If you’re a Cell C customer, you may want to sit down for this. Or not. It’s your life, do what you want. But hold on to your hats, because the network operator is looking to bring 5G connectivity to its network. The telecommunications company said that it was in talks with its infrastructure partners to roll out the service.
Cell C was talking to MyBroadband, which asked the network operator about the implementation of its 5G network. Cell C’s chief technology officer, Schalk Visser, confirmed that plans were indeed underway for a 5G rollout.
Back in March, all the big-name network operators competed in a spectrum auction – which gives each company a slice of the available network radio spectrum. Eventually, Vodacom and MTN were the highest bidders, leaving Cell C with 10MHz in the 3,500MHz band. This feels like quite a small slice of the pie – and it is – but for a price of R288 million it’s easy to imagine Cell C is happy with its portion.
The company believes that even with this small band of 10MHz, it will be able to innovate in newer ways going forward.
Cell C making big moves to get ahead
In October last year, Cell C mentioned that it had moved almost 40% of its network over to vRAN (virtual Radio Access Network). Using vRAN is essential for the network operator. It allows the company to run its baseband functions as software on other network operators’ hardware.
Cell C has been continuing to upgrade, with almost 50% of the transition to vRAN being complete. These upgrades will allow 5G to be spread out further across the country, bringing in more customers looking for a 5G connection.
With Cell C finally going the 5G route, it leaves Telkom as the only other big-name network operator without 5G support. This won’t be the case for long however. Telkom has stated that 5G sites have been deployed, with the implementation still being trialled.
Neither Cell C nor Telkom has announced when customers can expect 5G to become commercially available. We can only assume both companies are working hard to not be the last company to market. The race is on.