Vodacom puts 4G on trial

2010-06-18 13:37

Johannesburg - Cellular group Vodacom [JSE:VOD] is running tests on long-term evolution (LTE) technology that will replace current 3G standards for mobile internet connectivity.

At a demonstration on Thursday, the company displayed connectivity at speeds many times that of present 3G and ADSL connections.

CEO Pieter Uys told journalists it is not yet certain when LTE will be available to the public, although all Vodacom's towers are already compatible with the new standard.

He said that frequency would be required to run the technology on and there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the provision of this in South Africa.

However, Vodacom has demonstrated it is ready to deploy the technology.

Using this network, Vodacom showed the streaming of high definition video from YouTube and ran live tests that revealed speeds of about 60MBps on download and over 30Mbps on upload, with low latency of around 15 milliseconds to local servers in South Africa.

Vodacom chief technical officer Andries Delport said, however, that speeds could be higher with the right modem, and that Vodacom's infrastructure could technically handle 150Mbps downstream and 100Mbps upstream connections - more than 35 times faster than the top ADSL offering from Telkom [JSE:TKG].

That said, it will be some time before South Africans are able to purchase and use LTE technology due to regulatory hurdles surrounding spectrum allocation.

However, the move to digital terrestrial television (DTT) will free up spectrum currently used for analogue television broadcasts that can then be put to use for LTE and other wireless technologies.

International technology research firm Gartner said that LTE will become the de facto 4G standard for cellular networks globally, with some exceptions that will use other technologies such as WiMax.

It presented research on the technology at the Gartner Symposium in Cape Town 2009. At the event, Gartner analysts said that LTE will not see wide use even in developed markets until around 2012.


  • Margaret Hyson - 2010-06-18 13:43

    Wow that's great !! Pity my 3G signal is always 'Poor' or 'Very Poor' - perhaps Vodacom should get that right first ?

      Tshepo Mosito - 2011-04-12 01:42

      It is good , depending on where you are. Im in Roodeport and its excellent.

  • Rick Gericke - 2010-06-18 13:46

    Sounds good, but @ what cost to the consumer? 3G @ present is wonderful but unfortunately not very affordable. Come on Vodacom!

  • Uncle Bob - 2010-06-18 13:57

    Well, considering that the new generation iPhone, due to be released in the States on the 24th uses the new 4G standard, it would be pointless for Vodacom to become the South African distributor of the new iPhone if users cannot even make use of the new connectivity technology that is provides!

  • RealityBytes - 2010-06-18 14:15

    Probably OFDM?

  • Jaco - 2010-06-18 14:23

    I dont believe. Vodacom will need to prove this statement to me. At this stage, not anywhere I go, can I get a decent 3G signal, so how are they going to go to 30 - 100MB/s speeds? Come on, get real..

  • Padre - 2010-06-18 14:44

    They can't get simple phone calls right they want to now bring in 4G ? What about poor signal , dropped calls, distorted sound during calls , background noise ? Why not get that right first?

  • Carel - 2010-06-18 14:49

    Vodacom cannot get 3G to work. What a stuff up4G will be ! I will not fall for the sales gimicks again and I will not buy into this technology.

  • Etienne - 2010-06-19 12:47

    Most of the problems experienced with cell connectivity is related to rubbish cell phones. One drop and the fancy phone is ISM. Nobody is forced to go to Vodacom in any case!! Use your brain and go to the other cell providers if they can give you a better service.

  • Peter - 2010-06-20 02:24

    I live in Pretoria -Tshwane. I hardly ever get HSDPA level connectivity mostly 3G at one bar and very often Edge. I dont understand why this happens and there is nowhere to complain so one is forced to eat the vodacom crud, pay up and do the best you can. So what will 4G mean ... more money for LESS bandwidth is my guess!

  • Eddie - 2010-06-20 07:42

    Apple's new iPhone 4 is not 4G.... it runs on 3G. Check your facts. In fact, Canada just recently rolled out 3G and is far behind. Vodacom is very ahead in terms of wireless offerings

  • Lunga - 2010-06-20 08:02

    Im in rural kzn but I get full 3g signal on my n73. Vodacom thus far is the only network to provide this and at decent quality too. 4g might prove to be even better.

  • Johann - 2010-07-16 14:55

    I havent read anywhere that any of the companies claimed tht there 3G signal is 100% everywhere, maybe its time that people read proporly and rather grow with tegnology than blaming all the time. You could still use GPRS. First understand how the tegnology work and what influence the signal before blaming the companies...!

  • jorg - 2010-08-06 18:10

    how is it possible to introduce new things when the old is not working and on the outskirts of johannesburg there is barely a vodacom signal, never mind 3g availible. this should be fixed first and value for the costumer needs to be created instead of more money for less

  • Peter SP - 2010-08-06 20:29

    On the current cheapest data bundle the charges are R0.20 / MB That gives 100Mb/s / 8 = 12.5MB/s 12.5MB/s * R0.20 = R2.50 R2.50/s * 60s = R150 / Minute R150 * 60 = R9 000 / hour R9 000 * 24 = R216 000.00 / day

  • Mathilda - 2010-11-03 08:47

    Jaco, you must change settings when you go out of town. Settings - Network Preference - select 2G. When you get back in town where 3G works, change settings to 3G. 2G is slow, but usable.

  • Jeanette Coetzee - 2010-11-03 14:21

    Hi Guy's, If youv'e got a company and need mobile signal boosters, get one, I did! At home - never had a problem!!!!

  • andre.kuhn.583 - 2012-12-16 19:31

    Dont feel happy to early. My signal strenght and internet connectivity has not improoved since my first 56K Modem. The services offered and prices by Vodafone in South Africa are redicolous. The line quality esxpecially with international calls is very poor. Sometimes you can hardly understand a word. This is true at least for the more rural parts of SA. 4G we might get maybe in 100 years or never.

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