Numerous Cell C users have in recent weeks complained of network connectivity issues amid the operator’s migration of its contract and broadband customer base to Vodacom’s network.
The Cell C Downdetector page has reflected “Possible problems at Cell C” intermittently over the last few days, with a myriad of reports claiming bad or no connectivity for data, calls, and SMS services.
“Cell C has been down in my area for the last month and a half, where previously I had amazing coverage. I’m constantly on roaming data and people can’t get hold of me at all. This is unacceptable,” one user said.
“I’m constantly on Edge roaming (for the last week), being unable to make or receive calls, as well as messages. I have both my private and work cell phones on Cell C, both having the same issues,” another stated.
“Service is absolutely pathetic! Why must we use roaming? Are they going to compensate us for what we lose?” a third user said.
A fourth user added that they had no service since January 2021, and when switching on roaming their connection was limited and slow.
Another subscriber, who claimed he had been a Cell C subscriber since the operator’s launch, has said the issues have been so severe that he will be moving to another service provider when his contract expires in March.
“Ever since Cell C migrated me to the Vodacom network I have had serious problems with making and receiving phone calls and Internet connectivity,” he stated.
“My wife relies on her phone to conduct her business but it goes straight to voicemail almost every single time,” he said. “She can only be contacted with a Whatsapp call when she is in a Wi-Fi zone,” he added.
Several more users indicated that despite turning roaming on and following Cell C’s instructions for the migration process, their network connections were not working properly.
The wave of complaints follows several Vodacom subscribers taking to social media to complain about having bad reception, dropped calls, or no signal at all in the past few weeks.
Customers had complained from all over the country and said that they were experiencing problems with Wi-Fi routers and phones alike.
When asked about the complaints about the poor signal, Vodacom told MyBroadband there was no general issue or outage impacting its network.
Vodacom also assured that any issues customers are experiencing had nothing to do with Cell C migrating its contract and broadband subscribers onto the Vodacom network.
“It is well known that we have had a roaming agreement in place with Cell C over many years. Our latest agreement has had no material impact on our network performance,” Vodacom stated.
The operator said the dropped calls and reception problems could be a result of load-shedding, base station vandalism, or battery theft.
Consequences of MTN-Vodacom switch
When it initially announced it was shutting down its own radio network infrastructure, Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie-Stevenson told MyBroadband that customers would be moved to MTN.
“As Cell C deconstructs its network over the transition period, traffic will be moved from our physical radio network to the virtual radio network provisioned for us by MTN,” he said.
However, in January Cell C revealed that its contract and broadband customers would be moved to Vodacom instead of MTN.
Many customers had likely taken up months-long packages with Cell C due to having strong network connectivity in their location on either its own or MTN’s network.
With the migration to Vodacom and shutdown of Cell C infrastructure, there may be instances where customers now either have weak or no connectivity in their area.
Cell C response
MyBroadband asked Cell C and Vodacom whether they were aware of any persistent connectivity issues among Cell C subscribers and whether these were related to the migration of customers to Vodacom’s network.
Cell C said that overall the migration project was progressing according to plan.
“The migration of Cell C’s contract and broadband customers to Vodacom’s network is a big project and our teams are working hard to ensure a smooth transition,” the operator stated.
“Cell C continues to monitor and resolve any connectivity challenges, this includes bolstering and recalibrating our customer support processes to assist customers and ongoing engagements with our infrastructure partner on solutions where coverage issues may be experienced,” it added.
Cell C assured customers they would have access to a “quality network” and in instances where they no longer had reception from Cell C or Vodacom, customer queries were being dealt with on a case-by-case basis, with the majority being resolved.
A Vodacom spokesperson claimed that the migration project has been a resounding success.
“As with any project of this magnitude, there will be isolated teething problems but our teams have worked hard to resolve these as quickly as possible. In many instances, a simple reboot was needed before customers could access SA’s leading network,” Vodacom said.
The spokesperson said that Cell C customers can expect “the same superior customer experience as Vodacom subscribers” on its network.
The operator added that the migration would not impact its network capacity.
“In the normal course of business, Vodacom does meticulous capacity planning. Before we integrate any additional load on our network, we proactively ensure that we are adequately prepared for it,” Vodacom stated.