FNB Connect and Virgin Mobile users will be moved to MTN’s network

All the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that run on Cell C’s network will be migrated to MTN’s physical network infrastructure.

Cell C told MyBroadband that as part of its migration of postpaid and prepaid customers to Vodacom and MTN’s networks, respectively, MVNO customers will be moved onto MTN’s network.

This will happen over the course of three years, Cell C said, and will result in these users benefitting from MTN’s superior coverage and network speeds while remaining Cell C clients.

“All of Cell C’s MVNO customers will be transitioned to the MTN network, over a three-year period,” the operator said.

“Cell C continues to enable all its MVNO partners based on market-leading platform enablement models. Customers of MVNO partners will experience extensive LTE coverage on the MTN network.”

MVNOs which run on Cell C’s network include FNB Connect, Standard Bank Mobile, and Virgin Mobile.

The company said it will continue to provide wholesale services to its MVNO partners and its customers that is consistent with its past service offerings, with a key differentiator being better coverage and quality thanks to the migration to MTN’s radio access infrastructure.

MVNO partnerships

“Our wholesale business is not about selling minutes, megs and data in bulk,” said Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson. “A key aspect of our success is the partnership mindset.”

“Cell C is focussed on creating win-win opportunities instead of dominating a sales channel. MVNOs are our partners and not just another distribution channel.”

Cell C said it has dedicated commercial and technical teams to support MVNO partners during onboarding, launch, and operations based on the business case, architecture, product development, customer services, billing, revenue assurance, and regulatory matters.

The mobile operator once again stressed against the categorisation of its new model as a “super-MVNO” due to the planned disposal of its radio access network.

Cell C is migrating all customers to Vodacom and MTN’s networks and shutting down its own radio infrastructure, but it maintains that it possesses all the relevant infrastructure to continue functioning as a mobile operator.

It said that as a licensed mobile operator, it owns or controls all the elements necessary to sell and deliver services to MVNOs, including radio spectrum allocation, wireless network infrastructure, backhaul infrastructure, and its IMSI number range.

This means that South Africans with SIMs from FNB Connect, Virgin Mobile, Standard Bank Mobile, and other Cell C-hosted MVNOs will be able to take advantage of MTN’s high-quality infrastructure.

They should therefore see a significant improvement in network performance as they are migrated to MTN’s network over the next three years.

MTN has also launched its own MVNO service, however, which means that while functioning as a roaming partner for Cell C and the MVNOs that are hosted by it, it plans to host its own MVNOs with access to the same radio infrastructure.

Now read: MTN launches legal action to fight spectrum auction issues

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FNB Connect and Virgin Mobile users will be moved to MTN’s network