Cell C will take action over '4G'

2012-11-19 08:30
Alan Knott-Craig poses with his book 'Second is Nothing' on driving network coverage while at Vodacom. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Alan Knott-Craig poses with his book 'Second is Nothing' on driving network coverage while at Vodacom. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Alan Knott-Craig has threatened action over higher speed networks advertised as 4G, and argued that all broadband spectrum in SA should be managed by a single entity, and operators should compete at the retail level.

He took the reins of Cell C earlier this year and says that the government should regulate flat rate calls so build competition among operators. Knott-Craig also made no bones about Cell C's intention to take action against his former company Vodacom and MTN's rollout of a faster network if they advertised it as 4G.

Knott-Craig, author of Second is Nothing, spoke to News24 about his ideas, and also about a book on his passion of wildlife photography.

News24: Do you feel you're 'back in the saddle'?

Alan Knott-Craig: Yes, with saddle-sores!!

News24: How long did it take you to settle in at Cell C?

Knott-Craig: About a day

News24: Vodacom and MTN took action against Cell C over the 4G campaign. Will Cell C take action on the 4G offered by Vodacom and MTN?

Knott-Craig: 4G as defined by the ITU is LTE-advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced and no operator in South Africa is currently offering these services. 

Both Vodacom and MTN used the ITU definition of 4G against Cell C when they lodged complaints at the ASA over its use of 4G or 4Gs in 2010 to advertise its HSPA+ network. 

They argued that according to the ITU, HSPA+, LTE and WiMax are not defined as 4G and only LTE-advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced can be classified as 4G.  Should Vodacom or MTN use 4G to refer to LTE (which in 2010 they argued is not 4G), Cell C will take action.

News24: Explain how your wholesale LTE 'store' would work in practice.

Knott-Craig: Affordable broadband for all has become a national imperative.  To achieve this goal, we need an extensive coverage footprint that can deliver broadband services to all South Africans at high speeds and affordable prices.  The key challenges faced by operators in achieving these goals are capital expenditure and spectrum.

Capital expenditure determines network rollout (coverage footprint) and price, whilst Spectrum determines speed and price.  The more spectrum an operator has, the lower the price and higher the speed.  Less capital expenditure ensures an operator is able to offer services at lower prices.

A national wholesale broadband network would address these challenges, as spectrum would be allocated to a single entity made up of operators and entities (including state-owned companies) that have the means and willingness to participate in this initiative.  Capital expenditure per company would also be significantly less.

Government, through the regulator, would stipulate the footprint and determine the wholesale price. Industry players would then compete at a retail level on price (retail) and service to the benefit of consumers.

This has been done in other countries around the world with great success.

News24: Should government enforce the flat rate call rates you proposed?

Knott-Craig: Yes.  The incumbents insulate themselves from competing on price by having high off-net prices and relatively low on-net prices for their own customers. 

This provides a barrier for competition and maintains a high price environment.  Also, with the introduction of Mobile Number Portability (MNP), customers do not always know whether the call they are making is on their own network or on a competing network - and what the price of the call will be.


News24: What additional support should government offer smaller operators in order to facilitate better competition in SA?

Knott-Craig: Government, though Icasa, has three fundamental levers to ensure effective competition.  They are: Mobile terminating rates, asymmetry, and flat rates (as explained above).

Mobile termination and roaming rates remain the highest input cost when determining the retail rate of mobile services.  When Vodacom and MTN entered the market, they were afforded asymmetry at a ratio of 4:1 (400%) against the incumbent at the time, Telkom. 

The asymmetry enabled them to build very successful businesses.  The same level of asymmetry was never afforded to the new players (Cell C and 8.ta) when they entered the market. 

The regulator only introduced asymmetry in 2010 but only at a level of 20% in the first year, then dropping it to 15% in the second year (current year) and 10% in year three.  The level of asymmetry has not protected the smaller players or enabled them to bring prices down and remain sustainable.

News24: Would Cell C introduce an unlimited data plan for any device as a market disruptor?

Knott-Craig: No.  We already offer the most competitive and compelling data products in the market.  Data will always come at a cost, but the cost of data will drop significantly as speed and consumption increase.

News24: If you argue that there should be an effective single network, how does the operator differentiate itself?


Knott-Craig: Through price (retail) and service.

News24: You spoke about building a quality network. How's it been progressing, compared to the early days at Vodacom?


Knott-Craig: We are progressing very well.  We have rolled out more base stations per month over the last few months, than we’ve rolled out in an entire year previously.  We have built more than 1 000 3G base stations in the last seven months.

News24: Have you taken many wildlife pictures lately?

Knott-Craig: A couple.

News24: Are you planning another book?

Knott-Craig: Doing a book on my favourite photos. About 200 pages. Looking beautiful.


- Follow Duncan on Twitter
 

Read more on:    cell c  |  mobile
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANC set for two-thirds majority - poll

The ANC is on course to win nearly a two-thirds majority in 7 May elections, a poll has showed, confounding analysts who had predicted a fall in support for the ruling party.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 gives you the powerful combination of...

From R2820.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.