Telkom’s mobile arm 8ta will switch on a trial fourth-generation (4G) long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband network on 1 November and says it will invite selected customers in Gauteng to apply to participate for free in the trial, which will run until 31 March 2013.
Trial users will include a 50GB data bundle and an LTE device, which includes a wireless router and modem, or USB modem, and Sim card. The router will be able to serve up to 32 Wi-Fi-ready devices.
Telkom isn’t saying which frequency band or bands it will use for the trial — it has access to 1,8GHz and 2,3GHz, both of which are suited to different versions of LTE technology. Nor is it revealing the size of the spectrum block or blocks it’s using.
News of 8ta’s planned trial follows announcements by both Vodacom and Cell C this week that they would begin offering limited 4G services commercially in 2012. MTN was the first to say it planned to offer LTE services to consumers. Vodacom and MTN will both offer 4G/LTE in Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria this year; Cell C is not disclosing its plans yet for “competitive reasons”.
“The demand for faster, superior mobile data services is mounting and subscribers will have the opportunity to test the fastest data speeds ever experienced in South Africa,” Telkom Mobile senior managing executive Amith Maharaj says in a statement.
“Our engineers have been testing the technology and have achieved peak speeds of up to 90Mbit/s for downloads and up to 25Mbit/s for uploads using the appropriate end-user device.”
“This trial will help us better understand the requirements of our customers and the feedback from the participants regarding performance and the overall experience will inform the refining of our commercial offerings to better align with customer’s needs,” he says.
“Telkom has been testing the LTE service internally for approximately a year already so we have all the building blocks in place to deliver this technology. However the feedback from this trial is crucial to closing the gap on our development of the best LTE offerings that we can offer our customers.”
Maharaj says 8ta will take a Web page live at midday on 10 October at the address www.8ta.com/lte where consumers interested in participating in the trial will be able to check a coverage map and sign up, provided they there is a base station in their area. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media