Telkom has expanded the LTE Advanced (LTE-A) network it originally announced in September to an additional 22 South African suburbs, most of them in Gauteng. The service was first launched in the Johannesburg suburb of Parkview in November and supports download speeds of up to 150Mbit/s using the operators current network configuration. LTE-A can, theoretically, support speeds of up to 1Gbit/s.
The new suburbs covered include Illovo, Melrose, Killarney, Saxonwold and Greenside in Gauteng; Rosebank, Rondebosch and Sea Point in the Western Cape; Umhlanga and Prestondale in KwaZulu Natal; and Highveld in Tshwane. Telkom says this gives it the largest LTE-A network on the continent.
“We have received positive feedback from our customers experiencing superfast speeds on Telkom’s LTE-A network,” says Attila Vitai, MD of Telkom Mobile and Consumer. “Expanding our network is key to our mission of delivering world-class products and services to our customers.”
Telkom’s LTE-A technology runs on the 2.3GHz spectrum, because that’s the frequency band Telkom had to hand. This means its hardware won’t work with rival networks should they ever roll out LTE-A offerings of their own.
The operator’s move into LTE-A isn’t surprising given fixed lines in service continue to decline year after year and many consumers have come to rely on mobile data offerings rather than investing in a Telkom ADSL line and the installation costs (not to mention the obligatory phone line rental) that entails. Evidently Telkom is diversifying its offerings in an effort to remain relevant in the face of the growing number of fibre initiatives by the likes of Vumatel (which don’t require consumers to pay for a phone line they may never use).
Telkom’s LTE-A entry-level contract offering includes a Huawei E5186 LTE A Router and 100GB of data per month for a monthly subscription of R1 399. Sadly, however, all of Telkom’s contracts require a laughable 36-month commitment. You’d have to be a special kind of masochist to sign a three-year contract on a data offering in a market as dynamic as South Africas. Telkom’s prepaid LTE-A offerings, meanwhile, offer crummy data allowances and require consumers to buy the requisite modem outright. Find all the details here.