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In the two months since Vodacom launched commercial LTE (commonly known as 4G) services in South Africa, the number of LTE enabled base stations has grown from 70 to more than 500 and the rollout has now reached Cape Town.
Speaking about the progress on LTE, Chief Technology Officer Andries Delport said:
"I'm bowled over with what our engineering teams have achieved. They worked incredibly hard to hit the 10 October launch date but rather than take a breather they actually accelerated the rollout from there. On average we've lit up another seven LTE sites every single day for the past two months and hit our target of 500 LTE base stations a month early."
In addition to having LTE up and running in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban, the rollout has now reached Cape Town with sites in the CBD, Stellenbosch, Atlantic Seaboard (including Camps Bay), the Waterfront and Century City. More sites are planned for early next year.
"I'm pleased to say that we've also managed to bring LTE to Cape Town several weeks ahead of schedule and in time for the holiday season."
Speaking about overall network improvements, Delport said:
"In the six months to September we invested R3.2 billion in our network in South Africa. One of the big focus areas has been providing high speed links to our base stations, which we've now completed at more than 5 000 sites to support both LTE and faster 3G connections. Our clear goal is to ensure that Vodacom maintains its lead with the best network experience and widest coverage."
LTE has the capability to operate at much faster speeds and lower latency than 3G, and represents a major change in how people experience the internet. Its higher speeds and lower latency mean an improved user experience with stutter-free video and almost instantaneous music downloads.
For customers wanting to connect to the LTE network, Vodacom stocks a number of LTE devices which are available at selected stores across Gauteng and KZN and Cape Town. All these devices will automatically switch to the 3G network when LTE coverage is not available.
The LTE service is currently available to Vodacom Contract customers and will be available to Top-up and Prepaid customers in 2013. It also requires customers to use a 64K or 128K SIM card.
For more information on the LTE coverage map and list of stores, customers can visit www.vodacom.co.za/lte. Customers can also contact customer care on 111 free from a Vodacom phone or 082 111 from any other phone.