Ghana is said to be on course to become the first country in Africa where the LTE technology for mobile telecommunications will be launched.
Alcatel Lucent, the Paris based telecoms solution provider has hinted that it is in talks with mobile operators in the country to introduce the technology.
Speaking to ghanabusinessnews.com in an exclusive interview at the sidelines of the recently held telecoms conference, the West & Central Africa Com in Dakar, Senegal, the company’s Vice President for North, West & Central Africa, Frederic Sallet said, Alcatel Lucent is working on introducing the LTE technology in Ghana.
“We are currently working on LTE in Ghana. We are in a lot of discussions on that subject for the Ghanaian market. And giving the lead that we have on this market and the strong success that we have in the US and that we are starting to have with some operators in Europe, Middle East and Africa, I think Ghana could be a good place to start LTE,” he said.
He therefore indicated that it is likely Ghana will be the first country in Africa to launch the LTE technology.
The technology known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) is the latest standard in the mobile network technology tree that produced the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, according to Wikipedia.
It is a project of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), operating under a name trademarked by one of the associations within the partnership, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.
With LTE there is a new radio platform technology that will allow operators to achieve even higher peak throughputs than HSPA+ in higher spectrum bandwidth. Work on LTE began at 3GPP in 2004, with an official LTE work item started in 2006 and a completed 3GPP Release 8 specification in March 2009. Initial deployment of LTE is targeted for 2010 and 2011.
LTE is part of the GSM evolutionary path beyond 3G technology, following EDGE, UMTS, HSPA (HSDPA and HSUPA combined) and HSPA Evolution (HSPA+). Although HSPA and its evolution are strongly positioned to be the dominant mobile data technology for the next decade, the GSM family of standards must evolve toward the future. HSPA Evolution will provide the stepping-stone to LTE for many operators.
The overall objective for LTE is to provide an extremely high performance radio-access technology that offers full vehicular speed mobility and that can readily coexist with HSPA and earlier networks. Because of scalable bandwidth, operators will be able to easily migrate their networks and users from HSPA to LTE over time, according to the website www.4gamericas.org.
Alcatel Lucent, he said is very active in Africa’s telecoms sector. “We are involved in all the fibre optic deployments in
Africa. Either on the East or the west,” he added.
On Alcatel Lucent’s business in Africa, Sallet said the company in all its forms has been present in Africa for decades now and has had businesses in all the major countries of the continent.
He said the company has been working with some of the major telecoms operators, particularly the fixed network operators until the advent of mobile telecoms.
“When we go into the fixed networks, we have equipped most of the incumbent operators,” he said.
“When it comes to mobile network as well, we have been involved in working with the major network providers on the continent,” he added.
Acccording to Sallet, Alcatel Lucent has been involved in deploying 3G networks in many countries in Africa, including transmission networks that will allow an increase in bandwidth and capacity on the continent. “We have done that massively with the deployment of submarine cables,” he said.
He indicated that the mobile telecoms market is now moving towards data which will be carried by the wireless network.
He revealed that Alcatel Lucent is working with operators to transform their legacy networks by moving from traditional architecture to an IP architecture which will enable networks which will be fully scalable to be able to absorb the tremendous amount of data traffic that the continent will witness in the coming months and years.
He also said Alcatel Lucent has signed an agreement with Tigo Ghana to launch mobile advertising, which is the first in Ghana.
He revealed also that the landing of Globacom’s Glo 1 submarine cable in Ghana is very significant in the sense that it is bringing lots of capacity and reduction in interconnectivity costs.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, back from Dakar