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SA's first Gbps mobile broadband connection reached

SA's first Gbps mobile broadband connection reached

Mobile operator MTN SA claims to have achieved the fastest indoor mobile data service in South Africa using LTE-U and 4.5G technology.

In a statement issued today, MTN and its solution partner Huawei say customers can now receive data speeds up to 1.01Gbps, said to be the first Gigabit per second speed recorded in SA using a mobile broadband connection.

The LTE-U and 4.5G solution uses Huawei's latest small cell Lampsite product, which aggregates two unlicensed LTE 5GHz carriers (40MHz) with one licensed LTE 2100MHz carrier (15MHz), and combines this with next generation enhanced MIMO(Multi-Input Multi-Output) and modulation schemes.

"LTE-Unlicensed technology operates in the 5GHz unlicensed band, and is ideal for in-building deployments due to its higher capacity," states an announcement by the companies.

The technology, underpinned by Lampsite solution, is targeted at enterprise, financial and content services within indoor environments.

While Huawei has conducted previous trials using this technology and network connection in other countries, it is a first for South Africa.

According to Chinese telecommunications firm the LTE-U technology can be deployed by MTN with unlicensed frequency band (5GHz), which does not need ICASA approval. "MTN can use LTE-U technology in its network now. Besides these unlicensed spectrum band, if MTN got more licensed spectrum from ICASA in the future, MTN will continue to achieve much faster speed potentially."

The technology is ready now for rollout in South Africa. However, rollout is still limited by the commercial LTE-U compatible terminal, which may be available by the end of this year.

Huawei states that MTN SA will wait for LTE-U standard to be entrenched, and once this is ready – along with commercial devices – the solution will be rolled out in hotspot areas and likely in 2017.

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