Cell C has become the latest mobile operator in South Africa after Telkom to launch commercial LTE-Advanced services.
It said it has switched on LTE-A at sites in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town using paired spectrum at both 1,8GHz and 2,1GHz.
Telkom was the first operator in South Africa to launch LTE-A broadband, which offers theoretical speeds in excess of 100Mbit/s.
MTN and Vodacom have also switched on LTE-A, but only on a very limited basis as both operators do not have sufficient spectrum for a broader roll-out as their existing spectrum assets are being used for 2G and 3G services.
All operators need access to additional spectrum, especially in the “digital dividend” bands below 850MHz and at 2,6GHz, so that they can provide more robust wireless broadband infrastructure to South African consumers.
Government was meant to publish details of its spectrum plans at the end of March, but failed to do so. The matter is still being discussed in cabinet committees, according to the department of telecommunications & postal services.
Cell C’s LTE-A footprint overlaps with its current LTE footprint, meaning Cell C customers that have LTE-A-capable devices in LTE areas will experience the speed of LTE-A, the company said.
The roll-out of LTE-A in KwaZulu-Natal will commence in the coming months and will be completed in the third quarter of this year, it added.
Cell C said those with the following handsets could access its LTE-A network: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (SM-920C), Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (SM-G928C), Apple iPhone 6s, Apple iPhone 6s Plus, Huawei Mate 8_DS, Samsung Galaxy S7 (G930F), Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (G935F), LG G5 (H850).
“Customers using these devices will not see a different symbol (it will still show 4G or LTE depending on the device) on their handsets. However, they can expect to see data download speeds of up to 100Mbit/s,” the company said.
It said it will provide an LTE-A coverage map on its website by 1 May. — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media