South Africa’s Cell C has vowed to become the country’s first mobile operator to rollout HSPA+ across its entire network footprint. At a press event last week to unveil the operator’s new brand identity and logo (pictured), CEO Lars P Reichelt said Cell C was making good progress on its network rollout with more than 1300 basestations already converted to HSPA+ in the 900MHz band. “We are currently running large scale user tests in six cities and the results are very promising,” Reichelt told reporters. He said Cell C will launch HSPA+ on a city-by-city basis until nationwide coverage was achieved; the identity of the first city is to be announced in a few weeks. The operator expects to cover 34 percent of the South African population with HSPA+ by the end of 2010 and aims for 67 percent population coverage by mid 2011.

According to Wireless Intelligence, Cell C had a 15 percent share of the South African mobile market in the second-quarter, behind market-leader Vodacom (49 percent) and second-placed MTN (35 percent). Reichelt said the decision to change the company’s well-known brand was a “call-to-action,” in line with the current changes within the company. “A brand must be relevant, appealing and inspiring to those inside as well as outside and I believe our new brand speaks to the changes we are making to improve the experience of our customers at every touch-point,” Reichelt said. As part of a new marketing push, Cell C has also appointed comedian Trevor Noah to the new role of Customer Experience Officer (CEO). Reichelt said Noah would become “the company’s eyes and ears.”