Cell C’s Middle Eastern shareholders have clearly not tired of investing in the business. The operator has announced it plans to spend R8bn over the next three years building a 4G/LTE mobile broadband network in “targeted areas” across South Africa.
The company, which is controlled by Oger Telecom, will target metropolitan areas, said CEO Jose Dos Santos. “The primary commuting areas that fall outside the major metros will remain covered by [3G] HSPA+.”
Cell C is the only mobile operator in South Africa that has to date not built a 4G network. It said it will switch on its LTE network in the “latter part” of the year.
It revealed in a statement on Thursday that it has signed supply agreements with both Huawei and ZTE, which will be its primary partners in the roll-out of 4 000 LTE sites across the country.
The first targeted areas for LTE rollout will be in 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,” Dos Santos said.
In a phased approach, Cell C will upgrade sites starting in the central Gauteng areas from Rosebank and Sandton across the northern Johannesburg areas. This will be followed by the northern Gauteng areas, including Pretoria and Centurion, and finally the eastern and western parts of Gauteng to include Benoni, Boksburg, Johannesburg proper, Soweto, Lenasia and Roodepoort.
In KwaZulu-Natal, Cell C will start the rollout in areas from Hillcrest through to the Dolphin Coast, as well as the Umhlanga area. Areas surrounding Durban, including Chatsworth and Durban South, will follow. Pietermaritzburg, Umlazi and surrounding areas will come next.
Roll-out in the Western Cape will begin from SeaPoint to Durbanville, the airport and Stellenbosch. Simon’s Town through Constantia to Brackenfell and Somerset West will be included in the second wave. Mitchells Plain and Paarl will follow.
Limpopo, Mpumalanga and other provinces are planned, and details of these roll-outs will be unveiled at a later stage,” said Dos Santos.
Full coverage maps will be available in due course and will be updated closer to commercial launch, the company said.
“The LTE rollout will complement Cell C’s continued investment into its existing network and the roll-out of additional towers to improve HSPA+ performance and increase coverage and capacity across the country,” it added.
“An additional 1 353 3G sites are planned across the country over the next few years to ensure that Cell C stays above the curve.
Additional projects are also underway in various provinces to enhance network quality and stability following the successes the company experienced in the Gauteng improvement projects.” — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media