Cell C is latest mobile operator to confirm LTE commitment

Following similar announcements from its domestic rivals MTN and Vodacom, South African mobile operator Cell C has confirmed that will also switch on a 4G network based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology before the end of 2012, but stopped short of indicating where the network will be rolled out, or how many towers will be supported.

CEO Alan Knott-Craig said that instead of each of the operators building out independent LTE networks, it would make much more sense for them to work together to build one wholesale network whose prices are regulated. He said “Everyone will have little skirmishes in building a little LTE [network] here and there, and so will we. All of us will do it this year. But by far the best option is to stop [the process of] auctioning spectrum and allocate it instead to one entity comprising the operators and other companies, if they want to be part of it, and build a wholesale LTE network for the country. Anyone can then take the wholesale price and compete. Everyone can add their personal touch. Some will be national, some will niche, but they will be working off the same wholesale price”. This consortium, he stressed, must not be owned or controlled by the government.

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