Cell C misses Vodacom migration target as connectivity problems frustrate subscribers

Cell C’s migration of its contract and broadband customers to Vodacom’s network is taking longer than anticipated and has not been completed by February as planned.

This is feedback from the mobile operator which was answering questions from MyBroadband about the migration.

Cell C is in the process of shutting down its radio access network (RAN) and moving customers to roam on Vodacom and MTN’s infrastructure as part of a broader turnaround strategy to recover from a dire financial state.

As part of this, it started migrating contract and broadband customers to Vodacom’s network in December 2020.

Customers were advised to switch on data roaming and restart their devices if they experienced any connectivity problems.

At the time, Cell C said that these customers would be migrated in stages and it anticipated the transition to be complete by February 2021.

However, as of 19 March 2021, Cell C said that this migration is still ongoing.

“The original target for a complete migration by end February was not met, however we are pleased with the progress to date,” Cell C stated.

Douglas Craigie Stevenson
Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson

During this migration process Cell C customers have reported network connectivity problems.

Last week, the operator confirmed it was aware of an issue with 4G connectivity for Cell C customers roaming on Vodacom’s network.

It has reiterated the migration is a big project and that its teams were working hard to ensure a smooth transition.

“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 roaming partner on solutions where coverage issues may be experienced,” it said.

“Customer queries are being dealt with on a case-by-case basis, with the majority being resolved.”

The operator emphasised that its contract and broadband customers would have access to a “quality network and receive like-for-like quality connectivity as Vodacom customers”.

Jacqui O'Sullivan
Jacqui O’Sullivan

MTN’s executive for corporate affairs Jacqui O’Sullivan previously told MyBroadband that Cell C had started to build its virtual radio access network (RAN) on MTN’s network infrastructure on 1 January 2021.

The Cell C RAN is being implemented on logically partitioned MTN infrastructure and transmission, a process which is expected to take three years.

There will also be an element of roaming on MTN’s network in areas where Cell C does not have its own RAN.

MTN subscribers are set to benefit from the agreement as Cell C has sold some roaming capacity to MTN on its RAN’s spare capacity.

Cell C has now confirmed it has started migrating some of its prepaid customers in coastal provinces and rural areas to the virtual radio access network (RAN) provisioned by MTN.

The operator said it was pleased with the progress made to date.

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Cell C misses Vodacom migration target as connectivity problems frustrate subscribers