Vodacom Quietly Prepares to Indirectly Acquire Embattled Cell C Prepaid Customers 

Insiders have revealed that Vodacom South Africa has installed an indoor RF site (Antenna) at the headquarters of cash-strapped Cell C in Sandton. TechFinancials has...

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Vodacom Quietly Prepares to Indirectly Acquire Embattled Cell C Prepaid Customers 

Insiders have revealed that Vodacom South Africa has installed an indoor RF site (Antenna) at the headquarters of cash-strapped Cell C in Sandton.

TechFinancials has been told by the insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, that both Vodacom and Cell C were busy testing this indoor RF site.

The insiders say the installation of the antenna is part of a process to test the site and ensure a seamless move of Cell C’s prepaid subscribers to the Vodacom network.

They say once the move is completed cellphones belonging to Cell C customers will reflect Vodacom as their network provider.

However, settings on old SIM cards are delaying the move over of Cell C prepaid subscribers to Vodacom.

“Currently, they are busy fixing this challenge,” an insider said.

Asked to comment on the possible move to buy Cell C’s prepaid subscribers indirectly, a Vodacom spokesperson on Thursday responded with the standard, “We do not comment on market speculation”.

Vodacom’s installation of the RF site (Antenna) at the Cell C headquarters could kickstart the process of a complete buy-out of the embattled mobile phone operators’ prepaid subscribers.

Meanwhile, Cell C is trying to appoint a managed services provider to handle its contract with broadband customers.

Impeccable sources last Tuesday told TechFinancials that Cell C was in talks with Comm Equipment Company (CEC), a handset financing company owned by JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms.

Blue Label Telecoms, which owns 45% of Cell C, is leading a process to recapitalise the struggling business.

Sources say CEC is interested in taking over the servicing of Cell C’s contract and broadband customers.

As a managed services provider, CEC plans to subcontract Vodacom to handle its credit vetting, call centre, billing, and collections for these customers.

On Thursday, a source explained that the imminent appointment of CEC as a managed services provider for Cell C would facilitate an indirect sale of its prepaid subscribers to Vodacom.

“It is for this reason, CEC was brought in the picture and now it will be an indirect sale,” said the source.

A PR spokesperson for Cell C said TechFinancials shouldn’t expect any response from the embattled company on the matter.

At the time of publication, there was still no direct response from Cell C. – lourie@techfinancials.co.za 

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