Cell C customers had 5G — but then it was blocked

During recent tests of Cell C’s network performance and 5G network speeds around Gauteng, MyBroadband discovered that Cell C contract SIMs could connect to the Vodacom 5G network.

Cell C said that this was due to a glitch, which it will address with Vodacom.

“Currently, 5G roaming on the Vodacom and MTN radio networks for our post-paid or prepaid customers respectively, is not available,” Cell C stated.

“The 5G roaming that has been picked up on the Vodacom network is a technical issue which we are addressing with our roaming partner, as it is a service that is currently not available.”

Cell C reaffirmed that it plans to offer 5G services to its subscribers.

This comes as the mobile operator migrated its contract subscribers to the Vodacom network and is busy decommissioning its own radio access network.

Where Cell C has switched off its network, prepaid subscribers will roam on MTN’s network through a virtual radio network that it is provisioning for Cell C.

Through its expanded roaming agreement with MTN, Cell C said it would have access to more than 12,500 4G/LTE-ready sites for its prepaid and mobile virtual network customers across the country.

Cell C said it plans to complete the decommissioning of its network in late 2023.

Network testing by MyBroadband Insights, which discovered that the Cell C contract SIM connected to the Vodacom 5G network, also revealed that Cell C subscribers were getting slower speeds on Vodacom and MTN’s networks than subscribers of those networks.

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 may not have transitioned to MTN in the area where 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.

Now read: Vodacom and MTN 5G tested — impressive results

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Cell C customers had 5G — but then it was blocked