Vodacom South Africa today announced the going live of LTE in Johannesburg city, South Africa, with accessibility in 70 Base stations. Vodacom has been testing 4G LTE in South Africa for the last two years and they have been upgrading base stations and fiber optic network to enable the service level. LTE capacity has rolled out in very few countries and this makes South Africa a front runner in opening mobile networks to fast data.
LTE gives more than double the speeds experienced on existing commercially available mobile connections and multiple times faster than 2G and 3G connections. Roll-out to other cities beyond Johannesburg will be announced once tests and systems upgrades have been complete in the respective regions. A coverage map for existing LTE reach is available here, and use will be dependent on whether users have LTE enabled devices. These will be available for sale in Vodacom outlets before end of October.
Existing Vodacom customers will have purchase priority as LTE devices are in short supply globally, with 3G devices taking the bulk of production as a result of the limited roll-out of LTE in many economies. Vodacom will try to ensure demand for these devices is satisfied as the mobile carrier is able get them supplied directly from the devices manufacturers. Vodacom South Africa has around 9000 base stations, and 90% of the 3G base stations can do 21.6 Mbps while 80% of the same can do 43.2 Mbps. Vodacom aims to get 500 sites LTE enabled.