Cell C’s big fibre-to-the-home plans

Cell C has plans to launch fibre-to-the-home services in South Africa, and will reveal its strategy during January 2016, said CEO Jose Dos Santos.

Dos Santos said he could not disclose specifics, but their three focus areas will be affordability, great service, and access to content at the best price.

FTTH, particularly on lower-end packages, remain ridiculously expensive, “an absolute rip-off”, said Dos Santos.

“We will come into the market with very competitive prices. To do that you have to change the business model,” he said, adding that they are looking at buying companies who already operate FTTH infrastructure.

Getting fibre in the ground

Dos Santos said Cell C has had serious talks with a few FTTH companies, and that in addition to acquiring infrastructure, they will look at “smartly” rolling out their own fibre.

He said, for the most part, their FTTH services would run on other people’s infrastructure, though.

“There are plenty of FTTH service providers who operate their networks on an open-access basis, and there is no need to duplicate infrastructure,” he said.

Where it makes financial sense to roll out its own fibre, Cell C will do so.

Service and content

Dos Santos said they plan to take their expertise in interacting with consumers to their fibre business – for instance, there is no point in only offering support during office hours.

“You’re not at home during the day. When there are problems with your connection when you get home and want to use the Internet at 7 or 8 at night, someone must be able to help you.”

Offering an FTTH service is also about the access to content you provide, said Dos Santos.

“There is lots of content shown in Europe that is still not available in South Africa.” For a home fibre offering to be compelling, you have to give access to great content at the best price, he said.

Over and above affordability, service, and content, there is a fourth pillar that is also important.

“The true sense of convergence is about to come into play. Ask me about that again in a few months.”

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Cell C’s big fibre-to-the-home plans