The Johannesburg Parks might be the first suburbs in South Africa to get fibre internet access delivered to the domestic door, but incumbent telcos aren’t rolling over and letting upstarts like Vumatel steal their customers without a fight. Telkom has just announced that it’s switching on the antenna for a 150Mbps LTE Advanced (LTE-A) wireless broadband service in Parkview, the first of around 50 suburbs it plans to connect by Easter next year.
At the end of September, Telkom’s COO Dr Brian Armstrong announced that the company would be turning on LTE Advanced (LTE-A) in more than 50 suburbs before the end of March 2015.
LTE-A is essentially a carrier-aggregated network connection delivered over the cellular network, which means that it takes several chunks of spectrum and combines them into a single download stream with higher speeds. Telkom has a 60MHz of spectrum, 40MHz of which is being used for LTE-A, in the 2 300MHz band of spectrum with other players like Vodacom and MTN having to refarm spectrum from the 1 800MHz band to roll out their LTE services which means that they’ve only been able to get 10 – 20 MHz of spectrum to play with, preventing them from rolling out an aggregated service like LTE-A.
Initial pricing for the LTE-A offer is R1 399 a month and for that price you get a 100GB cap. Potential customers have already expressed the desire for larger data packages which, we were told, would be seriously considered as the offer became more mature. By comparison, Vox currently charges R1 449 a month for 100Mbps over fibre with a 300GB cap.
As a result of the independent roll out of fibre in suburbs like Parkhurst by companies like Vumatel, Telkom’s managing director of consumer and mobile, Attila Vita told htxt.africa that Telkom has called a haitus on its own FTTH plans in areas like Parkhurst and Parkview and is opting for LTE-A as a competitive product instead.