SA expert welcomes Vodacom 4G

2012-10-11 14:02

Cape Town - The 4G mobile networks announced by the mobile operators do not fulfil the exacting requirements of fourth generation networks, but perform as well with regard to user experience, an industry expert has said.

Both Vodacom and MTN announced the rollout of 4G as the country headed toward full LTE (Long Term Evolution) mobile network, despite not being granted access to the spectrum for the service.

Vodacom has already made their service available in Gauteng, and MTN will have it available before the end of the year.

"Technically it's not [4G] because it doesn't meet the full specifications of the ITU [International Telecommunication Union] in terms of the LTE advanced specifications, but in truth, it's become more of a marketing issue than a technical issue because the performance is of the same level," Wold Wide Worx CEO Arthur Goldstuck told News24.

Goldstuck conceded that while the technology didn't meet the exacting requirements of 4G, users would experience unprecedented mobile speeds in SA.

Unfair criticism

"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," he said.

The 4G service is expected to produce speeds of over 40mbps, much faster than the previously generation peak speeds of up to 7mbps.

According to the ITU, true 4G is defined as mobile speeds of 100mbps for mobile data communication in cars, for example, and 1gbps (Gigabit per second) for pedestrians.

"It might not be technically accurate to call it 4G, but from the experience point of view, it certainly is equivalent to 4G," Goldstuck said.

He argued that the media had unfairly criticised the initiatives to the faster networks.

"I know that a lot of people bash the networks for claiming it to be 4G because it doesn't match the precise specification, but I think the media have got it wrong in this regard."

Cell C launched an advertising campaign on 4G in 2010, but it ended with a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority that the ads were misleading. The company appealed, but lost.

Game changing

Vodacom began rolling out a double speed network in 2011, and wasted no time in differentiating themselves from the Cell C product.

"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 at the time.

Goldstuck endorsed the initiative, saying that it represented a game changing service for South Africans.

"It really is a significant step forward and it's almost unfortunate that we are beholden to a narrow technical specification."

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  • tebogo.mabe.56 - 2012-10-11 14:22

    Well done 2 Vodacom

      sheda.habib - 2012-10-11 20:01

      Pathetic. My 3G doesn't work. They (Vodacom)came out and tested the signal. Their machine said 10/10 standing right next to me while I am eeking out 1mbps on all 3 laptops (with 3 different data cards. Lies and more lies. What they pay you to promote "4G" Arthur????

      preshen.govender.90 - 2012-10-12 08:29

      it's about freaking time

  • terry.burne - 2012-10-11 14:30

    Actually - it would be nice if they could get 3G to work properly. Here in Pietermaritzburg on Vodacom, I can only get Edge! Vodacom are PATHETIC!!!

      denis.dendrinos - 2012-10-11 15:03

      my gf lives down there, always has a problem with 3G

      lynette.vanrooyen.507 - 2012-10-11 16:01

      You are so right! The Townbush valley in Maritzburg is Edge valley...

  • fdlouw - 2012-10-11 14:33

    STOP CALLING IT 4G!!!!!!!!!!! If my car is not a BMW, I cannot call it a BMW.

      johnny.potatoes61 - 2012-10-11 14:35


      rob.gunning.1 - 2012-10-11 15:00

      It's like ICASA and their definition of broadband.... 128Kbps is not broadband... 256Kbps is where it starts.... As usual it is always easier to lower the bar than to raise it.

  • lydonmcg - 2012-10-11 14:34

    If I see a single advert with the use of "4G" describing this network, I'll personally lodge a complaint with the ASA for false advertising. Vodacom very happily took Cell C to court over their use of the term, and whilst I agree that Cell C's HSPA+ is in no way 4G, neither is Vodacom's LTE. LTE+ is 4G, yes, but I don't see any Vodacom LTE+ networks around. They're happy to run to the ASA until it suits their agenda not to. Please be my guest.

  • adrian.tyler - 2012-10-11 14:52

    I swear 3G speeds in SA don't even reach 7Mbps.

  • james.bilsbury - 2012-10-11 15:06

    My opel is just as fast as a bmw. I still cant tell my friends I got a bmw.

      Mandy Casey - 2012-10-12 00:48

      According to Vodacon even if your Opel is less than half as fast you can start telling your friends it's a BMW.

  • simon.morgan.526 - 2012-10-11 15:06

    Vodacom's launch was completely misleading and just smoke and mirrors. Besides the specification it did not roll out nationally but only on 50 sites in Gauteng. 8ta and MTN have just as many testing sites live but have decided to wait until this can at least be rolled out in 3 provinces before making a big media hype out of it. Vodacom does not have any LTE specific device deals as yet and customer wanting to make use of the service need to put their name onto a list to be contacted before end of the month

  • Rafels1 - 2012-10-11 15:09

    Right next to the Vodacom tower in Vorna Valley, Midrand, I only get Edge.... Why?

  • hellodanie - 2012-10-11 15:24

    Can they first get 2G and 3G working please?

  • abo.bakkar.90 - 2012-10-11 15:25


  • charl.smidt.9 - 2012-10-11 16:24

    More to shape and throttle...

  • hamish.drake1 - 2012-10-11 16:32

    3G(that we supposedly have now) = 7mbps 4G = 1gbps Vodacom 4G = 40mbps I smell marketing bullsh*t. Just because they are both supper, does not make a chicken a duck.

      abo.bakkar.90 - 2012-10-11 16:39


  • morne.s.smit.5 - 2012-10-11 18:15

    We know by now that SA network providers are just sharks that rip us off. Why bother even discussing we will get what we get end of story.

  • dofeatsdog - 2012-10-11 18:41

    both VODACOM and MTN are rushing for LTE but they don't even have a godd GSM, EDGE and 3G footprin. I can't get good GSM signal, never mind edge or 3G. useless if you ask me.

  • dofeatsdog - 2012-10-11 18:41 sandton

  • henricus.cook - 2012-10-11 20:54

    The 4G technical specification is there for a reason and marketing isn't one of them... Come on vodacom is complaining the bar is to high so we cant call our network 4G... Raise the service levels and lower the data cost and then we can play ball.

  • johan.bester - 2012-10-11 21:27

    This is really irritating me. MAKE 3G WORK FIRST!!!

  • rowan.swanepoel - 2012-10-12 00:52

    ITS 3.9G!!! This dogg is probably being paid off so someone can advertise it as 4G - you can't justify it by saying its double the speed that CellC was advertising as 4G, cus its still not 4G!\r\n\r\nWhen this was under discussion in ITU, the general consensus was that LTE could be tagged 3.9G and that's what it should be marketed as!

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