South African company to build new 4.5G data network
20 September 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray
South African media group Multisource is to build a nationwide LTE-Advanced Pro data network via a company it acquired in November 2015.
The project will go ahead through Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), which also owns 100% of iBurst and 70% of Broadlink. WBS already has spectrum in the 1,800 and 2,600MHz bands.
“WBS’s investment is a manifestation of its confidence in South Africa and its desire to contribute,” said Paul Harris, the chairman of WBS. He described the planned investment as “multi-billion rand” – one billion rand is $70 million.
The new network will be deployed on some of WBS’s own 400 sites and sites leased from tower companies and other providers.
A limited number of sites are already in operation, said the company, and existing WBS customers will be converted to the new network, with national rollout starting in the next few months. WBS will be seeking business and consumer customers for the all-4G service.
WBS added: “It will be enabled to use 5G when the technology is rolled out internationally inside the next five years and will place South Africa amongst the leaders in the field.”
Multisource bought WBS for an undisclosed price. The group also owns XConnect South Africa, which provides voice over IP connectivity, and Multisource Critical Communications.
LTE-Advanced Pro, sometimes called 4.5G, is seen as the next step on the development towards 5G wireless communications. The technology promises many of the characteristics that are in the plan for 5G, including data speeds of 3Gbps on a 640MHz carrier bandwidth, with latency of only 2ms, compared with 10ms possible with today’s LTE-Advanced.
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