More Africa NewsNetworksSouth Africa: Cell C pulls plug on fixed LTE, leaving ISPs, consumers in the lurch

August 29, 2019by myles

Cell C has issued a formal notice to its wholesale partners, including Internet Solutions, stating that it will terminate wholesale fixed-LTE services, potentially leaving thousands of retail customers in the lurch.

TechCentral has seen correspondence from Internet Solutions to its channel partners — mainly other Internet service providers — stating that Cell C plans to switch off the wholesale LTE service for Internet Solutions, its reseller partners and their end users later this year.

According to the letter, all 100GB and 200GB fixed-LTE packages will be terminated, Sim cards deactivated and all data forfeited at midnight on 31 October. The same will happen to 20GB and 50GB fixed-lite packages on 31 December.

“Through extensive negotiations, we have made every effort to find a suitable alternative for our customers and Cell C to ensure there is no interruption in connectivity. These conversations did not yield the desired outcome of keeping our customers connected via Cell C’s fixed LTE. As a result, we are regrettably required to issue a termination notice to you for Cell C’s fixed-LTE services.”“This is a result of Cell C’s numerous business challenges, including their inability to sustainably support the demand that fixed LTE has placed on its network,” the Internet Solutions letter said.

Many ISPs use the Cell C network, through Internet Solutions, to offer services to customers. Afrihost, for example, offers 100GB of fixed-LTE broadband for R530/month and 200GB for R845/month. Vox offers 100GB for R525 and 200GB for R835, according to its website.

TechCentral understands that Cell C will continue to offer fixed-LTE packages to consumers itself. It sells a 100GB plan for R1 007.77/month and a 200GB plan for R1 512.15/month, significantly above the prices offered through the wholesale channel.

‘Working tirelessly’

The Internet Solutions letter said the company is “working tirelessly with alternative network providers in an attempt to secure comparable fixed-LTE services”.

“Should we be successful in onboarding a new operator prior to the termination date, we will notify you immediately of the sign-up process, available packages, etc. Alternatively, please feel free to consider fibre services from our sister company, MWeb — availability permitting.”

Asked for comment, a Cell C spokeswoman said: “We are reviewing our product portfolio, and as part of this review have taken the decision to exit from wholesale fixed-LTE as it is no longer feasible. We will continue to develop and introduce competitive products and services to the market.”

Source: NewsCentral Media

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