In a significant development in South Africa’s telecommunications sector, Cell C has signed a roaming agreement with MTN that will allow its customer’s to roam on the latter’s network.
It’s the first time that Cell C will have access to another operator’s 4G network — its roaming agreement with Vodacom, which will not be terminated, extends only to 2G and 3G services. Though the agreement with Vodacom will continue, it will be mainly for 2G traffic and “limited” 3G traffic. Cell C will “migrate the majority of roaming 3G traffic and all 4G traffic to MTN”.
The agreement will see MTN providing both 3G and 4G services to Cell C in areas where Cell C has chosen to purchase coverage rather than self-build, mainly outside of the main metropolitan areas, the company said in a statement.
“Cell C completed a comprehensive assessment of the wholesale offerings available in the market and based on MTN’s significant network investment in recent times, we concluded that MTN offered the best solution for our business going forward,” said CEO Jose Dos Santos.
“This deal will complement Cell C’s network offering and, with the introduction of roaming 4G services, our customers in those areas will benefit significantly.”
The long-term roaming agreement with MTN is a multibillion-rand deal, Cell C said. It hasn’t attached a specific value to the transaction. Implementation is expected to begin soon.
“The roaming agreement with MTN best meets our needs as a company and we are expecting to complete the implementation in the next few months,” said Dos Santos.
The deal includes seamless handover for customers, which means that if someone is on a call that happens to switch from a Cell C tower to a MTN tower, it won’t be dropped.
Implementation of the national roaming agreement between the operators will begin next month and the bulk of bulk of the services will be transferred within two months, MTN said in a statement.
“The transition will be seamless and there will be no disruption to MTN or Cell C customers. No new Sim cards will be required for Cell C’s customers,” MTN said.
Cell C will roam on MTN’s network in the country’s smaller cities and rural areas where MTN currently has additional capacity. Both MTN and Cell C will maintain their own networks in the larger cities.
“MTN is committed to the continued roll-out of our network, across the country, to make sure all South African’s can reap the many benefits of mobile connectivity,” said MTN South Africa CEO Godfrey Motsa. “This deal will help fund our ongoing network expansion while also immediately offering more South Africans in peri-urban and rural parts of our country greater connectivity…”
Throughout the development of this deal, MTN and Cell C have maintained a strong focus on compliance, adhering to all necessary regulations and industry guidelines, MTN said. “This agreement is an important infrastructure sharing development within the South African telecoms sector…” — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media