MTN has now covered 90 percent of South Africa with Long-Term Evolution (LTE / 4G) coverage. Photo: File
DURBAN - MTN has now covered 90 percent of South Africa with Long-Term Evolution (LTE / 4G) coverage through the development of its 11 000th LTE site in the heartland of the Eastern Cape.

The extensive LTE rollout has not only extended population coverage, it has also secured coverage in key strategic areas, such as along national routes and at border posts.

In July 2011, MTN was the first network operator to launch a high-speed mobile LTE pilot at scale and in Africa, as it moved to take customer experiences to the next level of quality.

After giving customers a glimpse of what the future would look like, through a phased rollout to 100 sites, the journey to 90% LTE coverage saw millions of South African exposed to the power of 4G.

LTE offers a better data experience, with faster download and upload speeds, less buffering, better streaming and better video calling or conferencing quality. 

MTN’s dual data strategy has seen the company actively pursuing both 3G and 4G coverage with the company investing R43.6bn in capital expenditure, just in South Africa, during the last four years.

Motsa said, "Today’s coverage milestone is particularly significant as we have been able to achieve this performance, despite the spectrum-constrained environment within which we operate, through our innovative use of the 900MHz band for LTE". 

While a lack of access to spectrum is holding back the ability of some in the industry to target rural areas. MTN has developed its infrastructure to extend connectivity and put customers at the forefront of everything it does. 

By August this year, MTN’s 4G coverage had reached 88 percent and this latest push has taken LTE coverage for South Africa to this new high of 90 percent. MTN’s LTE coverage has gone from 0-90 percent 4G coverage in just five years, which is exponentially faster than the 3G rollout which went from 0-90 percent in 10 years.

"Using technology to drive social development is a core tenet of our rural strategy. The network sites that we build do far more than bring the world together through technology as they include roads, electricity and other infrastructure improvements that help connect entire communities. Getting connected is the key to industrial and economic activity across SA as it opens the door to a vista of new opportunities,” said Giovanni Chiarelli the Chief Technology Officer of MTN SA. 

“We are very proud of what we have been able to achieve because this technology roll-out has helped improve the lives of South Africans across all socio-economic sectors.