Vodacom hits 270Mbps on 4G

Vodacom has performed a live demonstration of Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced technology on its cellular network at the Dome in Vodacom World, Midrand on 23 September 2014.

While operators around the world have taken to calling LTE and other technologies 4G, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) previously told MyBroadband that it only considers IMT-Advanced technologies as true “4G”.

IMT-Advanced includes LTE Advanced, but not LTE.

Speaking to journalists at the demonstration, executive head for Vodacom’s engineering team Graham Cusack said that the LTE Advanced service is offered on Vodacom’s actual network. It is not just a laboratory demonstration, Cusack said.

The Vodacom LTE Advanced network uses carrier aggregation, two 20 Megahertz (MHz) channels in the highly sought-after 2,600MHz band.

“We applied for temporary spectrum, we got it yesterday, and this morning at 04:30 4G was live on the Vodacom network,” said Vodacom CTO Andries Delport.

The trials follow the recent completion of a multi-billion rand six year-long radio network renewal programme which has seen every single Vodacom base station in South Africa replaced with new equipment.

“We’ve just completed the longest and probably the most complex engineering project in Vodacom’s history which involved switching out the equipment at every single site across the country,” Delport said.

“This new equipment means that all of our base stations are 4G ready.”

According to Delport, the radio network swap project is about more than the super-fast speeds, as the group has also been investing heavily to make sure that it has the capacity to handle the massive growth in call and particularly data volumes in South Africa.

Some high-end handsets already support the technology, including the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Vodacom performed a number of Ookla speed tests on a Huawei Ascend Mate, and managed to achieve a download speed of 269.94Mbps and an upload speed of 39.90Mbps.

The Ookla speed test shown below was performed on a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone.

Speed test result
Speed test result

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Vodacom hits 270Mbps on 4G