How to enable LTE on your Vodacom iPhone 5


While the iPhone 5 was not a massive upgrade from the previous 4S model, the addition of high speed LTE networking is something a lot of people have been looking for. But it arrived on SA’s shores without LTE enabled for any of our networks.

Problem is that Apple approves networks before they enable LTE on their iPhones – and if the networks dont have Apple’s approval, the phone simply would not connect to the LTE networks, even if they are available. While some might argue that it is typical from Apple to try and control these things, maybe Apple would want more tight control over anything affecting reception after the Antennagate issues of the iPhone 4.

Luckily Vodacom now has LTE enabled for contract iPhone 5 devices – MTN and Cell C has no such support right now, despite carrying the iPhone 5.

How to enable LTE on the iPhone 5:

  1. Download the latest software update – Settings -> General -> Software Update -> Download and Install
  2. Make sure LTE is switched on in Settings -> General -> Cellular -> Cellular Data Network.
  3. Call Vodacom at 155, and ask them to enable LTE on your line. You will get a SMS confirming this.

Make sure your APN has changed to LTE:

Once installed – make sure to change your APN: Settings -> General -> Cellular -> Cellular Data Network. Your APN should be changed to

We were lucky enough to try it out in Johannesburg, and the performance was brilliant. We managed to hit just under 20 Mbps consistently – only time will tell whether Vodacom can sustain these speeds as more LTE devices connect to its network. What is strange is that the iPad 4 and iPad Mini does not have LTE right now on Vodacom – despite having LTE support. The iPad Mini and iPad 4 does support the 1, 3 and 5 LTE bands that Vodacom uses (as stated by Apple’s support site).

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  • rob-b

    Just a quick addition. Remember to go to Settings, General, About to force the iPhone to update carrier settings. Until you go there it doesn’t ask if you want to receive the updated settings. You should move to Vodacom 14.1 carrier settings.

    • Minnaar Pieters

      Thanks Rob-B – mine asked immediately on updating if I want to update Carrier Settings. Will add to article. Appreciated.

  • Alan Alston

    I had to call Vodacom to activate LTE on my SIM as well, and they get all weird about it when calling from Cape TownL

    To activate the LTE service:
    Call Customer Care on 082 111, FREE from a Vodacom cellphone

    To show that you are in an LTE coverage area, your device will display either: 4G, L, 4 or LTE in your network coverage information.

    • LB

      HI Alan

      Did you manage to sort out your LTE in CT problem… I’m battling with it :-(

  • doug

    weird. i did the update and still no matter what i do my iphone5 does not show LTE as an option but instead only shows 3g. If I go to Settings, General, About it doesnt force anything. On VC with iOS6.1. :(

    • John Pienaar

      Hi Doug- see Rob’s comment below- I logged into the Vodacom website and sent the updated carrier settings via MMS. Once they are received on your phone you should have the LTE setting displayed.

      • Minnaar Pieters

        Thanks for the tip John.

  • darronz

    Got 6.1 installed and can see the LTE options. Unfortunately LTE service is erratic in my area and when the signal drops the phone goes to “No service” and won’t connect back to 3G. Temporarily solved the problem by disabling LTE in the settings

    • Dirk Taljaard

      I have the same problem, it drops the network continuously. I have to restart the phone to get connected again. It never shows LTE or any of those next to Vodacom, only 3G. Will try to disconnect LTE for now. Hope Vodacom will solve quick!!!

      • Chris

        I also had the sane problem, was forced to disable LTE just to get any sort of signal. There was also no remote sign of LTE /4G in any of the major metropolitan areas in Gauteng !

        • Minnaar Pieters

          @6666a6e677df76d8fbb56c196e7911b7:disqus @dirktaljaard:disqus @darronz:disqus Have to ask guys – are you guys perhaps on prepaid or TopUp contracts? Have heard there is some issues on those with LTE not switching back to 3G/EDGE.

  • Leon

    What about the iPad 4? Have updated to 6.1 and change APN, but no LTE setting / toggle? Must I Phone vodacom?

    • Minnaar Pieters

      As stated in the article, no support for iPad right now. Confused as well.

      • Leon

        thanks Minnaar, missed that – I see on their website they are also not offering LTE to prepaid customers

  • VaughanLund

    Have I suddenly been transported to the twilight zone, Vodacom and LTE in the same sentence. Best I’ve seen for the past 6 months is Edge…

  • Niel

    Wow, I’m in Sandton and the most i have gotten was 12 Mb/s (with the Speed Test app).

    • Minnaar Pieters

      Was yesterday morning in Sandton (convention center area), hit 19Mbps.

  • Mal

    I work at OR Tambo, got 22mb this morning, very cool

  • Riaan de Lange 

    The Pro’s and Con’s of LTE: 1. No Service in Left Top Corner, 2. 3G Speeds are quicker than LTE – are we being throttled? 3. Cellphone reception JUMPS A LOT, between No Service, Just Voice, Edge, 3G, and LTE. Pick a random one from list and multiple by 3600 iterations.

  • LB

    Im in cape Town cbd where LTS is supposedly available. I’ve done everything as suggested but still only get the 3G icon next to vodacom. I went into Vodacom at the waterfront and they couldn’t help either :-(

  • penny

    I meet a problem in the third steps: Call Vodacom at 155, and ask them to enable LTE on your line. You will get a SMS confirming this.

  • Lundi

    Anyone have any luck with LTE on ipad 4. Mine defaults to 3G despite the iPhone 5 sitting right next to it sitting happily on LTE. Very frustrating.

  • kibs

    Does this work for the LTE capable Android devices as well? GS4, DROID RAZR MAXX HD, etc.?

  • Thami

    I have called vodacom to activate LTE on my sim since it wasnt activated and went with them through the settings,but my IPhone5 still shows me NO SERVICE. So how long does it take for the service to be active because they said it wil take about 24 hours