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Vodacom unleashes 4G in SA

celltowerzamtel

Vodacom has become the first mobile operator in South Africa to commercially launch a 4G service, according to an announcement by the firm today.

A Vodacom statement says 4G is available immediately in selected parts of Johannesburg, while other cities are to follow in the “near future”.

LTE services from Vodacom will initially be accessible via 70 base stations in Johannesbug. But the company adds that there will be 150 LTE base stations by the end of October and 500 by year-end.

Vodacom, along with rivals MTN and Cell C, have all said that they will launch 4G services in the fourth quarter of 2012 in cities such as Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. 8ta plans to run an LTE trail between November and March.

“Vodacom was the first network in SA to test LTE more than two years ago, and since then we’ve been busy upgrading base stations and our fibre-optic transmission network in preparation for today,” Vodacom chief executive Shameel Joosub said in a statement.

“LTE devices are in short supply worldwide, but thanks to Vodafone’s global purchasing power we’re confident that Vodacom will have the best possible selection in stores in the very near future,” he added.

Speaking about the factors constraining Vodacom, Joosub said, “We’ll be rolling out LTE services using existing spectrum, but to unlock the full potential of this technology and transform connectivity in South Africa, we still need additional spectrum to be released by ICASA.”

Vodacom further says that customers with LTE capable devices can activate the service from today by calling 111 or visiting any Vodacom shop. LTE capable devices will also be on sale in selected Vodacom outlets before the end of October, with priority going to existing Vodacom customers, says the company.

LTE coverage in Johannesburg can be viewed on this map.

The South African telco joins mobile operators in other African countries such as Mauritius, Namibia, Liberia, Angola and Tanzania to announce commercial 4G services.

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