By Jacques Klopper, Pre-Sales Engineer, InfoVista
LTE certainly has a bright future in Africa, with several nations seeing it as the preferred mobile broadband technology of choice. This was a clear takeaway at LTE Africa earlier this month in Cape Town, South Africa, where more than 60 speakers led discussions ranging from “How to best build and launch an LTE network in Africa” to “The effect of LTE on backhaul requirements.”
InfoVista's booth was particularly busy during the event, with attendees showing a keen interest in network planning and service assurance solutions, both of which are essential in order to guarantee a smooth transition from older legacy networks to more robust LTE networks. This further drove home our belief that the coming years will be very exciting for Africa and LTE.
Several African countries, including Angola, South Africa, Namibia, Mauritius, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, already have commercially launched LTE services. Industry professionals have even predicted that, over the next several years, LTE will become mainstream throughout much of the continent.
One of the biggest challenges that network operators are facing, however, when it comes to LTE rollouts in Africa, is a lack of LTE-compatible devices. Presently, only about 600,000 such devices exist throughout the continent, with about 90 percent of them found in South Africa alone. Although, with such intense interest in building out robust LTE networks, other African countries are emerging to form developing (and eager) markets.