Cell C: R2.3bn budgeted to upgrade network

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Cell C planned capital expenditure of R2.3 billion this year to support an expanding subscriber base, the country’s third-biggest cellular operator said yesterday. Users increased to 16.6 million at the end of last month, a 22 percent rise from the end of last year, it said. Cell C also said it was close to agreeing to a $125 million financing deal with investors. “We’re on the verge of finalising another $125m of financing, potentially going to $200m based on some of the capital investment projects we want to make this year,” chief executive José Dos Santos, who took over last week from Alan Knott-Craig said yesterday. “The majority of it is to expand the network.” The company has been chipping away at the market share of bigger players MTN and Vodacom. MTN, which plays second fiddle to Vodacom in South Africa but is bigger on the continent, saw its South African subscriber base shrink 3.2 percent during the first quarter to 24.875 million. Cell C said it would add more than 300 new sites, upgrade its network and deploy more fibre-optic cable in cities. – Reuters and Bloomberg

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