South African wireless operator Cell C has announced that it will invest ZAR8 billion (USD667.2 million) over the next three years in order to build a 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in ‘targeted areas’ across South Africa. CEO Jose Dos Santos said: ‘Our LTE strategy will be focused and strategic, targeting metropolitan areas where people work and live. The primary commuting areas that fall outside the major metros will remain covered by [3G] HSPA+.’ The company, which plans to launch a commercial 4G offering in ‘the latter part of 2015’, has signed supply agreements with Chinese equipment providers Huawei Technologies and ZTE, with the two vendors set to be Cell C’s primary partners in the rollout of the LTE network comprising 4,000 base transceiver stations (BTS).
The company is planning to initially target selected areas in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Western Cape. In a phased approach, Cell C will upgrade sites in the following locations: Rosebank, Sandton, northern Johannesburg areas, northern Gauteng areas (Pretoria and Centurion), eastern and western parts of Gauteng, including Benoni, Boksburg, Johannesburg proper, Soweto, Lenasia and Roodepoort (all Gauteng); Hillcrest, Dolphin Coast, Umhlanga area, Durban (Chatsworth and Durban South), Pietermaritzburg, Umlazi and surrounding areas (all KZN); and SeaPoint, Durbanville, the Airport, Stellenbosch, Simon’s Town, Constantia, Brakenfell, While Mitchells Plain and Paarl (all Western Cape).
The company added: ‘The LTE rollout will complement Cell C’s continued investment into its existing network and the rollout of additional towers to improve HSPA+ performance and increase coverage and capacity across the country. 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.’