MTN South Africa, the country’s second largest cellco by subscribers, has announced that it is trialling 42Mbps HSPA+ in the Sandton area, as part of its ongoing investigation into achieving higher wireless broadband speeds. According to a report on MyBroadband.co.za, MTN South Africa’s chief technical officer Lambo Kanagaratnam has indicated that the operator has deployed ‘tens’ of live 42Mbps sites in the Sandton area; the network utilises frequency in the 2.1GHz spectrum band and equipment provided by Ericsson. According to Kanagaratnam, the trials have yielded real world speeds of between 60% and 70% of the theoretical maximum, with peak downlink speeds of 35Mbps achieved thus far.
The website quoted an unnamed MTN spokesman, who confirmed: ‘We are currently conducting trials in our live network on various sites in the Sandton central business district. This is to proof-test the technology in the network and to understand the market dynamics and applications that will require these high throughputs’. In the meantime, Kanagaratnam has confirmed that MTN will be aggressively growing its 21Mbps HSPA+ footprint in 2011, investing heavily in fibre to provide adequate backhaul capacity to support the higher transmission speeds.