Vodacom doesn’t have the spectrum it needs to launch next-generation 4G+ broadband services nationwide, but the unique nature of the Gautrain tunnel system has allowed it to launch the technology on a limited scale in Gauteng.
As a result of the deployment, Vodacom customers will be able to surf the Internet and make calls while travelling on the Gautrain, and do so at speed.
“4G and 4G+ coverage is immediately available en route to Gautrain’s Rosebank, Sandton, Marlboro and Midrand stations with speeds of in excess of 100Mbit/s achieved in deep underground environments,” the company said in a statement.
“The next phase of the project will be to enhance coverage along the track between Marlboro and OR Tambo International airport as well as between Marlboro and Pretoria to ensure a seamless and uninterrupted experience on all Gautrain routes,” it said.
Earlier this year, Vodacom enabled high-speed 4G+ services at Gautrain station platforms in Sandton, Rosebank and Park Station. Rival MTN has also rolled out high-speed coverage at the platforms.
“To provide underground coverage at these stations, Vodacom used distributed antenna systems located throughout the three stations,” said Vodacom chief technology officer Andries Delport. “Each of these systems is connected via fibre-optic cable to network equipment located in Rosebank.”
Delport lamented the fact that mobile operators, including Vodacom, have been unable (so far) to secure access to new spectrum to deploy 4G+ services more broadly in South Africa.
“Greater access to spectrum will enable Vodacom to undertake more initiatives of this nature while also extending broadband coverage to the remotest parts of our country. South Africans want faster speeds, wider coverage and lower prices which is why it is so important to secure access to additional spectrum in South Africa,” he said. — © 2016 NewsCentral Media