What is LTE?
We’ve all heard about mobile devices and mobile networks offering something called LTE, but what is it? And why would you want it? The short answer is speed.
LTE stands for Long-Term Evolution. It’s an international standard for wireless data transfer like others you may have heard of, such as HSDPA and EDGE.
Fast, faster, LTE
LTE offers connection speeds many times faster than 3G – which means less time waiting for webpages to load, apps to download or videos to buffer. In fact, even high-quality videos shouldn’t buffer at all on an LTE connection.
LTE isn’t a trend or a fad, it’s the new standard in high speed data transfer.
That means you can get more things done more quickly without paying more because Vodacom treats all data equally – even though LTE is significantly faster than 3G it’s billed at the same rates, so if you have a 500MB data bundle and your device supports LTE you won’t pay any more than you would if your device only supported 3G.
How do I get it?
So, what do you need to get LTE? All you need is a compatible device and a 64K or 128K SIM card. Most high-end phones and tablets – like the Sony Xperia Z2, Huawei Ascend P7 and Nokia Lumia 930 – support LTE. But more and more affordable handsets now include support for LTE, too. For example, the Sony Xperia M2, Huawei Ascend G6, Nokia Lumia 520 and the Smart 4 Power all support LTE, even though they’re far more affordable than the their flagship siblings. Vodacom is also going to be launching an LTE-device for under R1 500 before the end of the year.
Of course, a faster connection also means it’s much easier to consumer larger amounts of data than you would on a slower connection. If a video takes half as long to load you can watch twice as many in the same time, and that means you could spend more on data than you’re used to.
To avoid any unpleasant surprises, after moving to an LTE-enabled device keep an eye on your data usage. Check your balance regularly or use a third-party application that monitors your usage, and if you notice your data usage going up substantially, consider a larger data bundle.
This is only the start
Thanks to Vodacom’s ongoing network investments – R1 billion has been earmarked for Gauteng in the next financial year – LTE coverage is only going to improve. Vodacom has added over 470 LTE-enabled sites to its national footprint this year. By April next year it expects to have 600 new LTE sites live in Gauteng alone, which will mean 38% of Vodacom sites in the province will be LTE enabled.
Once you get used to enjoying the higher-speed connectivity LTE offers, it’s pretty difficult to go back to 3G speeds. That’s why Vodacom now also offers LTE roaming on selected international networks. Billed at the same rate as regular data roaming, Vodacom post-paid customers with LTE-capable devices and 64K or 128K SIM cards can roam on Vodafone’s LTE networks in the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Ireland and New Zealand.
In the same way Vodacom will continue to grow its LTE network, additional Vodafone partner networks from around the world will be added for LTE roaming in months to come.
LTE isn’t a trend or a fad – it’s the new standard in high-speed data transfer. With more of us working on the run and expecting internet connectivity that can deliver everything from documents and images to high-quality streaming music and video, it’s only going to become more widely expected.
Fortunately Vodacom plans to make sure LTE is more widely available in order to meet this demand. LTE isn’t the future, it’s the present.