African operators kick off LTE trials

July 27, 2011 • Top Stories

Magnus Mchunguzi, MD Ericsson SA

Ericsson is currently conducting Long Term Evolution (LTE) trials with a number of African mobile operators including Econet, Movicel and Unitel.

This is according Magnus Mchunguzi, Ericsson South Africa Managing Director.
“It is interesting that for the first time in Africa a lot of operators are asking for LTE, perhaps not on a large scale but as a trial offer. A lotof companies are trying to offer LTE on a network shared level,” says Mchunguzi.

“There is definitely a lot of movement in the LTE environment, he adds.”

Ease of deployment

Ericsson’s base stations have reduced the cost of deploying new broadband technology.

“One can get 2G, 3G, HSPA, and LTE on one base station. In the past if you wanted to offer new technology, you had to remove the hardware and install a new one. The cost of deploying new technology was very high. Today this will be driven purely by software updates. The platform remains the same and you simply update the software,” says Mchunguzi.

Ericcson is fully LTE ready according to Magnus: “Our new base stations, known as multi-standard radios, that are already offering 3G and HSPA have been deployed, we just need to update the software and they will be LTE ready.”

MTN pilot implementation

In early July 2011, MTN South Africa in partnership with Ericsson launched its LTE network in the Gauteng area of South Africa.
MTN SA’s Chief Technology Officer Kanagaratnam Lambotharan said the launch would give selected MTN customers a glimpse of the future.

“Being the first operator in Africa to launch an LTE pilot network of this scale is a reaffirmation of MTN’s vision to be the leading telecoms operator in emerging markets and emphasises our technology and innovation leadership in mobile communications.

On MTN’s investment in technology he says: “Full deployment of LTE in future will allow MTN to maximize its infrastructure investment to provide its subscribers with a quality experience that is richer, faster and with significantly more capacity than that provided currently.”

Bontle Moeng

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