Ericsson partners with MTN to launch LTE

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Magnus Mchunguzi, MD Ericsson SA

Ericsson has partnered with MTN South Africa for the roll-out of an LTE network in Johannesburg.

Ericsson has a long standing relationship with MTN SA that began in 1993 when the mobile operator established offices in South Africa.
“We’ve been MTN’s leading supplier from that period,” says Magnus Mchunguzi, Ericsson MD.

Speaking with ITNewsAfrica at the company’s Woodmead offices in Johannesburg, South Africa, Ericsson’s business leader discussed the company’s African business plans, his disillusionment with the continent’s digital advancement and the steady growth of technology in the continent.

Ericsson witnessed MTN’s progress from 2G to 2.5G when MTN introduced GPRS, then 2.5G+ when MTN moved to EDGE.
“Ericsson was the first company to provide 3G to MTN SA.”


LTE network

An LTE network (Long Term Evolution) offers high speeds for data usage. “In phase 2 of the digitization of the mobile industry, it was purely voice driven and when we went to 2.5G, we were trying to provide voice over packet and it wasn’t an efficient delivery of data, but LTE provides a platform to deliver data more efficiently without latency” says Mchunguzi”.

Mchunguzi says there’s a vast difference between HSPA and LTE. At peak speeds, a user gets 42Mbps for downloading sessions and about 5Mbps for uploading – if you reside next to a base station.
“ When you move into LTE the speed increases to 60 Mbps all the way to 1.2Gb download time. These days, people don’t want to wait too long for a movie to buffer,” says Mchunguzi.

LTE benefits for Africa

“Africa has a legacy problem in that we never had a fixed network. In that respect LTE will afford Africans the opportunity to get the service they want in order to experience the Internet.”

“In Africa, LTE is the answer for areas without a fixed line service. LTE is evolving quickly and we’re ripping into the future”, concludes the Ericsson MD.

Bontle Moeng