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Africa gets first 4G LTE network

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African telecommunications operator Smile Telecom has launched a new service in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, enabling the delivery of lightning-fast mobile broadband services including live video chat and TV streaming, thanks to 4G LTE technology supplied by Alcatel-Lucent.
The network will be the first in Africa to provide 4G LTE service in the 800MHz frequency band, providing businesses and consumers with super-fast, high-quality Internet access, initially in the principal commercial city and major seaport of Tanzania. Smile’s intention is to offer ubiquitous coverage as soon as possible.
Following a limited pilot launch in April, 4G LTE services have been rolled out by Smile in several districts of Dar es Salaam, including Mikocheni, Massani Peninsula, Oysterbay and Sinza.
Businesses and consumers there can now enjoy mobile broadband speeds of up to four times as fast as 3G, which can support video conferencing and other business applications, streaming television programmes and films without interruption and accessing other content-rich social media services.
Broadband routers are used to access the services and have been installed in homes, offices and public places, such as shopping malls and Internet cafes. Smile plans to extend coverage through Tanzania in 2012, followed by the launch of similar services in the other three countries where Smile currently operates.
“Smile is constantly introducing new innovations to expand the range of services we can offer our customers. Broadband has a significant impact on socio-economic development and through our presence in the country we hope to play an important role in improving the livelihood of Tanzanians,” says Tom Allen, chief operating officer of Smile.
“There is huge demand for Internet connectivity in Tanzania and working with Alcatel-Lucent we are able to provide our customers with faster, better quality connections, resulting in ever more compelling services to satisfy their demands.”
“Alcatel-Lucent has extensive expertise in delivering comprehensive mobile broadband services to meet the needs of many communities,” says Daniel Jaeger, VP of Alcatel-Lucent activities in Africa.
“We have a solid understanding of Smile’s needs and those of their customers. Our 4G LTE technology brings broadband services to many people that haven’t had access to such services in the past, helping drive economic growth in Tanzania and unlocking new revenue streams for Smile.”
As global demand for Internet services continues to rise, Alcatel-Lucent is providing operators such as Smile with a clear, efficient broadband evolution path. Alcatel-Lucent’s innovative lightRadio portfolio is designed with this in mind, and provides a framework for wireless networks that offer lightning fast data speeds while reducing operating costs and power consumption.
Smile’s core platform is to be integrated with Alcatel-Lucent’s network equipment operating in the 800MHz frequency, which will result in lower capital costs to rollout because it is already in commercial service in Europe. As a result, it is capable of supporting a wide and growing variety of LTE devices, including routers, dongles, handsets and tablets already on the market.