Cell C has started to move its contract and broadband subscribers to Vodacom’s network which is part of a “transition phase” after which its customers will have access to the best networks.
The migration process started in mid-December 2020 and will be completed by early February 2021.
The decision to move its contract subscribers to Vodacom took many people by surprise as Cell C already has a national roaming agreement with MTN.
Cell C is also building a “virtual network” in partnership with MTN using its own spectrum, which means Cell C is basically moving customers from its own network to a competitor.
This sparked industry speculation that Cell C has sold its post-paid subscriber base to Vodacom.
In January 2020, Bloomberg reported that Vodacom was in talks with Cell C about buying its contract customers.
Through this deal, Vodacom would gain just over a million high-paying subscribers and strengthen its position as South Africa’s market leader.
Cell C and its main shareholder, Blue Label Telecoms, have dismissed this speculation, saying there was no sale of subscribers.
Vodacom also said there is no truth in the rumour that it has acquired or bought Cell C’s contract and broadband user base.
Instead, Cell C told MyBroadband, it is implementing a more efficient business model and this network transition is one of the pillars of its new strategy.
“It is important to note that our recap is in process and we will continue to build on the improved business results we have started to deliver,” Cell C said.
“We are migrating our network over the next three years. This has nothing to do with our financial position but it’s about executing our new business model which is on track.”
It said the migration phase is part of their transition phase and there could be some custumer inconvenience.
“On completion, however, our customers will have access to the best networks,” Cell C said.
Commenting on the migration to Vodacom, Cell C said it has had roaming agreements in place with both MTN and Vodacom “for a while”.
“This initiative to buy more capacity from both Vodacom and MTN is in line with our strategy of becoming a significant wholesale buyer of network capacity and infrastructure services as we execute our plan of not investing in multi bearer expensive capex,” Cell C said.
“The migration of the contract and broadband customers arises from Cell C’s network roaming agreement with Vodacom.”
Cell C added that their customers will still remain Cell C customers after the migration to Vodacom.