Neotel uncapped LTE launched

Neotel announced the launch of its fixed wireless Long Term Evolution (LTE) service during an event at its headquarters in Midrand today (21 August 2013).

Neotel has priced the service between R999 and R2,899 per month at speeds between 2Mbps and 10Mbps. The service is uncapped and unshaped, Neotel said.

Subscribers will pay a R1,500 non-recurring installation fee, and then a monthly fee depending on the speeds they want:

  • 2Mbps at R999/month;
  • 5Mbps at R1,799/month; and
  • 10Mbps at R2,899/month.

The service will be governed by a fair use policy with certain thresholds in place based on ideal data usage scenarios. Once a user hits the threshold, their connection is throttled to half the speed.

In a statement accompanying the launch, Neotel confirmed that it would start its commercial offering in a concentrated area of Gauteng with 50 base stations, using spectrum on the 1,800MHz band.

Neotel Huawei LTE router
Neotel Huawei LTE router

This comes after the network operator revealed earlier this year that it plans to launch commercial LTE services in September 2013.

Rumours have been swirling around the industry that Neotel is up for sale and that mobile network operators have expressed interest in the company.

Earlier this month, two independent industry sources close to the negotiations told MyBroadband that Vodacom is performing due diligence on Neotel.

*Update: Neotel has provided the exact thresholds it will be using for its fair use policy:

  • 134GB at 1Mbps (throttled to 512kbps thereafter)
  • 268GB at 2Mbps (throttled to 1Mbps thereafter)
  • 671GB at 5Mbps (throttled to 2.5Mbps thereafter)
  • 1,324GB at 10Mbps (throttled to 5Mbps thereafter)
Neotel LTE press event hands-on
Neotel LTE press event hands-on

A quick hands-on test with Neotel’s LTE product at the press event yielded good results. The service performed as expected against both Ookla and MyBroadband’s servers.

Pictured above is a streaming video test using Rocketjump’s Video Game High School (VGHS) as a benchmark. Rocketjump’s site was selected instead of YouTube to try and minimise the chance that the video is cached somewhere. VGHS is also partially shot in 48 frames per second High Frame Rate format.

Superficial testing suggests that 2Mbps Neotel LTE is able to stream up to 480p video from the United States without issue. At 720p it stops to buffer regularly. 5Mbps Neotel LTE handled 720p without a problem but was unable to handle the 720p HFR stream without buffering. At 10Mbps Neotel LTE made short work of Rocketjump’s 1080p streaming video as well as the HFR 1080p version of the stream.

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Neotel uncapped LTE launched