Telkom’s LTE network has seen major growth over the last year, and its recent roaming agreement with Vodacom will allow it deliver even better performance to customers.
The operator’s fixed LTE product has also grown, and Telkom continues to expand its 4G coverage across the country.
However, Telkom’s LTE network is different from that of other operators – a fact which can be noted from its relatively slow upload speeds.
MyBroadband’s network performance tests show that while Telkom’s LTE download speeds compete with those of other operators, its upload speeds are notably lower.
This is due to Telkom’s use of Time Division Duplex (TDD) technology, instead of the Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) technology used by other LTE network operators.
TDD vs FDD
MTN, Vodacom, and Cell C use FDD technology for their LTE networks, allocating two separate communications channels to upload and download traffic respectively.
A guard band of spectrum occupies the space between these channels, ensuring there is no interference between transmission and reception.
FDD uses around twice the spectrum required by TDD, and requires upload and download transmission to be synchronous – translating to similar upload and download speeds for users.
Telkom, however, uses a TDD-based LTE network, which uses a single frequency band to receive and transmit data.
This is accomplished by switching between transmitting and receiving operations every few bytes of data.
TDD does not require a guard band, nor does it require synchronous operations. This means that more time can be allocated to download operations than upload communications, resulting in higher download speeds for users.
By deploying a TDD LTE network, Telkom can deliver the same speeds as other operators while using spectrum more efficiently.
Telkom’s TDD network
Telkom told MyBroadband that it is constantly upgrading its network to ensure customers get the best speed on both the LTE TDD and fixed-wireless network, and it was pleased with performance metrics.
“Telkom has greatly expanded the footprint of TDD coverage in FY19 and we will continue to expand LTE TDD coverage nationwide, including for key areas and traffic hotspots,” it said.
User throughput was nearly doubled following the deployment of TDD, the company added.
“TDD LTE offers the flexibility to allocate bandwidth to downlink and uplink traffic. In practical terms, TDD LTE enables for higher capacity for downlink speeds and bandwidth,” said Telkom.
Telkom said its strategy is to roll out a strong data network, and it will therefore continue to focus on its TDD network – which has proven to deliver fast speeds.
Telkom said it has also has invested millions of rand in carrier aggregation, which enables customers to experience higher network speeds: around double the speed compared to sites without carrier aggregation.