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MTN South Africa planning LTE network

Bharti is offloading its tower assets

MTN South Africa is rolling out a pilot LTE network in Gauteng, the company’s MD, Karel Pienaar, has told South African tech site TechCentral.

As many as 100 base stations are to be upgraded by the end of the year, operating at 1800MHz. The company also hopes to gain access to 2.6GHz and 800MHz frequencies once the industry regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA, begins the local spectrum auction. However, the 800MHz spectrum will not be freed until the end of December 2013 when local analogue TV is switched to digital.

We are running big trials on the LTE side,” Pienaar told TechCentral. “The radio technology has to be LTE, because we can get the next level of capacity and speed and efficiency.”

However, Pienaar dampened down consumer expectations somewhat suggesting that phones and dongles were not yet ready for mass market adoption.  “It will take five more years until LTE is truly ready for the average consumer”, he said.

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