VoLTE in Africa Is a Work in Progress

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By Lian Jye Su | 2Q 2015 | IN-3612

Current State of African VoLTE


Generally, when it comes to Voice over LTE (VoLTE), Africa may not have been the original intended market. After all, LTE deployment activity in the region is lacking. In comparison to the 64 commercial LTE services in Asia Pacific, there are only 32 commercial LTE services in Africa. Plus, coverage is low, with even lower penetration rate. Currently, LTE coverage of Africa is around 20%, concentrated chiefly in urban areas.

So far, VoLTE trials and deployments have been focused in Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. Africa’s niche 4G operator, Smile, is behind the trial in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, but ABI Research believes that a real commercial launch will most likely occur with Vodacom in South Africa. As the leading mobile operator in South Africa, Vodacom has invested in LTE technology since 2012, under the assistance of Nokia Networks. By the end of 2014, the operator had registered close to 700,000 LTE users. They have the critical mass required for commercial deployment as compared to Smile or ATM Mobilis, who is responsible for the VoLTE …

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