MTN in South Africa placed the first 4G data call in Johannesburg on the citywide next-generation network to certify data services in mobile technology.
Ericsson is supporting with equipment and services as well as cross-supplier integration. The launch of dongles for consumer access to LTE services is expected soon.
LTE service allows consumers to enjoy ultra fast mobile broadband services like high-definition video, and data, which are up to six times faster than the current 3G mobile technology.
Dongles are the first step. LTE-enabled tablets are expected to become widely available in 2011, opening great potential in the market for LTE users. According to the GSA, 42 manufacturers have announced 137 LTE-enabled devices, signaling 40% growth in the past three months.
Kanagaratnam Lambotharan, MTN South Africa’s chief technology officer, says: “Full deployment of LTE in future will allow MTN to maximize its infrastructure investment to provide its subscribers with a quality experience that is richer, faster and with significantly more capacity than that provided currently.”
The LTE network is running on Ericsson's latest multi-mode, multi-standard radio base station, RBS 6000, and the latest core technology Evolved Packet Core, which will drastically boost its capacity. Installation began only two months ago.
Lars Lindén, head of Ericsson Region Sub-Saharan Africa, says: “We are pleased to be supporting MTN's drive to be the market leading LTE operator in South Africa.”
In 2010, the technology's first year of operation, the number of users with access to LTE networks increased from zero to 150-million people around the world and now accounts for 200-million.
To date, seven of the top 10 operators ranked by revenue 2010 have selected an LTE vendor for their network. Ericsson has signed commercial contracts with six of these seven operators.