Supersonic has announced the first commercial installation of its new wireless broadband solution – AirFibre – was performed on Monday.
The first commercial rollouts will now start in Soweto, Mamelodi, Fairlands, and Honeydew.
AirFibre will offer customers fibre-like connectivity, with uncapped data at consistent download speeds of between 5Mbps and 100Mbps.
It uses cutting-edge radio technology which is capable of data transfer on existing open spectrum frequencies, which can lower the cost to serve customers.
The user will have an A4-sized antenna installed at their home, which will communicate with radios fitted to existing MTN mobile towers connected to fibre backhaul and the Internet.
Supersonic managing director Calvin Collet said the demand for AirFibre has been nothing short of amazing and reflected the critical need for high quality Internet across the country.
“With AirFibre, we have found a cost-effective solution to help close the digital divide,” Collett said.
“The use of open spectrum frequencies potentially has the risk of incurring interference, however, this technology is designed to cancel out that interference using specialised algorithms.”
The ISP first launched an interest-gauging site for the AirFibre service in February.
Since then, it has received more than 20,000 expressions of interest. It aims to connect 60,000 homes within the first year.
Uncapped wireless services are typically very expensive in South Africa when compared to fixed options.
The problem is that fibre rollouts have been limited primarily to metropolitan areas.
“The unfortunate reality is that while virtually all urban areas in the world are covered by a mobile broadband network, worrying gaps in connectivity and internet access persist outside of the cities and in rural areas,” said Collett.
The innovative solution has been necessitated by low availability of spectrum in South Africa.
MTN has previously repurposed frequency bands that have historically been allocated for 2G mobile services (using GSM technology) for a new generation of mobile technologies, including both third generation (using UMTS technology) and fourth generation (using LTE technology).
“This is a globally acknowledged and successful way to repurpose spectrum bands to more efficient technologies or new services,” said MTN.
“You can expect to see these trends expand further in the future, with the open spectrum solution the first iteration in many exciting solutions to come in the digital services arena,” MTN added.