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Azimuth

An introduction to South African carriers

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I realize my contributions won't be about Sprint or anything in the US market...so please feel free to move to a 'foreign' section. :tu:

 

Before I start any new threads or post further, I thought it might be interesting if I share what I know on my local carriers. Here we go...

 

The Big Four in South Africa

 

wvrfDhZ.png

 

MTN (MTN Group reported 210 million subscribers in April 2014; big push into rest of Africa)

 

CBqRmjY.png

 

Vodacom (51.5 million subscribers reported in July 2013; owned by Vodafone UK)

 

g82TRzj.jpg

 

Cell C (12.3 million subscribers reported in November 2013; "the underdog")

 

dd9pgGX.jpg

 

Telkom Mobile (1.6 million subscribers reported in September 2013; "new kids on the block")

 

LTE takes off

 

Telkom Mobile, previously "8ta", were the early adopters and conducted a very visible LTE trial during the period November 2012 - August 2013. MTN and Vodacom followed suit. From what I could see, they conducted closed trials. Cell C has yet to adopt LTE.

 

SA spectrum

 

- MTN operates their 3G and LTE networks in the 1800MHz band. They use FDD for LTE.

- Vodacom also operates the 1800MHz band, also using FDD for LTE.

- Telkom Mobile use 2100MHz for 3G and 2300MHz for LTE. They're the only carrier to use TDD.

- Cell C operates in the 2100MHz bands offering 2G and 3G only (as at August 2014)

 

Personal use of each carrier for LTE

 

Telkom Mobile uses TDD so get very high speeds; I've hit 73Mbps but have seen demos of 100Mbps; Uploads max out at 7-9Mbps; This is my voice provider.

 

MTN uses FDD and the speeds are much more synchronous; I've hit up to 50Mbps but have seen other users getting 71Mbps; Uploads max out at 21Mbps. This is my home fixed broadband provider.

 

Vodacom uses FDD and the speeds are a mixed bag yet performance is good; I've not seen many reports on LTE speeds but have personally hit around 16Mbps down and 9Mbps up, best case; I use this carrier for my iPad 4.

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Is 2300Mhz TDD a subset of Band 41?

Nope, that would be band 38. I don't think we use 2300Mhz here in the US. Something else is using that spectrum.

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Nope, that would be band 38. I don't think we use 2300Mhz here in the US. Something else is using that spectrum.

AT&T's 2300Mhz WCS FDD

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This was really interesting! I always wonder about stuff like this in other countries.

 

Hope you're staying clear of the Ebola outbreak!

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This was really interesting! I always wonder about stuff like this in other countries.

 

Hope you're staying clear of the Ebola outbreak!

 

Two completely different areas. It would be like telling someone in middle Canada to stay clear of a outbreak in Southern Mexico.

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Is 2300Mhz TDD a subset of Band 41?

Subset? It's its own band - Band 40. Unless I'm misunderstanding your question.

 

For interest:

 

2.3 GHz is also used by

 

- Rostelecom (WiMAX To LTE), Moscow

- Spectranet Limited, Nigeria

- Celcom (Axiata), Malaysia

- Osnova Telekom, Russia

- Nepal Telecom

- Asiaspace (WiMAX), Malaysia

- MTNL, New Delhi

- Bharti Airtel, New Delhi

- NBN Co, Australia

- TMP Uganda

- Blueline, South Africa.

 

Source: Poynting Direct - Facebook

Edited by Azimuth

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This was really interesting! I always wonder about stuff like this in other countries.

Thanks for that.

 

Hope you're staying clear of the Ebola outbreak!

Thankfully I'm far away, unlike my one friend who switched jobs and now works further north in Africa quite regularly.

 

All I can think of is Outbreak, the movie with Dustin Hoffman. Scary stuff!!

Edited by Azimuth

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I realize my contributions won't be about Sprint or anything in the US market...so please feel free to move to a 'foreign' section. :tu:

 

Before I start any new threads or post further, I thought it might be interesting if I share what I know on my local carriers. Here we go...

 

The Big Four in South Africa

 

If you have the market share info, you might want to reduce those operator subscriber numbers to just South Africa.  I am a geography guy, but a lot of our members are not.  They may see the 210 million and 51.5 million numbers and not realize that South Africa has a population of approximately 52 million.

 

AJ

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I realize my contributions won't be about Sprint or anything in the US market...so please feel free to move to a 'foreign' section. :tu:

 

Before I start any new threads or post further, I thought it might be interesting if I share what I know on my local carriers. Here we go...

 

The Big Four in South Africa

 

wvrfDhZ.png

 

MTN (MTN Group reported 210 million subscribers in April 2014; big push into rest of Africa)

 

CBqRmjY.png

 

Vodacom (51.5 million subscribers reported in July 2013; owned by Vodafone UK)

 

g82TRzj.jpg

 

Cell C (12.3 million subscribers reported in November 2013; "the underdog")

 

dd9pgGX.jpg

 

Telkom Mobile (1.6 million subscribers reported in September 2013; "new kids on the block")

 

LTE takes off

 

Telkom Mobile, previously "8ta", were the early adopters and conducted a very visible LTE trial during the period November 2012 - August 2013. MTN and Vodacom followed suit. From what I could see, they conducted closed trials. Cell C has yet to adopt LTE.

 

SA spectrum

 

- MTN operates their 3G and LTE networks in the 1800MHz band. They use FDD for LTE.

- Vodacom also operates the 1800MHz band, also using FDD for LTE.

- Telkom Mobile use 2100MHz for 3G and 2300MHz for LTE. They're the only carrier to use TDD.

- Cell C operates in the 2100MHz bands offering 2G and 3G only (as at August 2014)

 

Personal use of each carrier for LTE

 

Telkom Mobile uses TDD so get very high speeds; I've hit 73Mbps but have seen demos of 100Mbps; Uploads max out at 7-9Mbps; This is my voice provider.

 

MTN uses FDD and the speeds are much for synchronous; I've hit up to 50Mbps but have seen other users getting 71Mbps; Uploads max out at 21Mbps. This is my home fixed broadband provider.

 

Vodacom uses FDD and the speeds are a mixed bag yet performance is good; I've not seen many reports on LTE speeds but have personally hit around 16Mbps down and 9Mbps up, best case; I use this carrier for my iPad 4.

 

Hi.  Glad to have you here.  Great to see that there are people here from other countries.  So I was wondering what the cost of these plans is in your country?  Obviously it must be different than here in the states.  Just out of curiosity.  Thanks.  Have a great day!

 

Kevin

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If you have the market share info, you might want to reduce those operator subscriber numbers to just South Africa. I am a geography guy, but a lot of our members are not. They may see the 210 million and 51.5 million numbers and not realize that South Africa has a population of approximately 52 million.

 

AJ

Certainly can do that!

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MTN uses FDD and the speeds are much for synchronous; I've hit up to 50Mbps but have seen other users getting 71Mbps; Uploads max out at 21Mbps. This is my home fixed broadband provider.

Could you explain this a little better? By fixed broadband I think Cable/DSL/Fiber but you make no mention of any wireline operations for MTN.

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Firstly, a correction on my part..."the speeds are much more synchronous".

 

I used the term "fixed broadband" loosely because "fixed mobile broadband" didn't seem right.

 

Basically I don't roam cells like using a cellphone. I have a SIM card installed in my LTE CPE, with an outdoor directional antenna pointed at a specific base station I have LOS to.

 

To me it's fixed broadband and wholly replaced my ADSL service. I even cancelled my service with my telco and switched to a VoIP provider.

 

An an aside:

 

The tradition fixed broadband here has always been ADSL, very slow ADSL. You were lucky to get 10Mbps and this was very area specific. Now we're getting 20Mbps ADSL but one has to be super close to the telco exchange. Then there's 20-40Mbps VDSL but the same distance restriction applies or there needs to be an upgrade in your area.

 

Fiber has always been reserved for corporates but FTTH has finally become a reality here. It's still not a service I can use though because the operators want mass numbers, not a single house on a street.

 

LTE is the absolute best I can get right now. Luckily, I'm not a downloader so don't need much more than 20-30GB monthly.

Edited by Azimuth
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Firstly, a correction on my part..."the speeds are much more synchronous".

 

I used the term "fixed broadband" loosely because "fixed mobile broadband" didn't seem right.

 

Basically I don't roam cells like using a cellphone. I have a SIM card installed in my LTE CPE, with an outdoor directional antenna pointed at a specific base station I have LOS to.

 

To me it's fixed broadband and wholly replaced my ADSL service. I even cancelled my service with my telco and switched to a VoIP provider.

I think the term we use around here (I don't know if it's the industry standard or not) is WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider), which is partly what Clearwire was.

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Definitely not a WISP. I'm a carrier subscriber.

 

While waiting for those photos, a quick post of my own LTE link:

 

ysu9azu3.jpg

 

dy8ytage.jpg

 

uqa7ehet.jpg

 

Pictured:

 

- 1622m link distance (zoomed in with a 300mm lens)

- 100Mbps tower with TDD and FDD operator

- Cross-polarised dual element 9dBi MIMO LTE antenna

 

Not pictured:

 

- -77dBm RSRP after antenna installation

We have WISPs here but they typically offer uncapped services at speeds of 2-10Mbps with super low pings. They install their own premises equipment, typically a 30dBi Ubiquiti RocketDish and a Cisco switch. They manage your whole service and you aren't in control.

Edited by Azimuth

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I think the term we use around here (I don't know if it's the industry standard or not) is WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider), which is partly what Clearwire was.

It sounds more like the data bucket options att gives businesses. You get a 20-30 gig bucket and can put your phones and/or an air card/hotspot type device on and they all pull from the bucket. I have friends who run a hone business like this, instead of using crappy capped 1-5mb satellite internet.
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Hi. Glad to have you here. Great to see that there are people here from other countries. So I was wondering what the cost of these plans is in your country? Obviously it must be different than here in the states. Just out of curiosity. Thanks. Have a great day!

 

Kevin

Going with the current exchange rate of USD10.735:1ZAR

 

- $56pm for my calling plan with Telkom Mobile, including 5GB mobile data, 10GB WiFi hotspot data, 100 minutes and an iPhone 5S 32GB.

- $46pm for my home "fixed broadband" LTE which gives me 20GB. An ISP called Afrihost resells mobile data for MTN. They basically have their own APN and it can only be used for data, not calls.

- $15pm for 3GB data on my iPad 4. This is a Vodacom offering.

 

I therefore spend $173pm (two calling plans in the family) for 33GB carrier data per month.

Edited by Azimuth
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I use Sprint like alot in here.

 

my plan is the unlimited my way plan i beleive its called.  perhaps im wrong on the name.  I have 2 lines on there.  Both have unlimited texting/data and 1500 minutes.  I normally only use about 500 of those minutes, but i do use alot of data though so im glad that sprint is still unlimited. 

 

Total costs a month for my 2 lines after government discount is about $142.

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What is 'unlimited' there? Here they use the word liberally but place a limit on it - advertising board hadn't nailed them yet.

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What is 'unlimited' there? Here they use the word liberally but place a limit on it - advertising board hadn't nailed them yet.

 

Well for different carriers it means different things.  For Sprint unlimited is unlimited -whether its 3G or LTE.  The only limitation to this is roaming data.  Which they technically only give you a few hundred MB's a month of roaming data.  But most of us dont really roam very much.  Native sprint coverage gets better and better daily.  With Verizon unlimited used to mean no limits to the amount of data you got to use and there are still a few people who actually are on that plan still.  Verizon no longer offers an unlimited data plan to their customers.   T-Mobile has an unlimited plan but it costs you.  AT&T also no longer offers unlimited data.  There are carriers here that are prepaid that offer so many MB's or GB's of 4G/LTE data and then you are booted to 3G and you get unlimited 3G data.  So the only truely unlimited "data" cell provider here in the US is Sprint.

 

But as with every good thing, plans change.  Sprint still offers their unlimited plans, but they have started doing limited data plans at fractions of the cost of unlimited plans.  But I will stick with my unlimited plan I currently am on and use daily.

 

Hope that helps.  If anyone else would like to please chime in on this.

 

Kevin

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What is 'unlimited' there? Here they use the word liberally but place a limit on it - advertising board hadn't nailed them yet.

I have the newest nation wide unlimited plan from Sprint (my way). Unlimited is really unlimited, the sole exceptions are:

1. In times of network congestion video streaming may be temporary throttled to 1mb (so enough for standard definition but not high definition video.

2. If you are in the top 5% of data users on Sprint's network and connect to a congested/overburdened tower they reserve the right to latency throttle you until congestion is over, or you move to an unburdened site/sector.

 

I personally use about 12 gigs of data a month on my phone, which puts me at using 2.5x the amount Sprint has said puts you in the top 5%(5gigs). I have never been throttled in the past three months since they implemented this, or if I have it's completely unnoticeable. They past few months I have actually used 35-40 (streaming lots of video to my phone, and other legitimate usage) and have been to massive events with thousands of people on only one or two sectors of sites, in areas where there is only one b25 carrier or a few had b26(800mhz) but none have had b41(Sprint's saving grace of capacity), and I still has not noticed ANY throttling.

Not even the reduction of speed for video streaming that's in the TOS of my plan.

Granted my average usage probably makes me a power user, and I honestly normally don't ever go up to 15gigs the past few months have been exceptions, but being completely honest I have no issues telling people I have true unlimited on a strong, quality network and when I need to I can use (what I consider) an excessive amount of mobile data(aka 15gigs plus) without needing to worry one bit.

 

I have three lines on Sprint: one with no data and two with unlimited, all my way plans though. My bill is 160ish a month and my personal line is only 55 bucks because the first line on my account is cheaper on voice and text (unlimited data added on is $20 a month). In comparison I was paying 195 a month on att for the same three lines, except we had a family unlimited text thing added on for 45, and only 2gb of data compared to unlimited.

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On the subject of roaming, my call plan is with Telkom Mobile but they don't have coverage everywhere.  They're in an agreement with MTN to allow their customers to roam on MTN when out-of-coverage.  I get a measly 150MB which I really have to treasure. :(

 

1500 minutes is unbelievable!  Luckily with Telkom Mobile, TM to TM calls are free.  Really enjoying this. B) We've recently had a major shake-up in the industry with mobile termination rates (inter-network).  This has triggered a price war and MTN have just posted lower profits as a result.

 

Edit: 12GB! :blink:

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Edit: 12GB! :blink:

I take that's towards my post lol? It's not hard when you stream music (320kbs quality) for a couple hours each day and stream some HD TV/movies. Most of my usage is actually when I'm out and about (still waiting on LTE at my home), like the other day I was getting new tires on my car and had a four hour wait. So I just watched Netflix the whole time. We also get unlimited calling from cell phone to cell phone even on other carriers, which is nice.

I'll probably drop down to 2-3gigs in a few weeks when I get my $70 1gig fiber connection.

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That's where we fall off. 1Gbps? Our FTTH is coming in at 100Mbps.

 

Sigh. One day. Pretty stoked about LTE still. :D

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No. The issue here is not where, it's how they managed the backhaul contracts. Bidding, execution and deployment. Those failures would have just been isolated to cities instead of failing everywhere. I'm not sure how that would have yielded a better result.

 

Also, backhaul went much easier in the rural areas. So rural backhaul was not the cause of any delays in urban/suburban areas. Rural buildout really never siphoned work away that could have happened in the cities. That's a fallacy and maschination for egocentric city dwellers who think that those people work on that farmer's tower could be working on mine instead!

 

But the reality is that rural tower had easy to get backhaul and didn't require permits. So if they skipped the rural site and waited until the urban sites had permits and backhaul, they would have people waiting around that could be deploying something. Hell, they would probably still not be working in rural areas if they did it that way.

 

Sprint is rebuilding its entire network. Cities and rural areas. And they worked on every site the moment it was ready. Whether in the city or in a rural area. And that's the way it should be.

 

My complaint with Sprint in regards to backhaul is they should have released all the backhaul systemwide back in October 2011, while Network Vision plans were being finalized. However, they tried a just in time backhaul scenario plan instead of letting backhaul vendors get way out in front. Sprint did this for financial reasons, undoubtedly. But it really should have been figured in.

 

Additionally, Sprint should not have gone with the lowest priced backhaul providers that say they will meet their spec/schedule. There should have been a lot more emphasis to find the lowest priced vendor who can best meet the schedule. And last...all of it should have been better managed. When vendors got behind, they should have used the remedies allowed in the contract instead of giving them grace after grace.

 

But all this is really just Monday morning quarterbacking at this point. This phase is largely over. And the new guys under Masa are on it. These types of failures are just not going to happen like this ever again. Onward!

 

Robert via Samsung Note 8.0 using Tapatalk Pro

Quoted you Robert but moved it here.

 

We have a government deadline of 2018, I think, to reach certain milestones in broadband. There was a huge push a couple years ago where they were laying fiber in every damn street I drove in. It's such a pity I wasn't into cellular back then, or I would've taken a boat load of photos.

 

FTTH, MSANs and LTE are all that matters here now. The former two have nothing to do with cellular of course. The race is now last mile and LTE site upgrades (typically 30Mbps sites are upgraded to 100Mbps).

 

So tell me: is LTE that side for mobile phone use only? No "fixed broadband" home use like here where a LTE CPE is pushed in instead of an ADSL router?

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