Cell C customers getting raw deal on network speeds

Network testing by MyBroadband Insights revealed that Cell C subscribers are getting significantly slower speeds on Vodacom and MTN’s networks than subscribers of those networks.

The testing followed complaints from Cell C subscribers about poor network speeds after the migration of subscribers to Vodacom and MTN’s networks.

Cell C is currently migrating its contract and broadband customers to Vodacom and building its own radio access network on MTN’s infrastructure to serve its prepaid subscribers.

As it migrates subscribers onto partner networks, Cell C is decommissioning its radio network in a phased process.

The mobile operator promised improved speeds using Vodacom and MTN’s excellent networks.

“On completion of the migration, our customers will have access to the best networks,” Cell C said.

However, a better network experience is not what many subscribers experienced. After the migration started, Cell C subscribers reported poor speeds and unstable network connections.

Many Cell C subscribers expected the same network performance as Vodacom and MTN subscribers, but this did not happen.

MyBroadband Insights investigated the issue by testing the speed of Cell C contract and prepaid accounts and comparing them to the speeds achieved by Vodacom and MTN subscribers.

Over 300 speed tests were conducted across Johannesburg and Pretoria using Samsung Galaxy S21 5G smartphones.

The results revealed that Cell C subscribers experience significantly slower speeds than Vodacom and MTN subscribers.

The average download speed for an MTN subscriber was 168Mbps, while a Cell C prepaid subscriber only achieved 31Mbps.

The average download speed for a Vodacom subscriber was 83Mbps. A Cell C contract subscriber roaming on Vodacom’s network only achieved 50Mbps.

Cell C CTO Schalk Visser told MyBroadband there could be various reasons why a Cell C SIM would have different speeds on MTN and Vodacom compared to MTN or Vodacom SIMs on their own networks:

  • Cell C have not transitioned to MTN in the area testing was done, like Gauteng.
  • Cell C still uses its own internet breakout so the route to the internet may be different depending on the network used for the testing.
  • The Cell C SIM might be connected to a different cell or base station than the other operators when the testing was done.

The table below provides an overview of the testing results in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Prepaid Subscribers – MTN versus Cell C
Subscribers Download Speed Upload Speed
MTN 167Mbps 50Mbps
Cell C 31Mbps 11Mbps
Contract Subscribers – Vodacom versus Cell C
Subscribers Download Speed Upload Speed
Vodacom 83Mbps 17Mbps
Cell C 50Mbps 14Mbps

Prepaid Speeds


Contract Speeds


Now read: Cell C customer migration to Vodacom and MTN explained

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Cell C customers getting raw deal on network speeds