Telkom 4G launch ‘within weeks’

The operator’s mobile arm will launch its fourth-generation mobile broadband network commercially within the next few weeks. By Duncan McLeod.

Attila Vitai

Attila Vitai

Telkom will launch commercial fourth-generation long-term evolution (4G/LTE) broadband products “within weeks”, Telkom Mobile MD Attila Vitai says.

In an interview with TechCentral, Vitai has disclosed that the company expects to have “about a thousand” LTE base stations live when it launches the next-generation broadband network. Coverage will be available in “sub-sets” of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town at launch.

The company has been running a trial of 4G/LTE since November 2012. This trial is set to end on 31 March.

Telkom Mobile is using the access it has to a huge chunk of radio frequency spectrum in the 2,3GHz band to build the LTE network. Unlike rivals Vodacom, MTN and Cell C, Telkom is using a different type of 4G technology used in China and India. The technology has also recently found favour in the US.

Vitai says the fact that Telkom has access to such a large chunk of spectrum — 60MHz — gives it a big technical and commercial advantage of its rivals, which are being forced to reallocate existing spectrum to offer users access to 4G services. Though there are few smartphones available that can take advantage of 4G at 2,3GHz, these are expected to come as the technology is adopted more widely around the world. Also, the initial application for LTE is expected to be mainly in providing mobile and fixed broadband access for computing applications rather than for mobile handsets.

“You will see, within the coming weeks, us coming to market with some very innovative LTE offerings,” Vitai says, without elaborating on the plans. “We have huge amounts of capacity, loads of spectrum, and we aren’t refarming any our frequencies so the service we will be able to offer will be second to none. We first wanted to ensure we had sufficient coverage to make the service meaningful.”

He says mobile broadband will be the area in which Telkom will enjoy strongest growth in the years to come. “We believe that Telkom Mobile is the future of Telkom. We will be the growth engine of the company in the next five years,” Vitai says.

“With our spectrum, with Telkom group behind us, and with the people we have working for the company, we believe are very well positioned to benefit from that growth in mobile data.”  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

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  • Ofentse Letsholo

    all we want is uncapped data, give us that we’ll never look back. ;-)

  • citm

    Telkom seems to always neglect townships in every new endeavors they bring up

  • herman

    yes please… holding thumbs. sick of ADSL lines.

  • herman

    because how many people in a township will be able to afford it. Telkom is after the big spenders now as they have clearly stated. and if they can give me affordable uncapped (less than R1000 a month and more than 2mbps) then I’m in.

  • DookOfURL

    That’s about my price point as well. For me the issue is a high speed that is consistent and reliable with reasonable latency. Caps and soft caps and nonsense about how many gigabytes you use are not the issue for me.

    I want the speed and reliability and I’m prepared to pay for it, up to a point, even R1200 to R1500, but that would have to be blisteringly fast..

    In any case, they will all be offering unlimited data products pretty soon so it’s going to be down to speed and quality of service. The big players are too complacent. A smooth operator that treats bigger spenders right may well turn out to be a profitable business even tho it’s much smaller.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    Not going to happen. Wireless tech just isn’t suited for widespread uncapped usage. Wired is the only viable option here. The best we can hope for is a soft-capped uncapped solution like MTN has, which seems to be more or less the way operators do it worldwide.

  • herman

    i’ll tell you why i believe wireless uncapped from telkom is on the horizon. because right now i can get from them 120 gigs for R900 (+R900 free bonus airtime for the R1800 package). mtn already has uncapped yes, but after 10 gigs ur throttled to 384kbps so the maximum u could download in a whole month is around 80 gigs, all that hassle for R899 per month and the torture of peaking at 384kbps. no thank you

    anyone that can offer a 120gig package is on the cusp of offering uncapped. remember when Mweb launched uncapped ADSL… industry players thought it was suicide. but how quickly did Mweb make millions and the competition could only play catch up. the simple truth is not all uncapped users are abusers. given 8ta’s current offerings i see no reason why they cannot offer an uncapped 2mbps deal with a soft cap of around 150gig at around 1mbps for around R1000 per month.
    if they do that, i will close my fixed line and instead of telkom getting half of my business(they are not my present ISP but i rent their line)they will then get all my business. they brag about how they have the spectrum to do so so let’s see it.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    It’s not a financial issue, it’s a technical issue. Cellular tech just doesn’t scale well enough to big numbers to be able to replace ADSL for stuff like media delivery, etc. There’s a finite amount of spectrum to share out over a given geographic area, there’s no practical limit on how much bandwidth you deliver via wires to the same endpoints in that same area,

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