JOHANNESBURG – Telkom customers will soon be roaming on Vodacom’s network, not on multinational mobile telecommunications group MTN’s after Telkom entered a deal with Vodacom worth billions of rand.
The migration will begin in December, with full switchover planned by mid-2019. Telkom users will now have access to Vodacom's 4G network, as previously, with MTN, the deal was restricted to slower 2G and 3G speeds.
The agreement will also see Telkom having access to build infrastructure on Vodacom towers.
Telkom spokesperson Noma Faku told TechCentral that the agreement with Vodacom included seamless handover, meaning a call will not drop if it is passed by a Telkom tower to a Vodacom tower.
Faku said, "There will be no geographic restrictions as there are in the deal between Cell C and MTN. This means that even if a Telkom subscriber is in Johannesburg, and has Telkom signal, they can still choose to roam onto Vodacom’s network if they prefer."
Vodacom Group CEO, Shameel Joosub, said: "We are extremely pleased that Telkom has selected Vodacom as its strategic partner and we look forward to delivering on this long-term and mutually beneficial agreement. By switching its roaming agreement to Vodacom, Telkom will have access to South Africa’s best network with the country's widest population coverage, a testament to our accelerated rural coverage programme and our commitment to ensuring the sustainability of South Africa’s highly competitive telecommunications industry.
"Apart from the commercial benefit, this partnership between the country’s fastest growing networks will also result in reduced network deployment costs for Telkom and cost savings for Vodacom, ultimately contributing to the reduction of data prices in South Africa."
CEO of Telkom, Sipho Maseko said: "Seamless handover and 4G mobile technology are new additions to Telkom’s roaming agreement which will improve the customer experience on the Telkom network. The infrastructure sharing agreement will allow Telkom more efficient capital and operational expenditure."
“It complements Telkom’s network rollout programme as Telkom remains committed to expanding its network. The agreement enables quicker site acquisition in the medium term. I am pleased we have concluded an agreement that enables us to improve our network efficiently.”
Earlier this year, Cell C announced that it had entered into a multibillion rand roaming agreement with MTN.
According to Cell C chief executive, Jose Dos Santos, said that although Cell C would carry majority of its data traffic on its own network, the long-term multibillion-rand agreement was 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.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE / African News Agency (ANA)