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Smile Telecom Holdings Ltd (Smile) has become the first network in Africa to provide 4G LTE service for hi-speed mobile broadband access in the 800 MHz frequency band

The company has rolled out 4G LTE service, for which the technology was provided by Alcatel-Lucent, in several districts of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The 4G LTE service will offer businesses and consumers speeds of up to four times as fast as 3G and can support multi-user internet gaming, video conferencing and other business applications.

Smile chief operating officer Tom Allen said, "There is huge demand for internet connectivity in Tanzania and working with Alcatel-Lucent we are able to provide our customers with faster, better quality connections, resulting in ever more compelling services to satisfy their demands."

According to the Smile, broadband routers have been installed in Tanzanian homes, offices and public places such as shopping malls and internet cafes to access the services.

Smile's core platform will be integrated with Alcatel-Lucent's network equipment, which the firm said would result in lower capital costs. The platform will be capable of supporting a wide and growing variety of LTE devices, including routers, dongles, handsets and tablets.

"Our 4G LTE technology brings broadband services to many people that haven't had access to such services in the past, helping drive economic growth in Tanzania and unlocking new revenue streams for Smile," Alcatel-Lucent Africa vice president Daniel Jaeger said.

Smile has said it would be looking to extend its coverage across Tanzania throughout the year, which would be followed by the launch of similar services in South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo.

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