Cell C to spend R8 billion on LTE network

Cell C says it will invest R8 billion in its LTE network over the next three years, aiming to deliver high-speed broadband to its customers across South Africa.

The operator made the announcement on 9 April 2015, stating its “LTE strategy” will focus on metropolitan areas where people work and live.

“The primary commuting areas that fall outside the major metros will remain covered by HSPA+,” said Cell C CEO, Jose Dos Santos.

In February, Cell C said that R2.2 billion has been budgeted for continued investment into the operator in the 2015 financial year, of which LTE forms a key focus.

Cell C has signed supply agreements with both Huawei and ZTE, which will drive the rollout of the planned 4,000 LTE sites.

The first areas to receive the expanded LTE network will be Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape.

“Gated communities and high-density residential areas where there is a great demand for high speed data will be one of our priorities.”

The operator plans to start upgrading areas in Rosebank and Sandton, and then move onto the northern Johannesburg areas.

This will be followed by the northern Gauteng areas, including Pretoria and Centurion, and then Benoni, Boksburg, Johannesburg proper, Soweto, Lenasia, and Roodepoort.

In KZN, Hillcrest through to the Dolphin Coast, Umhlanga, Chatsworth, Durban South, Pietermaritzburg, and Umlazi will benefit from the LTE rollout.

Areas in the Western Cape which will be targeted include SeaPoint to Durbanville, the airport, Stellenbosch, Simon’s Town through Constantia, Brakenfell, Somerset West, Mitchells Plain, and Paarl.

LTE for Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and other provinces is also planned, said Dos Santos.

In addition to this, 1,353 3G sites will be built across the country over the next few years to ensure “Cell C stays above the curve”, the company said.

“Cell C plans to launch a commercial offering in the latter part of 2015 and will reveal its LTE suite of products and services in due course,” the company concluded.

In March, Cell C’s largest shareholder Oger Telecom said it is looking at selling its stake in the operator.

Oger Telecom chairman Mohammed Hariri told Reuters they appointed Goldman Sachs to help with the process of selling its Cell C shareholding.

Reuters quoted Hariri as saying that “if we get a good price, we will sell”. He added they have been approached by several interested parties, but a decision is yet to be made.

Hariri said the decision to sell the stake in Cell C was triggered by the Independent Communications Authority of SA’s (Icasa’s) revised termination rates.

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Cell C to spend R8 billion on LTE network