Announcement : Microlink is rolling out 4G LTE
We are delighted to inform you that we will be introducing 4G LTE in the first quarter of 2017. In early January we will inform you of a more specific date. LTE will provide a significantly enhanced service to our current Wimax 4G offerings.
1. We will be increasing our capacity enormously. To provide a concrete example: in Lusaka we currently have 14 Wimax sectors each with a capacity of a maximum of 14 MB. These Wimax sectors are going to be replaced by 54 LTE sectors each with an expected capacity of 60MB+. With our number of sectors increasing by 4 times and our sector capacity increasing by 4 times, we effectively are increasing capacity by 16 times. This will mean that for the next two to three years we anticipate no congestion in our base stations and thus a better experience for all our users.
2. With 4 times the number of sectors, are coverage map will be much improved. For example, we will cover 120+ square miles in Lusaka. The proximity of clients to base stations (where we will have 18 versus the current 5) means many areas (70%) will be able to use internal radios / routers if they wish to and close to 80% of the area will have outdoor smartphone coverage with uplink speeds of greater than 1 mbps.
3. Because of the proximity of the base stations last mile speeds (the speed from your router/smartphone to our base station) will be considerably improved and so clients on the majority of our packages will enjoy better maximum speeds.
4. LTE has become the standard for mobile data over the last few years and will remain the de facto standard until 5G comes in about 2022 some 5 years from now. So it should have a reasonably long shelf life.
5. At some stage, and subject to ZICTA, we hope to also be allowed to also offer VoLTE (Voice over LTE) which is like HD voice. This would seem to be the natural progression and our licence is much the same as Vodafone's and thus we would hope this would be permitted if the regulatory environment moves towards this which at this stage we cannot guarantee.
Who will we be like and what are the differences?
There are a growing number of providers who are entering the 4G LTE space. We are not the first and we are certainly not going to be the last. In effect, in terms of functionality the service we now will be offering will not be that dissimilar to other recent providers who are offering 4G LTE. We will seek to compete in this space in the same vein we have always tried to: namely to be extremely competitive on price and to offer personal service with good technical support. And we believe we will offer a pretty solid network because we know Airspan and its capabilities and we gained valuable experience through Wimax.
Where and when
We will roll-out in Lusaka with a target date of February 1st subject to us ensuring we meet our logistical targets. The equipment is from Airspan who supplied us with the Wimax equipment. We have an excellent relationship with them and from all our analysis they have a superb system so we think we will have a fabulous network.
One month later (March 1st) we also hope to provisionally roll-out in Kitwe, Ndola, Chingola and Livingstone. Over time our current Wimax systems will be moved to the secondary towns such as Choma, Mongu, Chipata, Solwezi, Luanshya, Kasama, Mufulira, Kabwe, etc.
Packages and Bundles
Our new packages will improve on our current SV packages both in terms of speeds, contention ratios and will be priced very competitively.
Like the other providers we will have Bundle prices which will be competitive in terms of price and speeds.
However, we will also continue to offer UNLIMITED monthly packages at the very heart of our offerings. We believe there is and will continue to be a market for unlimited packages with a flat monthly fee.
Pricing, along with terms and conditions, will be announced early in January.
Migration from Wimax or other systems to LTE will occur side by side with the roll-out of LTE to new clients. This will be on a first come, first served basis. You can register an interest on the website regarding migration but this does not commit you as we have not yet finalised all pricing and terms and conditions. When this is done in early January, you will be able to register a firm interest.