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Cell C claims 16,4m users

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Cell C has announced that it has made a major leap in market share, with 13,6-million customers at the end of 2013 and more rapid growth this year.

Cell C has announced that its subscriber based increased by 35% in 2013, to reach 13,6-million users. This translated to a total revenue increase of 14% year-on-year.

We are exceptionally pleased with the business’s performance over the last 18 months and while we still have some way to go, our shareholders are pleased with the path we are following now,” says newly appointed Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos.

For the whole of 2013, Cell C boasted a net growth of 3,5-million customers for the year.

The growth was primarily driven by the prepaid market, which was up by 40%. Prepaid customer spend also increased by 31% year-on-year,” says Dos Santos.

Hybrid, postpaid and broadband subscribers grew by 14%, 9% and 55% respectively.

Broadband remains a large growth area for Cell C, as it does with our competitors,” says Dos Santos.

The company says that, in 2014, most months have seen Cell C add over 1-million gross connections. “March was an exceptional month for the company and we added 1,6-million gross connections, with 1-million of those being net connections. The total customer base of Cell C as at the end of April 2014 is 16.6 million,” says Dos Santos.

This takes Cell C’s potential market share in South Africa to more than 20%, depending on whether the other networks have grown in the past four months.

To support this continued growth, Cell C says, it has budgeted R2.3 billion for CAPEX spend in 2014.

Off the back of debt and shareholder investment, Cell C’s capitalised assets grew by R2.3 billion during the year, predominantly being invested in radio access and core network.

The company increased its sites by 439 sites, with the majority of sites completed in the latter part of 2013, taking the total to 4176 by the end of the year. An additional 318 sites are planned for 2014. Additionally, Cell C is in the process of swapping the RAN equipment of more than 1000 sites from NSN to Huawei in a three-phase process, which should see the first two phases conclude by November this year.

The idea behind the work we are doing with the equipment transfer is to bring more stability into the network, increase the coverage and provide the best quality we can to our customers,” says Dos Santos.

Phase one was completed by the end of April, with the first 392 sites now on Huawei technology. Phase two will be an additional 456 site swaps by the end of September and the final 382 sites will be completed by the end of November.

Cell C has also been busy over the last 8 months with upgrades and renewal of its transmission network at various levels of the transmission and transport layers.

We have deployed additional fibre routes in conjunction with Dark Fibre Africa and have made strides to complete the fibre rings in metro areas. This was done with the aim of improving quality and introduce a higher level of redundancy in the network,” says Dos Santos.

This forms part of Cell C’s Mobile Backhaul Transport Upgrade Project, in partnership with Huawei, which will run over the next 4 years.

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