Cell C has started to migrate its contract and broadband customers off its network in a process which is expected to be completed in the next two months.
The mobile operator says this move forms part of its network strategy where it will switch off its own radio network and partner with the “best-of-breed on both infrastructure and services”.
What surprised many people is that Cell C’s contract and broadband customers are being migrated to Vodacom, and not MTN.
In November 2018, Cell C and MTN signed a national roaming agreement which gives Cell C access to MTN’s 3G and 4G networks.
This agreement was expanded in August 2019, which enabled Cell C to shut down its radio network and move all its traffic onto MTN’s network.
“Over a period of 36 months, which started on 1 January 2020, Cell C will transition from a physical radio access network to a virtual one provisioned by MTN,” Cell C said.
Since Cell C was building a new “virtual network” in partnership with MTN using its own spectrum, it was fair to assume it was migrating its contract and broadband customers to MTN.
This was not the case. It has now emerged that Cell C is, in fact, migrating its contract and broadband customers to Vodacom.
This was made possible through a new roaming agreement with Vodacom which gives Cell C access to Vodacom’s 4G network.
Cell C roaming on Vodacom’s 2G network since its launch in 2001 and expanded this roaming agreement to include Vodacom’s 3G network in 2012.
Cell C extended its roaming agreement with Vodacom in 2015 but started to move its traffic to MTN in 2018 after reaching a 3G and 4G roaming agreement with them.
The move back to Vodacom came as a surprise because of its extensive partnership with MTN in recent years.
It is interesting to note that Cell C did not mention it was migrating its contract subscribers to Vodacom in its press statement or information shared with customers.
It is currently not clear whether Cell C’s prepaid subscriber base will be migrated to Vodacom or MTN.
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