Neotel trials 70 Mbps LTE

Neotel says it is trialling long-term evolution (LTE) at speeds of about 70 Mbps at its Midrand campus, with an aim to launch the service commercially before the end of the fiscal year.

Neotel CEO, Sunil Joshi told journalists at a media presentation on Wednesday (7 November) that an LTE trial was still operational at its Midrand campus.

He said that the group was not only testing LTE as a technology, but also partners to work on that technology.

Joshi said that Neotel was getting in the region of 70 Mbps at its Midrand campus; however, he cautioned that the trial “is still a work in progress”. The company chief added that Neotel hoped to get finality before the end of the fiscal year, ending March 2013.

Vodacom became the first operator in South Africa to launch a commercial LTE service, having switched on its LTE network on 10 October 2012. On Wednesday (7 November), it announced that it had increased its LTE network to include 200 base stations.

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said that, by the end of the year, the group aimed to have 500 sites enabled for LTE with a theoretical speed capability of over 100 Mbps.

Telkom‘s mobile arm, 8ta says it aims to launch LTE before the end of 2012. The group has started running a trial in Gauteng for selected customers, which ends on 31 March 2013.

In a live demonstration at the MyBroadband Conference in October, 8ta showed LTE speeds of up to 80 Mbps.

MTN continues to trial its LTE network, while Cell C also aims to launch a commercial LTE offering before the end of the year.

Neotel said on Wednesday that it currently serves 130,000 consumer customers, and 2,400 enterprise customers.

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Neotel trials 70 Mbps LTE