Chinese technology powers Africa’s first LTE launch

The Chinese are in Africa to stay! And they are doing everything they possibly can including impacting technological milestones on the continent.

In April 2012 a technological feat was achieved in Africa. Mobile telecoms provider, Movicel of Angola launched LTE, and a Chinese company HUAWEI provided the technology.

That feat makes Angola the first country in Africa to launch the LTE technology.

Last week, Namibia’s Mobile Telecommunications Limited launched the LTE technology in the country’s capital city, Windhoek, making it the second in Africa.

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

This also means Chinese technology is powering high-speed Internet in Africa.

Meanwhile, Ghana which was predicted to be the first country in Africa to launch the LTE technology is still talking about it.

The National Information Technology Agency (NITA)  has announced that it would upgrade its WIMAX networks to LTE technologies by the end of this year, the Ghana News Agency has reported citing a press statement from the Agency.

And it will not be on commercial basis. It says the move forms part of an agreement signed with Huawei Technologies to implement the second phase of the eGovernment network which is expected to witness the roll out of 30 more Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) bringing NITA’s total stations to 60 across the country.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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