Global Telephony

Delivering DECT: South Africa turns to wireless to boost access

Telkom South Africa, the national telephone company, has taken a huge step to expand its telephone network into underserved urban and rural areas by embarking on one of the world's largest radio access projects devised.

The two-year program, valued at nearly 2 billion rand ($400 million), is expected to add an estimated 420,000 lines. The project reportedly represents the world's largest contract to date for a wireless local loop (WLL) digital enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT) system.

Telkom, as part of its regulatory obligations, must expand its network by 2.8 million lines within five years. WLL technologies are expected to deliver at least half of those lines.

For the initial project, the telco tested various WLL technologies for two years before choosing DECT and awarding the contract late last year to Alcatel Altech Telecommunications (Alcatel's South African subsidiary) and Lucent Technologies. …

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