Vodacom launches high-speed network

2011-04-19 10:33
Cape Town - Vodacom has officially unveiled its new double-speed 43.2Mbps network in SA. 

This is something we've been working on for a while and it's double the speed of the thing Cell C called 4G," Vodacom's executive head of media relations Richard Boorman told News24.

The company has raced to roll the network out around the country and Boorman said that it put Vodacom in a clear lead over competitors in SA.

"More than 1 000 base stations in metropolitan areas across the country have been enabled with this new SuperMobile technology, and this will increase to 2 000 base stations during May," the cellular provider said.

Speed though, isn't the only concern.

Fibre rings

"Speed is good, but this allows us to better use the throughput of the network. It allows us to increase our capacity on the network. We're the first to make a 43.2Mbps network live in South Africa," Boorman said.

"The primary reason for investing in this new double-speed technology was to improve the customer experience.  With greater capacity on each base station, we can achieve just that.  The fact that individual connection speeds can be twice as fast is a nice side-effect but not the main goal," said Vodacom chief technology officer Andries Delport.

Over the last several years Vodacom has been replacing slow connections with fibre rings in metropolitan centres to increase capacity of the network. By implementing this new technology, Vodacom will potentially be able to carry about 20% more traffic in the main 3G frequency spectrum band.

"Connections speeds increase and the network capacity itself is also increased," said Delport.

Data traffic is becoming the main revenue driver for cellular providers as users in SA turn to wireless internet.

Despite, increased data cable capacity and cost reductions, many industry insiders feel that cable broadband will continue to be hamstrung because of the last mile connection monopoly that Telkom holds.

"Data is a major growth area for us. We've been building fibre rings around metro areas for years, by replacing slower connections with fibre," Boorman said.

Consumer value

Vodacom which has recently changed its logo, has been the subject of an advertising parody by competitors Cell C, but the company insists that it is offering consumer value.

"Implementing double-speed technology at our base stations is another step in a series of upgrades across the network, and serves to prove that there’s much more to the new Vodacom than just a new colour and logo," said Delport.

The provider is also offering a data plan called Night Owl where users who buy a 2GB package receive a second 2GB data bundle free.


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