Cell C announces 42Mbps HSPA+ with LTE to come

South Africa’s third mobile carrier, Cell C, has announced that it will begin rolling out its 42Mbps HSPA+ service in early April. Following through on plans that were announced in October 2010, the operator is adopting a phased rollout strategy, beginning with Port Elizabeth, where the high speed service will use ZTE modems. Existing subscribers’ modems will work on the new networks but will be limited to their maximum modem speed. Cell C has, however, said that users of the older technology will nonetheless be able to benefit from the higher network capacity.

Cell C has said that while it is exploring the possibilities of 84Mbps HSPA+, future network upgrades will focus on LTE. The company is currently testing LTE on its existing 900MHz spectrum and 850MHz test spectrum; Samsung LTE dongles have been used as part of the testing process, with reported speeds of 100Mbps.

Cell C had its application for additional spectrum in the 2100MHz band approved earlier this year. According to the telco, the additional bandwidth will be used to boost HSPA+ services as part of its R5bn expansion plans. Cell C launched its HSPA+ network in September last year and recently upgraded five of its high traffic radio network controllers in order to address problems with its 21Mbps Huawei modems. A software bug meant that the carrier’s new range of high-speed devices were interacting incorrectly with its base stations, causing low throughput and connection problems.

The seventh annual LTE World Summit takes place in Amsterdam on 17th – 18th May

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