MTN South Africa is set to commercially launch Long Term Evolution (LTE) in Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria within the next three months. MTN chief technology officer Kanagaratnam Lambotharan said that the operator will have between 400 and 500 base stations equipped with LTE functionality by the end of 2012, up from about 250 now. The CTO told TechCentral: ‘We are looking at Cape Town as well, but there are challenges there with re-farming spectrum’. Because none of South Africa’s mobile operators have been given access to frequencies suitable for LTE services, MTN is re-farming some of its spectrum in the 1800MHz band to cater for the new technology.
In related news, MyBroadband.co.za also reports that the policy for high-demand spectrum has been drafted by the Department of Communications (DoC) and the regulator is currently in consultation with its stakeholders. The information, which was supplied by city councillor Cassius Nkosi, has yet to be confirmed by the DoC. The government’s lack of progress with the document, which was initially expected to be released more than two years ago, has proven to be a cause of consternation for industry insiders, and has seen South Africa eclipsed by regional neighbours Angola and Namibia, both of which have already witnessed the commercial launch of LTE networks.