MTN, Vodacom: LTE is coming in 2012
Vodacom and MTN have confirmed plans to launch LTE in SA by the end of 2012. What does this mean for gaming?
Joosub said that he is confident that Vodacom will launch LTE services in “some cities” by the end of the year, and grow coverage to other areas after this initial launch.
The Vodacom CEO said that 75% of their network is already LTE-ready, and that they are currently rolling out fibre to their base stations to ensure they have the needed transmission capacity to support LTE.
This announcement from Joosub comes one day after MTN officially announced that they plan to launch commercial LTE services in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban before the end of 2012.
They are looking at Cape Town, he added, but said that there are some challenges to “re-farm” the spectrum needed to roll out LTE in the mother city.
8ta is also working on an LTE network, with 8ta head Amith Maharaj having said that it will take some time before they are ready for a commercial launch. Current estimates are that 8ta will launch its first commercial LTE services in 2013.
LTE and gaming
We asked Vodacom about the potential of LTE for gaming purposes, as low latency is paramount. “It’s tough to make any blanket predictions, but on paper it has the potential to deliver the fastest yet mobile connection with sub-100ms latencies,” said a Vodacom representative.
Speaking to the potential of LTE to compete with ADSL in terms of gaming service quality, Vodacom said that “the throughput could even be higher, but on the downside, jitter will never be as good as with copper.” Jitter is a term that refers to the variance in ping across multiple tests.
Vodacom provided some screencaps from Speedtest results on their LTE trial network.
Kanagaratnam Lambotharan, chief technology officer at MTN SA, said “LTE is excellent for gaming as it has extremely low latencies. The user experience is comparable to a high-speed fixed line environment. It is difficult to predict expected real-world download speeds, upload speeds, and latencies, as the real live environment is different and user loading also has an impact.”
“LTE is expected to give much better overall speeds so as to give a better consistent experience to more users. Depending on the network configuration, real live speeds vary between 2Mbps to 66Mbps. If you are the only user, [local] latencies in a fibre backhaul environment should be anything between 10ms to 50ms.”