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By 19 December 2012 | Categories: news

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Local mobile operator Cell C have followed in the next generation network footsteps of Vodacom, MTN and 8ta, announcing the launch of a long term evolution (LTE) data trial. LTE (commonly known as 4G) is a high speed data network that boasts the ability to operate at speeds of up to three times faster than 3G technology.

The operator has identified a select group of heavy data customers that fall within the company’s coverage areas, and this group will now form part of Cell C’s free trial LTE service. They will receive a Huawei LTE dongle and 100 GB of data to test the company’s service for a limited time.

In addition to the free trial, Cell C will be offering up to 800 customers the opportunity to purchase an LTE dongle for a once-off fee of R3 000, which includes an LTE-enabled SIM loaded with 100 GB of data that will be valid for 365 days. Customers hoping to participate in the commercial trial will be able to purchase their device and data from participating stores in the trial cities of Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Cell C currently has sites live on LTE in each of the trial cities and the firm added that it will have more than 60 sites live before the end of this year, with more following in the New Year.

The list of the participating stores are:
Cell C stated that it does not intend to roll out LTE on a national scale until there is more clarity regarding government’s broadband plans. The operator would like to see the formation of a consortium consisting of both private and government entities. According to the company, this consortium will be enabled to roll-out a national LTE network, using the spectrum that becomes available when broadcasters switch from an analogue signal to a new digital one.

“While coverage is limited for the time being, we are excited to bring high-speeds to our selected trial customers. Once we have feedback on the service from these customers, we will expand the service to other customers,” said Cell C CEO, Alan Knott-Craig. “The demand for faster, quality and efficient mobile data services is growing daily and Cell C will be a part of that,” Knott-Craig concluded .

In related news, Vodacom recently revealed that its LTE rollout has finally reached Cape Town. In addition, the company managed to boost the number of LTE-enabled base stations from 70 during launch to more than 500 currently. 

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