Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


MTN Trials Next Gen Mobile Network

Article Image
Not wanting to watch the rest of the world take steps towards the next generation of mobile broadband technology and be left behind, MTN South Africa has been testing one of the pillars of advanced 4G and 5G networking with two of its key partners.

The operator has completed a field trial of 4x4 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antenna technology on a live network with Huawei Technologies and mobile chip giant Qualcomm Technologies. The trio claim that average download throughput increased by 74% compared to "traditional" 4G/LTE 2x2 MIMO deployments and, as a result, MTN now plans to roll out South Africa's largest 4x4 MIMO network, and accompanying devices, in 2017 to provide its customers with "the best 4.5G experience."

Why? Because of mobile data traffic growth. The company has been running its 4G LTE network since 2012 alongside its 3G network and, in the six months to the end of June 2016, reported "strong data revenue growth, up 19.2%, contributing 34.1% to total revenue." As total revenues hit 19.84 billion South African Rand (US$1.52 billion) from a total of 29.8 million customers, mobile data accounted for ZAR6.77 billion ($519 million) in revenues during the first half of 2016.

With smartphone penetration rising and mobile data usage growing, and with strong competition in particular from market leader Vodacom (more than 35 million customers, of which about 10% are 4G users), MTN is seeking to gain competitive advantage and plan for the award of 2.6GHz spectrum, for which the licensing process has been delayed by the regulator.

And while 5G is a long way off for South Africa, gaining experience with technologies such as 4x4 MIMO can only help operators such as MTN as they plan their futures.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, International Group Editor, Light Reading

Innovation hub


Hot startup of the month: Pan-African fintech KamaPay

This month's hot startup is pan-African fintech KamaPay, which helps individuals and businesses make cross-border payments on the continent.


Afretec awards $3.3M in grants to African research teams

The African Engineering and Technology Network (Afretec) has awarded grants worth $300,000 each to 11 university research teams across Africa to advance digital technologies.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Flash poll

All polls

Africa Tech Perspectives


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.


Challenges and opportunities for women's tech careers

A new survey reveals that COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis, skills shortages and a lack of mentorship have negatively affected women's career development over the past two years.


Survey: Opportunities for Women in Tech

Take our new survey for women across Asia, Europe and Africa looking at the biggest challenges and opportunities for women-led enterprises and trends in tech careers for women.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

London Tech Week
June 13-16, 2023
Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Broad Sanctuary, London SW1P 3EE
Cybertech Africa 2023
August 1-2, 2023
Kigali Convention Center, Kigali, Rwanda
Africa Tech Festival, Home of AfricaCom and AfricaTech
November 13-16, 2023
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: February 2023

By Omdia Analysts

In February 2023 key events in the Middle East and Africa included a major Internet project for Africa's underserved by Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Microsoft as well as a 5G launch in Tanzania – that and more in this month's Omdia View.


Omdia View: July 2022

By Omdia Analysts

Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up