Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub announced at the MyBroadband Conference 2012 that Vodacom’s LTE service had been officially switched on and was open for business.
Vodacom’s LTE service is initially available in Johannesburg, with other cities to follow in the near future.
“Vodacom was the first network in SA to test LTE more than two years ago, and since then we’ve been busy upgrading base stations and our fibre-optic transmission network in preparation for today,” said Joosub.
“It’s great to claim another South African first for Vodacom with the launch of LTE services to the public, and it’s even more pleasing that we’ve done this ahead of many other advanced economies around the world.”
LTE represents a major jump in mobile connectivity capabilities. The service has the potential to operate at more than double the speed of any existing mobile connection available commercially in South Africa.
“Higher speed and lower latency translate into a more stable user experience with stutter-free video and almost instantaneous music and picture downloads,” Vodacom said.
Contract customers with LTE capable devices can activate the service from today by calling 111 or visiting any Vodacom shop.
LTE capable devices will be on sale in selected Vodacom outlets before the end of October, with priority going to existing Vodacom customers.
“LTE devices are in short supply world-wide, but thanks to Vodafone’s global purchasing power we’re confident that Vodacom will have the best possible selection in stores in the very near future,” said Joosub.
Commenting on Vodacom’s intention to be the first choice for anyone looking to connect via this new technology, Joosub said their LTE service will initially be accessible via more than 50 base stations in Johannesburg. A coverage map is available on the Vodacom website.
“Further announcements will be made with respect to the network roll-out plans in due course,” said Vodacom.
“Switching on commercial LTE services is just one step in a much bigger network transformation. With over 9,000 base stations, Vodacom already has by far the most extensive network in South Africa and on average delivers faster connection speeds,” said Joosub
“Our challenge isn’t keeping ahead of the other operators – it’s keeping ahead of the tidal wave of data demand. Ninety percent of our 3G base stations are 21.6Mbps enabled, and almost 80% are 43.2Mbps enabled.”
Joosub added that by the end of the year they aim to have 500 sites enabled for LTE with a theoretical speed capability of over 100 Mbps.