South African mobile company, Cell C has entered into a multi-billion rand roaming agreement with multinational mobile telecommunications group, MTN. Picture: Tracey Adams

CAPE TOWN - South African mobile company, Cell C has entered into a multi-billion rand roaming agreement with multinational mobile telecommunications group, MTN. 

In the latest agreement between the two mobile carriers, Cell and MTN both announced the partnership yesterday. 

This deal will see Cell C essentially roaming on MTN’s network in areas where Cell C has little to no coverage. 

The agreement which is set to be in full swing in the next few months will also increase Cell C’s 4G population coverage from 33% to 80%. 

According to Cell C CEO, Jose Dos Santos, said that although Cell C will carry majority of its data traffic on its own network, the long-term multi-billion-rand agreement is significant. 

“While Cell C still carries the vast majority of data traffic on its own network, as it has its own infrastructure in the metros, this deal is significant as it will provide 4G coverage to customers in outlying areas where we have chosen to buy rather than build coverage”, said Dos Santos. 

Dos Santos added that part of the reason for clinching the deal with MTN is based on their significant network assessment. Cell C conducted a comprehensive assessment of the wholesale offering available in the market and concluded that MTN offered the best solution for their business going forward. 

“More importantly, the agreement includes both 3G and 4G roaming services, mainly outside of the main metro areas and includes a seamless handover experience for customers. This means that where a customer is on a call that switches from a Cell C tower to a MTN tower, the call will not be dropped”, added Dos Santos. 

Cell C said they were unable to disclose further details as the terms of the agreement are confidential. 

Meanwhile, MTN issued a statement yesterday stating that they are pleased that Cell C will be roaming on their network. 

According to MTN, implementation of the agreement will begin next month with most of the services being transferred in the next two months. MTN assured customers that the transition will be seamless and MTN and Cell C customers will not incur any disruption. 

“We set out to create South Africa’s best network so that we could offer our customers the best experience. Our superior network has been created through our consistent network investments and we are pleased that we can now also offer that BOZZA experience to Cell C customers, in areas where we have additional capacity,” said MTN SA CEO, Godfrey Motsa. 

“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. 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, as they roam off MTN’s existing network”, added Motsa.