According to MyBroadband.co.za, South African mobile operator Cell C intends to upgrade its HSPA+ network to offer download speeds of 42Mbps from April 2011. The increased transmission speeds will initially be available in Port Elizabeth in ‘early April’, before being extended to the remainder of Cell C’s network footprint. Described as a ‘phased network upgrade’ the speeds will be rolled out in tandem with Cell C’s HSPA+ network rollout, which commenced in September 2010, also in Port Elizabeth. Cell C CEO Lars Reichelt has previously admitted that the main aim of the 42Mbps network upgrade is to create more capacity and boost the overall performance of Cell C’s network, rather than merely create higher download speeds. Existing 21Mbps modems will be compatible with the network, and benefit from the higher capacity on offer, but customers will have to purchase a new modem in order to access the higher transmission speeds.
Although chief technical officer Ron Reddick admitted that the cellco would consider implementing speeds of 84Mbps in the future, he said that the company’s main developmental focus will be on the rollout of Long Term Evolution (LTE). To that end, Reddick admitted that Cell C is currently in the process of testing LTE in the 900MHz and 850MHz spectrum bands; transmission speeds in excess of 100Mbps have been achieved using dongles provided by Samsung. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Cell C expects to cover 67% of the South African population with its HSPA+ network by mid-2011.