya MyMeg 500 to Mofaya MyGig 10 – from R129 to R749 per month.
Dinath says, while LTE devices are still in short supply worldwide, the operator is confident customers will have a broad selection of LTE devices “in the near future”.
The LTE devices will automatically switch to the 3G network when LTE coverage is not available.
Vodacom’s LTE service went live on a commercial basis on 10 October – initially with 70 base stations. At the time the group lit up 52 sites, and said it aimed for 500 (out of its total 9 000 base stations) by year-end.
The LTE service is currently available to Vodacom Contract customers and will be available to top-up and prepaid customers in 2013.
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