Cell C in ‘advanced talks’ with MTN for an extended roaming deal

3 Oct 2019

Cell C is said to be in advanced talks with MTN to gain more access to its network, Tech Central reports. CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson was quoted as saying in an interview that an extended roaming deal – giving Cell C additional access to MTN’s network in major cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town – could be concluded within the next month, adding: ‘We are not a tower-owning company, our profits have to come from the services that we are able to offer customers.’ Further, the cash-strapped operator revealed that a group of local banks have committed to provide it with temporary liquidity by extending the maturity of a ZAR1.2 billion (USD78 million) loan, which was due to be repaid in September. The cellco had accumulated debt of ZAR9 billion by the end of 2018, while its full-year losses increased to ZAR8 billion (ZAR656 million in 2017). Cell C emerged from a protracted debt-restructuring rescue plan in August 2017, with Blue Label Telecoms taking a 45% stake in the company for ZAR5.5 billion, while 3C Telecommunications – itself owned by Oger Telecom (45.6%), the Employee Believe Trust (29.4%), and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) grouping CellSAf (25%) – retained a 30% stake. The remainder was split between Net1 (15%) and Cell C management and staff (10%). The restructuring process aimed to slash Cell C’s debt to ZAR6 billion (from ZAR20 billion), though majority owner Blue Label fell short of its target by ZAR3 billion.

South Africa, Cell C, MTN South Africa