MTN launches first LTE LAA network in South Africa – Gets 400Mbps

MTN SA and Huawei have successfully trialled Africa’s first LTE Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) network.

The test was done in Pretoria.

MTN said LTE LAA is an “evolution of the LTE-Unlicensed mobile technology, which enables LTE to utilise unlicensed spectrum to significantly enhance network capacity”.

“The LTE LAA trial was completed by aggregating 15MHz of MTN’s licensed 2,100MHz spectrum with 40MHz of spectrum located within the unlicensed 5GHz band. This achieved a peak downlink throughput of over 400Mbps,” said MTN.

Giovanni Chiarelli, Chief Technology and Information Officer for MTN SA, said LTE LAA will be used for in-building LTE deployments.

“We hope that this LTE LAA will… ensure that our customers remain connected regardless of their location,” he said.

MTN said LTE LAA uses the “Listen Before Talk” functionality to enable it to coexist in the same area as Wi-Fi networks without degrading their performance.

“This functionality is the key difference between LTE LAA and the previous LTE-Unlicensed mobile technology.”

All tests were conducted on a non-commercial prototype device. MTN expects commercial devices which support LTE LAA to be available in the market later this year.

Now read: RICA challenged in South Africa

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MTN launches first LTE LAA network in South Africa – Gets 400Mbps