MTN starts work on LTE network in Gauteng

10 May 2011

According to TechCentral, MTN South Africa has commenced work on a pilot Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Gauteng, and aims to have around 100 base stations operational by the end of 2011. However, managing director Karel Pienaar has warned that it is likely to be several years before consumers can expect to experience the fruits of MTN’s labours for themselves, with LTE-compatible handsets and dongles not yet ready for mass-market deployment. Further, MTN and its fellow South African cellcos are still waiting for telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to stage its long-delayed spectrum auction for frequencies in the 2.6GHz band; in the interim period MTN is building out its LTE network using spectrum in the 1800MHz band, which is predominantly used for voice services. TeleGeography notes that rival operator Vodacom launched its own LTE trial in Midrand in June 2010, indicating that it hoped to deploy 4G technology on a commercial basis by the end of 2011.

South Africa, MTN South Africa