Neotel will launch a fourth-generation (4G) telecommunications network using long-term evolution (LTE) technology in Gauteng in the third quarter of the year, the company said at a press conference on Wednesday.
However, the network will be limited in scope, with only 50 base stations at launch, CEO Sunil Joshi said.
The operator, which has been running a trial network for the past year, is using 24MHz (two 12MHz blocks) that it has access to in the 1,8GHz band to build the network. Joshi said details about products and services Neotel plans to offer on top of the network will only be made known closer to the launch date.
The company is targeting a launch in the middle of the second quarter of its financial year, he said. That’s around mid-August.
“We will start with a concentrated area of 50 base stations in Gauteng. From there, we will continue to get experience in driving LTE infrastructure and continuing to expand from there,” Joshi said. He did not disclose their location.
Joshi made the remarks after providing a limited disclosure of Neotel’s financial results for the year ended March 2013. The company’s revenue exceeded R3bn, he said, and was Ebit positive for the full year for the first time. Ebit refers to earnings before interest and tax. The company expects to turn a profit before tax for the first time in the fourth quarter of the current financial year, Joshi said.
The company now has more than 150 000 small business and residential customers, representing growth of 52% over a year ago, he said. Enterprise customers climbed by 29% to “just under” 3 000. Revenue rose by 12%.
Neotel, which is controlled by India’s Tata Communications, did not disclose its earnings numbers. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media