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LTE accelerates in Africa

LTE services are now being provided in 24 countries across Africa and it is expected that 50% of the region’s population will have 4G access by 2018.

2015 has been an exciting year for Africa, with LTE 4G services now provided in 24 African countries, and many more operators expected to launch commercial 4G LTE services by the end of the year. As LTE subscriptions in Africa continue to grow, and with 50% of the region’s population expected to be covered by LTE networks by 2018, LTE Africa 2015 (17-19 November) will return at a time when it has never been more crucial for operators to ensure they have the best plans for the future strategic deployment of LTE networks.

Co-located with AfricaCom in CCITC Cape Town, South Africa, LTE Africa will bring together leading LTE industry experts and operators to discuss the key issue of strategic deployment for 4G LTE and VoLTE services going forward in Africa. With over 4000 operators in attendance and more operator case studies than ever before, LTE Africa will provide the best platform for sharing key information crucial for revolutionising Africa’s digital future.

Currently few African operators of 4G LTE networks have deployed Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), the rising LTE standard for voice communication. As such, even networks offering LTE smartphones are still using GSM or 3G circuit-switched networks to carry voice traffic. The deployment of VoLTE will be one of the biggest technological advances Africa has seen, and so operators’ deployment strategies must be ready to handle this quantum leap.

Thomas Allen, COO of Smile, one of the biggest operators in Africa, will present a case study during LTE Africa on Smile’s VoLTE deployment success, ‘VoLTE Rollout in Africa’. Allen’s case study will focus on how to identify when a market is ready for VoLTE deployment; a crucial topic to share with other operators as the whole region makes plans to move forward towards deployment of VoLTE.

Riedwaan Hassiem, Executive Head of Department, Enterprise Technical Product Delivery, Vodacom South Africa is also speaking at the event. Speaking ahead of the conference, Hassiem commented: “Never before has the time and opportunity been so accessible and available to Africa to accelerate growth of epic proportions in all spheres of life, due to the explosion of broadband services across the continent. From fixed, mobile and converged services, the time for working together to bridge the technical, social and economic divide across Africa has arrived to transform every member of this continent to take its rightful place in the global village”.

Key topics that will be debated at LTE Africa will include; SDN/ NFV; device deployment; big data and networking analysis; network optimisation; HetNets; and optimising backhaul. One of the crucial panels will focus on the most important LTE services to drive consumer adoption.

Marten Scheffer, General Manager of Network Engineering, Neotel, who is speaking on ‘NFV and SDN: Hype vs. reality’ said, “NFV and SDN show enormous potential for encouraging and creating the foundations for faster deployment of services which will be critical in developing regions and economies such as Africa.”


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