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MTN South Africa to launch high-speed LTE services

MTN South Africa could launch commercial LTE (Long Term Evolution) services, marketed as 4G LTE – a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals – before the end of 2012.

The possible launch of the LTE services was announced by Pyramid Research (PR), a firm that covers the global telecoms industry.

The South African operator is exploring the possibility of switching on a commercial LTE network this year and has identified three key urban cities to roll out the network, the company said in a statement obtained by PANA here, quoting MTN chief technology officer Kanagaratnam Lambotharan.

“Approximately 200 LTE test sites are currently live and the pilot is running on 10 MHz of re-farmed 1,800 MHz spectrum with speeds of 70 Mbps and a latency of under 15 milliseconds. The speed is almost twice as fast as any currently available on the market,” said Lambotharan.

MTN’s pilot network currently operates in clusters covering parts of Sandton, Fourways, Centurion, around Oliver R Tambo International Airport, and additionally in the vicinity of MTN head office in Roodeport. These will be expanding depending on spectrum re-farming efforts.

Meanwhile, LTE subscriptions globally have increased more than fourteen fold to 11.4m, and PR said it expects that figure to reach 54 million by year-end 2012, representing less than 1 percent of total subscriptions.

In its latest findings released late Thursday, PR said it expects that by 2017, the number of LTE subscriptions would reach 802.2 million, a 72 percent compound annual growth rate over 2012 levels, growing to almost 10 percent of global mobile subscriptions.

LTE is consolidating its position as the emerging global standard for 4G mobile broadband. 


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