Yesterday mobile services provider Vodacom announced it would be extending their 4G+ coverage to the underground tunnel sections along the Gautrain routes.

This extension covers the Gautrain’s Marlboro, Midrand, Rosebank and Sandton stations with claimed speeds of over 100Mb/s underground.

Take these pronouncements with a rather large grain of salt, as they’re usually achieved in conditions you’ll never be able to replicate as a regular user.

To achieve this the three stations are hooked up with antenna system connected via fibre-optic cable to equipment located in the Rosebank station.

After this, Vodacom is looking to “enhance coverage along the track between Marlboro and OR Tambo International Airport as well as between Marlboro and Pretoria”, but we were not given a projected date for that.

At this point you may be confused by what 4G+ even is, and you’d be completely forgiven for that. 4G+ is actually just another name for LTE Advanced (LTE-A). While the best explanation of the naming conventions we could find explains that the names change between countries. However, Telkom calls some of their services LTE-A, so it’s not that easy.

To simplify: 4G+/LTE-A is a faster connection than 4G/LTE, but requires newer devices to take advantage of this type of connection.

To cap off the story we’d like to throw our own experiances into the ring. We recently used the Gautrain to visit the virtual reality Interactive Digital Centre in Tshwane.

We were using a personal phone with a Vodacom contract on it and we had a stable 4G/LTE connection throughout our entire trip even during the underground sections. We’re not ones to fluff up a service provider, we’re just letting you know what our experience was like.

[Image – Adapted from Wikipedia]