Vodacom South Africa, a subsidiary of UK-based telecoms giant Vodafone Group, has confirmed that it has launched the country’s first commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, beating long-term domestic rival MTN to the punch. At launch, the service will be accessible to customers via approximately 70 base stations in Johannesburg, with other cities to follow ‘in the near future’. Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub commented: ‘Vodacom was the first network in South Africa to test 4G LTE more than two years ago, and since then we have been busy upgrading base stations and our fibre-optic transmission network in preparation for today. It is great to claim another South African first and even more pleasing that South Africa has joined an exclusive club with the fastest mobile connectivity on offer’.
TeleGeography notes that Vodafone, which holds a 65% stake in Vodacom, has taken steps to increase its connection with the firm since the latter’s 2011 re-branding brought it into line with Vodafone’s corporate identity. At the time the UK company said that it intended to rotate executives among its foreign units and allow Vodacom to leverage its global supply chain, as well as introducing in new services pioneered by Vodafone elsewhere. Vodafone now says that it will use its experience of launching LTE in Germany and Portugal to benefit its South African unit. Joosub told TechCentral: ‘LTE devices are in short supply worldwide, but thanks to Vodafone’s global purchasing power we are confident that Vodacom will have the best possible selection in stores in the very near future’.