Cell C does superfast mobile network test

Fast internet is becoming a reality in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Fast internet is becoming a reality in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – Mobile operator Cell C announced a high speed broadband test in excess of 600Mbps (megabits per second) on Wednesday.

The junior mobile operator is in a subscriber race with major operators Vodacom and MTN which have reported strong growth in data users.

Cell C conducted the test on its LTE-U test site.

“Using a pre-commercial device, Cell C used 15MHz of its licensed spectrum in 2 100MHz and 2 x 20MHz of spectrum in the 5GHz Wi-Fi band to conduct the test,” the company said in a statement.

“Using this configuration with high modulation scheme technologies (256QAM) and carrier aggregation of the three frequency bands, Cell C achieved a top download speed of 630.13Mbps download and 46.27Mbps upload.”

Spectrum crunch

READ: Cell C switches on LTE-Advanced in SA

Currently, Cell C’s LTE-A networks in major centres are capable of 100Mbps.

High speed mobile networks are a critical component of the government’s SA Connect policy which aims to provide universal access to broadband in SA by 2020.

However, the availability of spectrum is a key obstacle to the rollout of high speed networks.

Vodacom Group chief executive Shameel Joosub told Fin24 that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (Icasa) policy on spectrum was “cleverly written” in its application of both access and wholesale networks.

However, Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele has expressed his department’s view of sharing of next generation networks in SA.

“As we move to broadband, unlike the current 3G and so on - the real broadband speeds - what we need is not small bits of spectrum allocated to this one and that one because that won’t assist you,” he recently said, describing spectrum as a “natural resource”.

Cell C, which is under pressure to boost its 22 million subscriber numbers, said that the technology was an indicator of the company’s future direction, without specifying expected implementation dates.


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