Strong data growth for Cell C

Johannesburg - Data revenue on Cell C’s network has grown from R417m in the period January to March 2014 to R661m for the same period in 2015.

This is according to Cell C’s year-end financial results briefing at the company's headquarters in Johannesburg.

The company said its overall revenues are up 3% year on year, while its prepaid makes up 60% of its overall service revenues.

The operator also said that its subscriber base now tops 20.4 million in South Africa, solidifying its position as the country’s third biggest mobile network.

Cell C CEO José Dos Santos said the operator is aiming to build one of the country’s best data networks, after it announced a multi-billion rand deal to build a new LTE network in the country earlier this year.

"We're striving to build this world class data network,” said Dos Santos.

"Every single site we build will be built with fibre," he said.

Cell C plans to build its R8bn LTE network in major urban areas in South Africa such as Gauteng, Durban and Cape Town.

Up to 1 000 LTE sites are expected to be built by Cell C by the end of this year, while 4 000 will be built in total.

Open up more spectrum

However, Dos Santos warned that government needs to move on opening up more spectrum for faster mobile broadband services.

South Africa’s digital migration process has been delayed for years. The process is intended to switch broadcasters to digital signals so that frequencies can be opened up for the likes of mobile networks.

"We've been having this debate with the regulator for years and years," said Dos Santos.

"The world is not going to talk about voice or data in the future; it's going to be about virtual reality.

"If that (spectrum allocation) doesn't happen, we're not going to be able to bring this technology into the country."

Other challenges such as load shedding are costing Cell C as Dos Santos said his mobile network plans to spend R100m on diesel this year.

Meanwhile, Cell C is also looking to shake its reputation as a mainly prepaid network.

At the briefing, Dos Santos introduced a promotion whereby Cell C pays R10 000 to customers of other networks who want to get out of their contracts and join Cell C.

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