Telkom appears to be rolling out an update to its Huawei B315 routers which allows users to force the device to only connect to its LTE network in the 2,300MHz band.
It will also let you force the router to connect to Telkom’s LTE network in the 1,800MHz band, while retaining the standard network preferred modes the router came with.
When Telkom launched its LTE network in 2012, it only used spectrum in the 2,300MHz band – where it had 60MHz of bandwidth.
This gave the operator a large amount of capacity with which to offer high-speed wireless services, but was not supported by many smartphones at the time.
Modern flagship smartphones now typically support networks in the configuration and frequency Telkom’s original LTE service was deployed in, but lower-end devices typically do not.
In June 2016, Telkom reportedly started refarming its 1,800MHz spectrum, as older devices such as the LG G4 Stylus were suddenly displaying the “4G” symbol while connecting to its network.
Telkom did not respond to requests for comment on the Huawei B315 router update, but it can be assumed the spectrum refarming may have caused problems for certain subscribers.
Users who were previously connecting to Telkom’s 2,300MHz network may now find their routers automatically connecting to the 1,800MHz network, which has lower capacity and offers lower maximum speeds.
Update: Telkom comment
Since the publication of this article, Telkom has confirmed that it is currently rolling out a firmware update to all Huawei B315 LTE routers.
The current firmware version only allows customers to either set their modem to select 4G or 3G connection. The new firmware upgrade provides customers with the ability to select either LTE 1800 MHz band or LTE 2300 MHz band depending on which band provides better signal strength, quality, and speed.
“Telkom is in a position to provide its customers with LTE coverage using two LTE spectrum bands, LTE 1800MHz and LTE 2300 MHz bands,” said Telkom spokesperson Gugulethu Maqetuka.
“This allows Telkom to provide superior LTE service to its customers compared to its competitors based on the capacity of its spectrum.”
Maqetuka said that the refarming of the 1800MHz spectrum was done in order to increase the LTE capacity and footprint, and also to enable more devices to connect to the LTE network giving our customer better data service experience.
Telkom will be distributing the firmware upgrade systematically, Maqetuka said. To install it, you must go to the router setup page and select the update tab.