Cell C and MTN have signed an expanded roaming agreement which would see Cell C reduce its expenditure on building out its national infrastructure.
This new deal builds on the existing roaming agreement that the two mobile networks entered into in 2018, which provided 3G and 4G services to Cell C customers outside of main metros.
The new roaming agreement expands on this and extends Cell C’s 4G network coverage to 95% of the population.
Cell C customers will have access to over 12,500 sites, of which 90% are LTE-enabled.
“This is a pivotal step in Cell C’s turnaround strategy,” said Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson.
“One of the key pillars of this turnaround is to implement a revised network strategy that enables Cell C to manage its network capacity requirements in a more cost-efficient and scalable manner.”
Cell C said that this agreement is in line with shifts in the global telecoms industry towards more cost-effective network strategies, adding that there are already local examples of this type of roaming agreement in South Africa.
“This roaming agreement is transformative for Cell C,” Craigie Stevenson said. “The company is no longer encumbered by the high costs of building a network footprint and we can focus our energy and efforts into developing innovative and disruptive service offerings that will be welcomed by data-hungry consumers.”
“This is a win-win all round as it has long-term benefits for the economy, the industry and ultimately consumers.”
The company said the new roaming agreement adheres to all applicable legal and regulatory requirements, adding that Cell C and MTN will maintain their spectrum and each party will use its own frequencies.
Cell C will retain its licences and control of its core network, transmission, billing system, and subscriber management.
The implementation of the expanded roaming agreement will commence in early 2020 and the transition is expected to take up to 36 months to complete.
Cell C turnaround strategy
Cell C CFO Zaf Mahomed said the company’s turnaround plan had been effective, with the business seeing incremental improvements to its bottom line since improving operational efficiencies.
“The management focus on retaining profitable customers and expenditure savings has generated meaningful positive cash flow improvement on a month on month basis,” Mahomed said.
“It is a good sign that we are doing the right things and are on the road to recovery.”