Veteran banker and chair of Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), Paul Harris, has announced a multi-billion rand investment in a new national ‘high-speed LTE-A’ network.
WBS, which owns iBurst, said the new wireless network promises to be an alternative to fibre networks and will bring “super-fast” broadband to consumers and businesses.
The network, which is planned to be rolled out in the next few months, is further set to enable 5G technology and “place South Africa amongst the leaders in the field”.
Harris said the network is intended to help boost South Africa’s economy. He cited a recent World Bank study that said an expansion of broadband access of ten percentage points in developing markets can result in an expansion of GDP by 1.4%.
“Nothing can be gained by sitting on the sidelines. WBS’ investment is a manifestation of its confidence in South Africa and its desire to contribute” said Harris in a statement.
WBS said that it plans to deploy LTE-A PRO or 4.5G and that the new national network will tap existing spectrum assignments in the 1 800 and 2 600 Mhz bands.
The new network will be deployed on some of WBS’ own 400 sites and sites leased from tower companies and other telecommunications providers, said the company.
WBS was acquired by network management company Multisource in 2015.
Meanwhile, Harris is the former CEO of banking group FirstRand.
Other shareholders and directors of WBS include MTN’s former chief technical officer Phumlani Moholi and Michael Jordaan who is the ex-CEO of FNB.