Who is the best LTE provider in SA? The battle heats up

robinjohnobrien

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The speeds the networks demonstrate seem to be far from the real world speeds. I have an LTE enabled phone and I am yet to see a speedtest come back with anything higher than 10mbps. On average it is around 7-8mbps. Granted, thats not on full signal, but I am again yet to see more than two bars when connected to LTE.

I used my Galaxy Nexus inside Vodawold and attained higher than 10mbps and that phone was not LTE enabled.

One other things, My phone displays '4G' when connected to the LTE network. iirc LTE != 4G. LTE advanced is the 4G standard. (little things like that tend to annoy me haha)
 
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robinjohnobrien

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iirc 4G is LTE Advanced. Telkom mentioned that what they have is a pre-LTE advanced network. So they may definitely be heading the '4G' way, but the 200mbps download is still far from the true LTE advanced speeds. I may be wrong in what I have just said though. If any one knows better, please contribute. :)
 

tnt11

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I dunno what the hype with LTE is really. 3G/HSPA is good enough for when I'm not in the office. FTTH and why LTE?
 

robinjohnobrien

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I dunno what the hype with LTE is really. 3G/HSPA is good enough for when I'm not in the office. FTTH and why LTE?

I agree with you. I would like more consistent HSPA connections and 10mbps adsl is more than enough! If I can stream a full HD video with out worrying about buffering then I am happy. It should be possible on the 3G/HSPA connections, but in some cases I can't even stream a video on 144p using a 3G connection. All the effort seems to be expended on the LTE side of things. How does network load factor into all this? Its one thing having LTE running in a closed demo at massive speeds, but add a few people and the speeds are far from what is expected.
 

jannievanzyl

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In mobile spectrum = speed. So (with 60MHz) Telkom should have the fastest LTE network and as Amith demonstrated they can get over 100Mb/s without a problem (the 200Mb/s used a fair amount of trickery so it's not really a consumer offer. Even though it's damn impressive). As an ADSL replacement, the Telkom network is a great option. As a *mobile* network, the use of 2.3GHz is a limiting factor.

As a proper *mobile* network, i.e. one your Sammy and iThing will work on, it's between MTN and Vodacom at the moment, with both using 1800MHz.

To those who keep on making the mistake thinking that top speed demos is what you should expect; it does not work that way. The speed you see in these demos (I've demo'd 125Mb/s on Vodacom LTE before) is the max speed that then must then be shared between many people. Just the way it works. But it is a clear demo of the capability of the technology.
 

jannievanzyl

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I dunno what the hype with LTE is really. 3G/HSPA is good enough for when I'm not in the office. FTTH and why LTE?
Many good reasons why LTE is preferred over 3G, better spectral efficiency, flatter IP structure, etc.

The cars you could buy 30 years ago (a VW Beetle, for example) are more than good enough to get you from point A to point B, right?
 
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robinjohnobrien

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In mobile spectrum = speed. So (with 60MHz) Telkom should have the fastest LTE network and as Amith demonstrated they can get over 100Mb/s without a problem (the 200Mb/s used a fair amount of trickery so it's not really a consumer offer. Even though it's damn impressive). As an ADSL replacement, the Telkom network is a great option. As a *mobile* network, the use of 2.3GHz is a limiting factor.

As a proper *mobile* network, i.e. one your Sammy and iThing will work on, it's between MTN and Vodacom at the moment, with both using 1800MHz.

To those who keep on making the mistake thinking that top speed demos is what you should expect; it does not work that way. The speed you see in these demos (I've demo'd 125Mb/s on Vodacom LTE before) is the max speed that then must then be shared between many people. Just the way it works. But it is a clear demo of the capability of the technology.


Thanks for the info! I understand that the demos are the "best case" scenario on an empty network. What is a real world average estimate for a new smartphone running on MTN or Vodacoms LTE network?
 

robinjohnobrien

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Many good reasons why LTE is preferred ver 3G, better spectral efficiency, flatter IP structure, etc.

The cars you could buy 30 years ago (a VW Beetle, for example) are more than good enough to get you from point A to point B, right?

100% but the cars of 20years ago could still do 120km/h. The newer ones are more fuel efficient. So is LTE a drive for added speed for the consumer or more efficient use of the network allowing for more data to move around?
 

tnt11

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Many good reasons why LTE is preferred over 3G, better spectral efficiency, flatter IP structure, etc.

The cars you could buy 30 years ago (a VW Beetle, for example) are more than good enough to get you from point A to point B, right?

Yeah, I hear you. I'd just prefer it without the speed hype as the selling point when it's not entirely accurate, consistent or readily available.
 

jannievanzyl

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Thanks for the info! I understand that the demos are the "best case" scenario on an empty network. What is a real world average estimate for a new smartphone running on MTN or Vodacoms LTE network?

On MTN? you'd be lucky to get 1Mb/s.......just kidding, can't speak for them but it should be similar to Vodacom.

On Vodacom, speedtest.net reports an average of 15Mb/s but I'd say anthing from about 6Mb/s up to 12Mb/s in a busy area and 15Mb/s+ in underused areas. On a Saturday morning, in Sandton City, I've seen 12 to 14Mb/s.

But, in general, if we can give everyone a consistent 3Mb/s, I think it's a job well done. That's more than fast enough for even high-def video on a Smartphone screen. That's the whole idea of moving to better technologies, we can give more people a better experience, i.e. share the love.
 

robinjohnobrien

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On MTN? you'd be lucky to get 1Mb/s.......just kidding, can't speak for them but it should be similar to Vodacom.

On Vodacom, speedtest.net reports an average of 15Mb/s but I'd say anthing from about 6Mb/s up to 12Mb/s in a busy area and 15Mb/s+ in underused areas. On a Saturday morning, in Sandton City, I've seen 12 to 14Mb/s.

Awesome, so the 10Mb/s that I get on average is decent. It makes good sense.

But, in general, if we can give everyone a consistent 3Mb/s, I think it's a job well done. That's more than fast enough for even high-def video on a Smartphone screen. That's the whole idea of moving to better technologies, we can give more people a better experience, i.e. share the love.

I agree, new technology to make it easier for everyone to get a share of the experience, but the marketing is all about the speeds. Maybe I am interpreting it incorrectly but then again marketing is a tool to sell, and many people are hungry for more speed... (for what? I don't know haha)
 

jannievanzyl

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Yeah, I hear you. I'd just prefer it without the speed hype as the selling point when it's not entirely accurate, consistent or readily available.

Top speed demos are still valuable (not to mention very cool!), I think. it shows technology improves and there's a trickle-down process. Up the outright speed and the average speeds also goes up and you and me browse that much better.

If you see someone using outright top speed as a selling point, do give them a good klap. It's not what it's about. A publication like myBB will always report top speeds, just like Car magazine will. But's always important to see the report in context.
 

jannievanzyl

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100% but the cars of 20years ago could still do 120km/h. The newer ones are more fuel efficient. So is LTE a drive for added speed for the consumer or more efficient use of the network allowing for more data to move around?
Both, but actually more the second one. As already said, today an average of 3 to 5Mb/s will give a great Smartphone experience but we need to accomodate the massive influx of people using mobile as their primary internet connection. That means a few things;

1. More spectrum - we can't make this, it can only be allocated to us. Thus me bitching about it at every opportunity.
2. Better use of spectrum - this is why we're rolling out LTE and eventually 4G.

But an allocation of some of the wasted spectrum out there will have a much bigger impact than the costly option of replacing the network and all the phones. Getting a block of spectrum will cost R0, switching to LTE will cost R50B to the mobile operators and all of you R7K each.

See why I bitch about spectrum allocation? :)
 
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Dan C

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“We will continuously grow our LTE network. By June 2014 our entire network will be LTE ready,”

Eish sounds too good to be true, well time will tell I guess.
 

Decotey

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"He said that Telkom has over 1,000 live LTE sites in South Africa’s major cities, using their 60Mbps of spectrum in the 2,300Mhz band."

What does 60Mbps of spectrum mean? I'm assuming that should be 60MHz
 
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