MTN brings LTE to prepaid customers

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One of South Africa’s first mobile network operators, MTN, has just opened up access to its LTE network to its prepaid, or PayAsYouGo customers. It joins Vodacom in offering the ability to access the high speed data networks to everyone.

To access the LTE network you will need both an LTE enabled smartphone or modem, as well as a 128k SIM card which can be bought from MTN stores and participating retail outlets for just R1.50 and will include a full-size SIM, micro SIM and a nano SIM card in each pack.

Existing MTN prepaid customers who want access to the LTE network can also perform a SIM swap to the 128k SIM in the new starter pack.

MTN rolled out its LTE network in November 2012 and has since only allowed contract subscribers to utilise the LTE network which has a limited amount of spectrum, and therefore bandwidth, to support users. Both MTN and Vodacom (Vodacom opened up its LTE network to prepaid customers in March 2013) have utilised spectrum that was already allocated to them to roll out LTE by re-farming a portion of the spectrum by lowering the amount available to both 2G and 3G phones.

While both networks are busy rolling out LTE base stations as quickly as possible, the question of whether they will have access to enough spectrum to be able to roll out sufficient coverage and bandwidth for all of their customers still looms large.

The problem has been the migration of terrestrial television broadcasting from analogue radio signals to digital – usually referred to as the digital terrestrial television (DTT) migration – which is set to free up huge allotments of bandwidth that the networks will then be able to purchase for expansion and creation of high speed data networks.

[Via – ITWeb]

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