You’d think they are about to launch the next big thing in mobile broadband, the way South Africa’s mobile operators are going on about LTU-Unlicensed technology.
Vodacom, MTN and Cell C have also clamoured for the headlines in recent days as they try to outdo each other over the speeds they have managed to achieve in trials of LTE-U — even though consumers aren’t able to take advantage of the technology as there are no supported modems or handsets in the market and won’t be for some time.
Two days after Vodacom used the sidelines of its annual results presentation in Midrand on Monday to demonstrate what can be achieved with LTE-U — a technology that uses both licensed and unlicensed spectrum bands to boost throughput — MTN and Cell C on Wednesday both issued media releases about what they’ve been able to achieve in their controlled test environments.
Cell C was first out of the gate, announcing that it had achieved speeds of more than 600Mbit/s at its LTE-U test site.
Using a pre-commercial device, Cell C harnessed 15MHz of its licensed spectrum in 2,1GHz and two 20MHz chunks of spectrum in the 5,8GHz Wi-Fi band to conduct the test.
For the technically minded, Cell C used this configuration with high modulation scheme technologies (256QAM) and carrier aggregation of the three frequency bands.
MTN, meanwhile, which earlier this month said it had tested LTE-U at its flagship store in Morningside in Johannesburg, issued a statement soon after Cell C, saying it had achieved the “fastest indoor mobile data service in South Africa using LTE-Advanced technology”.
“The service is able to provide customers with data speeds up to an incredible 1Gbit/s, which is the first gigabit per second speed ever recorded in South Africa using a mobile broadband connection,” the company claimed.
MTN’s tested the LTE-Advanced solution using Huawei’s latest small-cell Lampsite product, which aggregates two unlicensed LTE 5,8GHz carriers (two times 20MHz) with one licensed LTE 2,1GHz carrier (15MHz), and combines this with next generation Mimo and modulation schemes, it said.
“The success of this LTE-Advanced deployment is a giant leap forward for mobile broadband technology in South Africa, and demonstrates the potential that mobile broadband technologies can achieve if additional spectrum is allocated to mobile network operators,” MTN said in a statement.
Not to be outdone, within hours of MTN’s media release, Vodacom issued one of its own, saying it, too, had achieved mobile speeds in excess of 1Gbit/s by aggregating both licensed and unlicensed bands in its laboratory on 16 and 17 May.
“Breaking 1Gbps represents an important milestone for LTE network speeds in South Africa as it shows what can be achieved by combining adequate spectrum with the latest technology,” said Vodacom chief technology officer Andries Delport.
Vodacom’s laboratory tests were concluded using the latest small cell technology and used a combination of feature enhancements to breach the 1Gbit/s milestone, Delport said.
For the test, Vodacom aggregated different spectrum bands including one carrier of its own licensed spectrum and two carriers of unlicensed ISM spectrum.
“Earlier in the week, Vodacom demonstrated speeds exceeding 360Mbit/s using 2×2 Mimo and 64 QAM. By utilising more sophisticated antenna technology and modulation schemes, Vodacom was able to nearly triple these speeds to break the 1Gbit/s barrier,” the company said. — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media
- See also: Vodacom goes live with LTE-U