Smile first with 800-MHz LTE in Africa
Alcatel-Lucent claims to have supplied Africa’s first commercial LTE network in the 800-MHz frequency, following the launch of 4G services by Tanzanian telco Smile Telecom Holdings.
The telco is utilizing the Alca-Lu broadband routers to offer services including live video chat and streamed TV content in Dar es Salaam, the country’s largest city. The firm plans to extend coverage nationwide by the year-end, and will eventually deploy 4G in three other countries where it currently operates.
Tom Allen, chief operating officer at Smile, says the upgrade is about more than just delivering new services. “Broadband has a significant impact on socio-economic development and through our presence in the country we hope to play an important role in improving the livelihood of Tanzanians,” he states.
Alca-Lu claims running 4G services in the 800-MHz band cuts Smile’s deployment costs because the kit is already being used in Europe. That commercial usage means there is also a wider range of LTE routers, dongles, and handsets available to the telco.
Smile currently also operates in South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.