New South African LTE-A network roll-out progressing well

The roll-out of Multisource’s new LTE-A network is progressing “reasonably well” and the company will migrate existing iBurst customers to the network when it has sufficient coverage.

Multisource, which acquired iBurst parent WBS in late 2015, Group CEO Duncan Simpson-Craib told MyBroadband they have placed additional orders with vendors and finalised the initial roll-out plan.

This will take them to the end of March, he said.

“We are optimistic that this will go as planned. We are still in the process of finalising the second phase to end October, but again are confident that the planned schedule will be met,” said Simpson-Craib.

He said the iBurst migration project, where iBurst subscribers will be migrated to the new network, is also progressing nicely.

“We have had several rounds of communication with the existing base, with a special offer sign-up deal for them.”

“This has been received positively and once we have sufficient coverage we will start migrating them across in an orderly manner.”

Accelerated network roll-out through Vodacom agreement

To build a new network from scratch can be challenging and time-consuming, which led WBS to sign a lease agreement with Vodacom.

The agreement will see WBS lease aspects of Vodacom’s sites and facilities.

Harris said they will have at least 500 sites active on Vodacom’s network by March 2017, 2,000 by the end of 2017, and 5,000 by 2020.

“In addition to these base stations, we are planning to have a further 5,000 sites in operation on our own sites and sites of other telcos and tower companies in the same time frame,” said Harris.

He said network equipment will be acquired from equipment vendors, which will assist with installation and management of the network.

Huawei and Nokia will build most of the new WBS LTE-Advanced network. It is not an exclusive agreement, though, which means equipment from other providers may be used.

Now read: Great broadband news for South Africans

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New South African LTE-A network roll-out progressing well