African telecom operator, Smile Telecom, is partnering Alcatel-Lucent to unveil 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the firm announced here Thursday.
Alcatel-Lucent said the network would be the first in Africa to provide 4G LTE service in the 800 MHz frequency band.
Smile will tap businesses and consumers with super-fast, high-quality Internet access, initially in the principal commercial city and major seaport of Tanzania.
“Broadband has a significant impact on socio-economic development and through our presence in the country we hope to play an important role in improving the livelihood of Tanzanians,” said Tom Allen, chief operating officer of Smile. “There is huge demand for Internet connectivity in Tanzania and working with Alcatel-Lucent we are able to provide our customers with faster, better quality connections, resulting in ever more compelling services to satisfy their demands.”
According to Smile, its core platform will be integrated with Alcatel-Lucent’s network equipment operating in the 800 MHz frequency. Smile will benefit from lower capital costs.
The African mobile operator will also gain from a growing variety of LTE devices, including routers, dongles, handsets and tablets already on the market.
Alcatel-Lucent claims that it has more than 20 LTE contracts for commercial deployments including two of the largest LTE network roll-outs, and engagement in more than 70 LTE trials worldwide.
“Alcatel-Lucent has extensive expertise in delivering comprehensive mobile broadband services to meet the needs of many communities. We have a solid understanding of Smile’s needs and those of their customers. Our 4G LTE technology brings broadband services to many people that haven’t had access to such services in the past, helping drive economic growth in Tanzania and unlocking new revenue streams for Smile,” said Daniel Jaeger, vice president of Alcatel-Lucent activities in Africa.
Smile has rolled out 4G LTE services in several districts of Dar es Salaam, including Mikocheni, Msasani Peninsula, Oysterbay and Sinza. Broadband routers are used to access the services and have been installed in homes, offices and public places, such as shopping malls and Internet cafes.
Smile Telecom plans to extend coverage through Tanzania in 2012, followed by the launch of similar services in other three countries where Smile currently operates.