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Correction: Cell C begins to transition customers to partner network

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Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson.
Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson.

Cell C has started to migrate its contract and broadband customers to Vodacom and not MTN as previously reported.

On Wednesday, ITWeb reported that SA’s third biggest mobile operator was migrating its contract and broadband customers to the MTN network based on the roaming agreement the telco has with MTN.

However, the mobile operator confirms: “The migration of the contract and broadband customers arises from Cell C’s network roaming agreement with Vodacom. Customers still remain Cell C customers.”

In its statement, Cell C says it is implementing a more efficient business model and the network transition is one of the pillars of our new strategy.

“It is important to note that our recap is in process and we will continue to build on the improved business results we have started to deliver. We are migrating our network over the next three years – this has nothing to do with our financial position but it’s about executing our new business model which is on track.

“This migration phase is part of our transition phase and there could be some consumer inconvenience, however on completion our customers will have access to the best networks. For example, our prepaid customers will enjoy the benefit of MTN’s network – both in urban and rural areas as we are also in the process of transitioning our RAN to MTN from 1 January onwards.”

Cell C points out that had roaming agreements in place with both MTN and Vodacom for a while.

“This initiative to buy more capacity from both Vodacom and MTN is in line with our strategy of becoming a significant wholesale buyer of network capacity and infrastructure services as we execute our stated plan of not investing in multi bearer expensive CAPEX.”

In yesterday’s statement, Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson commented: “Our strategic vision is to differentiate ourselves by focusing on innovative products and services without being owners of capital-intensive infrastructure. This creates more flexibility and capacity to deliver the right quality of service to our current and future customers.

“Cell C is pioneering the evolution of the MNO space in South Africa by becoming a significant wholesale buyer of network capacity and infrastructure services. It is a win-win as the individual operators deliver segmental expertise to the benefit of everyone in the industry.”

Cell C is of the view that the adoption of the network roaming model will promote more resourceful use of the telecommunications infrastructure capacity in the country, improve the overall network connectivity and provide Cell C customers with a better customer experience.

The mobile operator says it supports the policy goals of avoiding network duplication and the burden on the environment as the shared infrastructure drives efficiencies through a more viable, flexible and agile model.

“We are moving closer to our vision that offers customers quality network access and makes Cell C a customer-first service provider, enhancing lives and providing digital solutions on a scalable quality telco platform.

“Operationally the business is getting stronger, and a successful recapitalisation will secure the long-term sustainability of Cell C,” adds Craigie Stevenson.

To minimise any impact on service, Cell C is asking contract and broadband customers to activate “data roaming” manually on one’s phone settings. If a customer has a router then they will need to do this via a PC.

For Apple device users, the data roaming will be activated automatically.

Cell C indicates that it will send customers three SMSs prior to the cutover taking place, adding that it is important not to ignore these messages.

In addition, the mobile operator says it has prepared a step-by-step guide on its Web site to assist customers with changing settings. Otherwise, customers can contact the customer service number on 084 135.

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