Cell C has started the migration of its 16 million subscribers to MTN’s cellphone tower infrastructure. This comes as the company prepares to switch off its own radio access network.
“From mid-December, our contract and broadband customers will be enabled to roam on a partner network. This change will be beneficial to our customers and ensure a connectivity experience that delivers both quality and value,” said Cell C in a statement released on Wednesday.
Cell C said its customers will be migrated in stages and it expects the transition to be completed by early February 2021.
“You will be alerted via SMS communication when your service will be enabled. This change will not result in any additional charges and your existing terms and conditions will remain in place,” Cell C added.
Customers have been advised to manually activate ’Data roaming’ in the phone settings in a bid to avoid disruptions to you data connectivity.
It’s worth noting that Apple device users’ data roaming will be activated automatically.
Customers still experiencing difficulties after this are encouraged to contact general customer service at 084 135.
According to MyBroadband, this infrastructure sharing strategy will help Cell C to cut down on network investments and forms part of a broader turnaround strategy to get the company out of deep financial woes.
Rob Shuter, MTN Group CEO, will be stepping down from his role at the end of his contract in March 2021, the mobile phone operator announced on Wednesday.
“The board thanks Rob for the contribution he has made and, continues to make, to MTN. The succession process will be concluded during the year, enabling a seamless handover,” the company said in a statement.
MTN group chief technology and IT officer Charles Molapisi has been appointed to the group executive committee and the fixed contract of the group chief operations officer, Jens Schulte-Bockum, has been extended until 31 March 2022.
Shuter joined MTN from Vodafone in 2016, to replace Sifiso Dabengwa.
He was the CEO of Vodafone’s European cluster.
Shuter is also a former CEO of Vodafone Netherlands and ex-Vodacom chief financial officer. He has extensive experience in telecoms and banking having held senior management roles at Vodacom Group, Standard Bank and Nedbank prior to joining Vodafone Group. For more read: MTN taps Rob Shuter as new CEO
“We will use 2020 to implement our succession process and ensure a seamless handover to the new group president and CEO whilst maintaining our operational execution,” said Shuter in a statement.
In the wake of the Competition Commission ordering Vodacom and MTN to lower their exorbitant data prices, the ruling party says the two must voluntarily do so now than later.
MTN and Vodacom lost R22-billion of their combined value on Monday after the competition watchdog gave the two dominant mobile phone operators two months to slash internet connectivity prices or face prosecution.
The ANC, in response to the two mobile giants’ reasoning that data was so expensive because of the lack of spectrum, said that would be sorted in the near future and that should not be an excuse.
Joining the chorus of those welcoming the news that on the side battered the values of the companies, the ruling party said the current steep prices of data have a negative impact not only on the growth of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
“We reiterate our call that operators must demonstrate goodwill by voluntarily lowering data prices and allow government to resolve the allocation of new spectrum. The release of spectrum, which the ANC supports, will resolve the network capacity constraints experienced by Mobile Network Operators and accelerate the roll-out of broadband networks in rural areas,” the party said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
On the high data costs, the party said the working class poor, youth, students and women are robbed of their income as they spend more than 25% on the telecommunications services including data services.
It said the majority of the country’s people, due to the widening digital divide, are unable to enjoy the benefits of a digital economy, which deprive the poor of full participation in the democracy of our country. It added that this further stifles development and growth of small businesses.
“The ANC further urges government to activate all regulatory mechanisms, i.e. Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to ensure the implementation of the findings and recommendations of the Competition Commission, with the necessary speed. Access to data in the 21st century is important because it facilitates the realisation of many rights enshrined in our Bill of Rights, as well as, enhancing economic participation and the strengthening of our democracy.”
Among its findings, the Competition Commission said while conducting its inquiry it started in 2017, it found that current comparisons of the prices charged by Vodacom and MTN in other African markets in which they operate also reveal that South African prices are higher than most countries by some distance.
The network has been slapped with a R5-million fine for failing to notify authorities in time before hiking the price of its 1GB monthly WhatsApp bundle.
MTN says it believes its penalty from Icasa in the 1GB monthly WhatsApp bundle case should be proportional to its transgression.
The network has been slapped with a R5 million fine for failing to notify authorities in time before hiking the price of its 1 gigabyte monthly WhatsApp bundle. At least R2 million of the fine is suspended for 3 years.
In a statement, MTN spokesperson Jacqui O’Sullivan details multiple instances where the network notified Icasa of its intentions to increase the price of its 1GB monthly WhatsApp bundle.
She said they also wrote to Icasa shortly before the price hike but there was no response and it went ahead with the adjustment.
MTN said it respected the role of the authority and insisted that, at the time, the company believed that increasing the price of the bundle was the only way to ensure the continued functionality of MTN SA’s 3G network.
The network said it was very aware of the required Icasa timing, which was why it applied for leniency.
MTN will be taking the decision on review to the High Court.
MTN lost almost two-million subscribers in South Africa in the six months to June and service revenue growth slowed by 3.3 percent in a stubbornly weak economy.
MTN, Africa’s telecoms giant, said it had 1.9 million less local subscribers compared to December, bringing the total subscribers to 29.2 million in the period under review, as price-sensitive consumers opted for cheaper data offerings.
It has 1.1 million fewer active data subscribers, although postpaid customers increased marginally by 0.1 percent to 5.6 million.
MTN chief executive Rob Shuter said that the 1GB promotion had contributed to the decline.
“We had our famous 1GB promotion, which we decided was not generating value and we pulled it out of the market. A lot of those SIMs have since become dormant and contributed to the drop in prepaid users,” he said.
Shuter said delayed payments under the network roaming agreement with Cell C resulted in a R393-million impairment.
“We are evaluating a sustainable solution to the agreement with Cell C,” Shuter said.
The domestic prepaid service revenue declined 5.5 percent on the introduction of out of data bundle rates and regulations by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).
Commenting on the recent release of the policy on high-demand spectrum and policy direction on the licensing of a Wireless Open Access Network, Shuter said it was a move in the right direction, and lacked detail.
“We are still not clear how much spectrum will be available to mobile operators,” said Shuter.
Overall the MTN group had strong subscriber growth of 7.7 million in the first six months of the year to reach a total of 240 million subscribers.
MTN South Africa employees have expressed fears the company’s move to sell off its stores will result in them losing their jobs, a report form ITWeb has revealed.
Already, an employee representative, who opted to remain anonymous, contacted ITWeb alleging the mobile operator was looking to sell off its stores and in the process “dupe them into joblessness without proper consultations” with the workers at these facilities.
MTN denied the retrenchment accusation but confirmed there are plans to sell stores. Employees will be transferred to new employers at their current total cost to company packages, for a minimum period of twelve months.
Jacqui O’Sullivan, executive for corporate affairs at MTN said the company’s objective with this project is not to close stores, but to grow the company’s store footprint and BBBEE ownership of MTN stores.
The plan will see MTN increasing its number of stores in the coming two years, creating businesses for new owners and job opportunities for new store employees.