South Africa: MTN to Match Competitors in Fast Broadband Offering


MTN has fallen into step with competitors Vodacom and Cell C by announcing that it would be rolling out HSPA+ broadband services at speeds of up to 21 megabits per second (MBps). MTN said HSPA+ would be "rolled out strategically countrywide".

But achieving the high connection speeds made possible by the technology would depend on "various conditions such as transmission, access device capability and the number of subscribers using the site at that particular time of day".

Cell C announced plans for an HSPA+ service last month, promising to become the first operator in SA to offer the technology by the end of this year. Vodacom followed last week by saying its HSPA+ service would be available in key areas during the Soccer World Cup.

MTN did not say when its HSPA+ technology would be operational, but said it had recently upgraded its broadband service to provide download speeds of 14,4MBps - double the previous level. It would not charge a premium for the higher access speeds.

However, WorldWideWorx MD Arthur Goldstuck said few customers would be able to take full advantage of the faster network speed. "The end user equipment is not yet ready for these speeds. "There's been tremendous disappointment with the roll-out of 7.2MBps speeds, with most people experiencing speeds of less than 1MBps," Goldstuck said.