How much it costs to cancel MTN contracts

MTN customers looking to terminate their device contracts early pay a modest termination fee compared to other mobile networks.

South African consumers who sign up for long-term contracts are not forced to stay with a network until that agreement’s expiry.

According to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), any mobile subscriber is allowed to end their cellular contract prematurely under certain conditions.

Firstly, they need to provide 20 business days’ notice in writing or recorded form, such as via an email or call to a cancellations department.

Secondly, they should be aware that the mobile network would be entitled to charge a “reasonable” penalty fee for the cancellation.

The parameters for calculating such a fee are fairly broad, with the CPA stating operators should take the following elements into account:

  • How much the consumer is indebted to the service provider on the date of cancellation.
  • The value of the transaction on the date of cancellation.
  • The value of any goods that will remain in possession of the consumer on the date of cancellation.
  • The duration of the agreement as initially concluded between the consumer and the service provider.
  • The losses suffered or benefits accrued by the consumer from the agreement.
  • The nature of the goods or services reserved or booked by the consumer.
  • The length of the notice or cancellation period provided by the consumer in relation to the initial expiry date of the agreement.
  • The reasonable potential for the service provider, acting diligently, to find an alternative consumer between the time of receiving the cancellation notice and the time of the cancelled reservation.
  • The general practice of the relevant industry.

MTN explains its cancellation procedure in detail on its website.

Per the CPA, it requires 20 business days’ notice to process a contract cancellation.

Customers must call 135 from an MTN number to go through the process or can send an email to [email protected] with their cancellation request.

For the cancellation of an MTN contract, the following charges will apply:

  • The outstanding cost of a device
  • 1-month’s subscription
  • Any remaining usage charges

The big benefit of MTN’s approach is that it exempts customers from paying a cancellation fee relating to the subscription fee itself.

Vodacom and Cell C charge a cancellation fee as a portion of the total outstanding subscription value, while Telkom charges the full remaining value of the entire subscription in addition to an administration fee.

Example MTN contract cancellation

We used the example of a 24-month Mega XS Gigs package with a Samsung Galaxy A53 5G for R429 per month to illustrate the cost of cancelling a contract compared to sticking it out.

On this package, the device fee on its own makes up R294 of the price, while the plan contributes R135 per month.

We considered four scenarios for when a subscriber might want to cancel their contract — 18 months, 12 months, six months, and three months before expiry.

For the first three options, the settlement amount on a cancellation worked out to be cheaper than continuing with the contract.

The table below shows what you can expect to pay when you cancel your MTN contract at various points before expiry.

MTN contract cancellation breakdown
Item 18 months before expiry 12 months before expiry 6 months before expiry 3 months before expiry
Outstanding cost of the device R5,292 (R294 x 18) R3,528 (R294 x 12) R1,764 (R294 x 6) R882 (R294 x 3)
1-month’s subscription R429 R429 R429 R429
Outstanding out-of-bundle balance (payable in both cases) R0 R0 R0 R0
Settlement amount for cancellation R5,721 R3,957 R2,193 R1,311
Amount if remaining on contract R7,722 R5,148 R2,574 R1,287

Now read: Data contract price showdown — Vodacom vs MTN

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How much it costs to cancel MTN contracts