First National Bank activated 4G/LTE on its mobile network on Monday without much fanfare.
The move comes after the bank launched its own mobile network, FNB Connect, in June last year. FNB Connect is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that makes use of Cell C’s network.
Since launch, FNB Connect has notched up over 200 000 Sim connections, according to a tweet last month from the bank’s CEO, Jacques Celliers.
“FNB officially switched on LTE capability on all FNB Sims today (Monday),” Shadrack Palmer, chief commercial officer for FNB Connect, said via e-mail.
Palmer said FNB’s LTE network has coverage in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
A spokeswoman at Cell C said that “LTE is available to all our MVNOs and it is up to them activate and offer to their customers”.
Cell C launched its LTE network last year in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal after it announced that it is spending R2bn on 4G infrastructure.
Cell C was the last of the major networks to launch an LTE network in South Africa after Vodacom and MTN switched on their 4G capabilities in 2012.
Mobile operators in South Africa are currently hobbled by spectrum in terms of launching wider LTE networks as the country has missed a number of key digital broadcast migration switch-over deadlines over the years.
Digital migration is expected to open up more frequencies for mobile networks to offer faster mobile broadband services like LTE.