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Port Elizabeth starts flying

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Cell C has upped the ante in the mobile broadband arena with its announcement of a 42Mbps HSPA+ network in Port Elizabeth. According to the company, it is on track to meet its 67% population coverage target by the middle of this year with its existing network being bumped up to 42Mbps where needed and the continued phased rollout of its 21.6Mbps to the rest of the country.

Cell C yesterday launched its upgraded 42Mbps network in Port Elizabeth, eight months after it officially switched on Africa’s first HSPA+900 network in the city.

‚We are keeping our promise. When we launched our HSPA+900 network, we made a commitment to upgrade the network to 42Mbps within a few months to allow for a better customer experience. We have done just that,‚ said Lars P. Reichelt, Chief Executive Officer of Cell C.

He said the network upgrade to 42 Mbps is the latest in the technology evolution of the network and allows for faster upload and download speeds but more importantly allows for greater capacity at the upgraded sites.

Reichelt explained that Cell C’s network, which is based on Software Defined Technology (SDR), enables the company to do a simple hardware expansion for additional radio capacity and a remote software installation and configuration of the site to enable the Dual Carrier capability. ‚By the use of SDR technology this did not require any hardware swaps to a new system, just capacity upgrades.

New modems that can support download speeds of up to 42Mbps would be available in stores in the coming weeks. Cell C customers with existing 7.2 Mbps and 21.6Mbps modems will also benefit due to the increased capacity on the network as a result of the upgrade.

In one of the fastest deployments of an HSPA+ network anywhere in the world, Cell C is offering its 21 Mbps HSPA+ network in 13 cities and currently provides fast and affordable internet access to more than 40% of the country’s population.

Reichelt said that company was on track to meet its 67% population coverage target by mid 2011 and will not rest until the job is done. ‚The existing network will be bumped up to 42Mbps, where needed, in a phased approach while the company continues to expand its 21.6 Mbps HSPA+ rollout in the rest of the country.

Cell C’s HSPA+ Release 7 network is IP across all network elements and is deployed in the 900 MHz frequency band to provide for wider coverage, higher speeds at the cell edge and better in-door penetration. HSPA+ 2100 delivers capacity where needed.

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