Cell C, South Africa’s third mobile operator, has reported a 54% rise in EBITDA for the third quarter of 2005, to ZAR134.5 million (USD20.8 million), on the back of a rise in revenues driven by a larger subscriber base, increased airtime use and growth in interconnection income. The operator posted a 35% rise in revenues to ZAR1.422 billion, as its customer base reached 2.71 million, up from around two million a year ago; 2.1 million of the total were pre-paid users, whilst 610,000 were on contracts. Cell C is obliged under the terms of its licence to provide 52,000 community service telephones (CST) to rural regions by 2008; 28,000 CSTs were in service by the end of September 2005. Cell C said ARPU in the quarter reached ZAR153, from ZAR142 a year ago. Cell C is currently in talks with the UK’s Virgin Group and says it expects to announce the formation of a joint venture under the Virgin Mobile brand before the end of the year.