LTE newcomers in Africa face spectrum, backhaul challenges

Africa is providing a fertile breeding ground not only for different types of LTE players but also for different LTE service propositions. Established operators like Orange and Vodacom are offering services, but a new breed of data-only LTE players like Smile Communications and Surfline are deploying LTE as well.

For its part, Smile has ambitions beyond being a mere replacement for DSL services. The company says its proposition is fully mobile, and it intends to be the first to launch Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services in Africa in June, when it starts selling the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 6. Surfline also has ambitions to expand beyond its current market in Ghana, where it is targeting 150,000 customers before the end of the year.

Yet they face challenges, including garnering the right spectrum and affordable backhaul. In this special report, FierceWireless:Europe takes a look at LTE developments in Africa and what's expected from some of the players--old and new--in the coming months. Read the full report here.