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RICA trims Cell C growth

The new SIM card registration law has affected starter pack sales, says SA's third national mobile operator, Cell C.

Although the company did not give exact figures, the impact has been seen in its two larger rivals.

MTN lost 4.7% of its local subscriber base in the three months to September.

Vodacom saw a drop-off in gross connections after the implementation of the Act, but managed to add 579 000 subscribers in the six months to September. It has cautioned that it will start to see deeper effects of lost subscribers as the deadline for final registration draws closer.

The Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA) has also affected Cell C. Sean van der Westhuizen, national sales operations executive, says: “RICA has had a major impact on both customers and network operators.”

Although the company has tried to simplify and ease the registration process, RICA has been a deterrent for many customers purchasing new starter packs, he says.

Cell C has almost eight million subscribers, a number that has grown from the end of December, when it had 6.4 million customers. However, growth in subscriber numbers is expected to slow.

“The company has also experienced a significant impact on sales, especially in the informal market. Furthermore, small businesses and vendors in particular in the informal sectors, have been affected as there has been a sales migration from the informal to the formal market,” adds Van der Westhuizen.

The South African market already has over 100% penetration of mobile phones.

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