Rural Eastern Cape to get wireless broadband and VoIP calls


A project to roll out WiMAX broadband services in the Amathole district of the Eastern Cape will offer local residents and businesses access to high-speed Internet access and free VoIP telephone calls within the network by the middle of this year.

The deal will see Tellumat install WiMAX base stations on behalf of under-serviced area licence holder Amatole Telecommunication Services in regional centres, including East London, Bisho, King William’s Town, Alice and Fort Beaufort in the first phase of the roll-out. The network will be expanded in further phases to cover other targeted areas in the Amathole district.

“WiMAX is specifically designed to cover wide geographical areas serving large numbers of users at an affordable price,” says Tellumat’s Geoff Carey. “Worldwide it is considered one of the best solutions for 'last mile’ broadband connectivity. WiMAX technology can offer access speeds approaching 70Mbps per base station sector. The broadband service will be offered with connect speeds ranging between 64kbps and 2Mbps, effectively providing a wireless alternative to other broadband service offerings.”

Amatole operations director, Bevan Booy, says the company, which has so far offered cellphone services through roaming agreements with the major cell networks, will offer both voice and data services, including , through its wireless broadband network.

“People will pay a monthly subscription for an always-on connection to the network which they can use to access the Internet as well as to make VoIP calls,” says Booy. “All calls within the network will be free, and subscribers will be able to buy airtime for calls outside the network or outside the region at very competitive rates. There will be no need to buy special equipment – we supply a terminal for each subscriber and they simply plug in existing phones and computers.”

ICT World