VODACOM said on Wednesday it had launched its high-speed broadband long term evolution (LTE) network in Cape Town.

Vodacom launched its LTE network two months ago in Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria. The company said the number of LTE-enabled base stations had grown from 70 to more than 500.

The LTE network would provide consumers with faster broadband speeds and a better internet experience.

"On average, we’ve lit up another seven LTE sites every single day for the past two months and hit our target of 500 LTE base stations a month early," chief technology officer Andries Delport said. He said the Cape Town network was launched several weeks ahead of schedule.

LTE can operate at much faster speeds and lower latency than 3G, and represents a major change in how people experience the internet, he said. Its higher speeds and lower latency mean an improved user experience with stutter-free video and almost instantaneous music downloads.

"In the six months to September, we invested R3.2bn in our network in South Africa. One of the big focus areas has been providing high-speed links to our base stations, which we’ve now completed at more than 5,000 sites to support both LTE and faster 3G connections.

"Our clear goal is to ensure that Vodacom maintains its lead with the best network experience and widest coverage," said Mr Delport.

MTN has also launched its LTE network in Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria and is expected to launch in Cape Town soon.

MTN chief technology officer Kanagaratnam Lambotharan said last month that having piloted LTE for some time now, "we are confident that we have made significant milestones in providing access to this technology and are happy to be able to offer our customers the LTE experience over our world-class MTN network."

Cell C and 8ta are also gearing up to launch LTE networks.