MTN urges LTE spectrum allocation

2012-11-16 14:36
The allocation of spectrum is critical to the mobile operators rolling out a faster mobile network and should be awarded to established players, MTN has asserted. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The allocation of spectrum is critical to the mobile operators rolling out a faster mobile network and should be awarded to established players, MTN has asserted. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - The allocation of spectrum is critical to the mobile operators rolling out a faster mobile network and should be awarded to established players, MTN has asserted.

"Spectrum is a critical component to a full network rollout and the allocation of the spectrum is critical to mitigate the risks both operators face now in the rollout of LTE [Long Term Evolution]," Mike Fairon, general manager of product, services and innovation at MTN told News24.

"When you look at us rolling out the networks, the biggest risk is the allocation of spectrum, and we are progressing with the rollout of the network," he added.

Both MTN and Vodacom announced higher speed LTE networks offering users speeds of around 40mbps, largely welcomed by industry analysts, despite the service not meeting the strict criteria as determined by the International Telecommunication Union.

"The truth is that what people will experience, is a next generation experience. It's quite absurd to compare the speeds that this LTE network will provide to 3G. To call it 3G is misleading," said World Wide Worx CEO Arthur Goldstuck.

Capable

In many developing countries, there have been controversies over the allocation over potentially lucrative spectrum for mobile networks.

In SA, the operators have been forced to refarm existing spectrum in the absence of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) awarding the resource.

The GSMA urged politicians not to meddle in the allocation of the spectrum which was critical to operators being able to rollout mobile broadband.

"Get the politics out of mobile, this is about creating jobs; this is about growing your economies; this is about helping the bottom of the pyramid. Fixed line connectivity is not going to achieve that," said Peter Lyons GSMA director for spectrum policy in Africa and the Middle East.

Fairon said that MTN was capable of using the spectrum effectively to deliver mobile broadband to the majority of the population.

"If you look at the entities that are capable of rolling out such a network, the spectrum should only be allocated to people that are capable of rolling out these networks at scale," he said.

Rich media

Mobile broadband is expected to deliver high speeds networks that would enable users to consume rich media such as video, and Farion insisted that companies with the infrastructure should be tasked with the rollout.

"What you need on LTE is you need the fall back networks. So for example, if the LTE network is congested, you have to be able to downgrade to the 3G network or the 2G network so at worst case you're getting a 2G experience.

"If spectrum is allocated to organisations that don't have these networks, where does a customer go when that LTE network is contended?" he said.


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