Porting from MTN to Cell C: A Review

I‘ve been a loyal MTN customer for around the last twelve years. I started on prepaid with a Nokia 5110 as a teenager and then graduated to multiple contracts of ever increasing values and costs as I started using my cellphone for work and contacting girls. In recent years MTN has gone to the dogs: I had an iPhone 4 with them and almost never saw 3G signal instead being left on EDGE for mobile connectivity. Since data has become more important to me than how many SMS messages I get the lack of speed left me wanting. Add to the fact tons of dropped calls and plenty of dead spots in Johannesburg I was ready to move.

Ever since Allan Knott-Craig Snr joined Cell C they‘ve changed their offerings to be highly competitive although I‘d heard horror stories about the quality of the network. As mentioned earlier, my priority was data and I‘ve had pretty good quality data on my Cell C data stick at home. Another issue is price, the iPhone 5 is currently R399 for 200 minutes, 200 sms‘s and 500mb of data. Compared to MTN and Vodacom, this is at least R150-R200 cheaper. Enough about price though, this is an issue of network quality.
I phoned Cell C direct, got asked a million questions about my income and 7 days later an iPhone 5 was delivered to my door. I must commend the call center staff for being knowledgable and really friendly, more than I can say for my previous networks call center. While there was some issue with porting from MTN to Cell C (the sales agent forgot to initiate the porting process which is human error and could happen anywhere) but otherwise they communicated with me perfectly throughout the process.
As a whole I get a consistent 3G connection on my iPhone 5 (there is no LTE yet but this is true for any of the networks) and it‘s actually rare for me to see an EDGE connection. There are spots where the quality is terrible, specifically in the Hyde Park area of Johannesburg (I get bumped to Vodacom here) but otherwise it‘s perfect.
Cell C is great, don‘t believe the negative press.

    1. Greg, I live in Cape Town (Southern Suburbs) recently moved from Vodacon to Cell C. Have to say that I have not experienced any issues or dropped calls. Connection is always 3G.

      1. Live in Northern Suburbs (Durbanville). Ported 3 numbers from EmptyN to Vodacon and then to Cell C. No issues and fast internet on my phone wherever I go. Even my GPS that never worked, is working now. Nice to make calls(@99c) and use data (@15c /MB) without a worry. Stay on prepaid and you’re in charge

    2. I live in Big Bay (Bloubergstrand) and have such poor reception here. No 3g. No voice. IOW no reception. Even the technician of MTN confirmed there is problems with reception here. Trying to cancel the contract with mtn is impossible – still have another 7 months to go. SP feels for me. I had to be the driving force the whole time since AUG 2012. why i have to pay for lack of service is still beyond me. its like buying a car and not getting the wheels. but you still have to pay. cheers mtn. thanks for NOTHING. you have become beyond evil. consumers dont stand a chance against a big and evil corporate such as mtn…. we are so scr*w*d!

      1. Hey Christo watch out for Cellc, I also live in Blouberg and changed to cellc, the reception is super kak, I am talking edge speeds here of 40kbs/s. I am now on MTN and signal is cool but they throttle my connection after the first 3gb of uncapped is used. So expensive, Vodacom and MTN, CellC and 8ta have no signal, well, gsm signal, yes but very weak. Something to do with our neighborhoods location. Yeh, don’t be dissapointed, wehn you go to Bayside, put in your sim card and there is no 3g or hsdpa signal, the guy in the store will say, “It is because we are in the mall, sir”, then later when you come back and complain again, he will say, “Give it 24 hours to go through and settle.” Ja, I have heard all the excuses but it is all B.S, they are simply trying to get you in a corner. Now, I have given up on fast internet in our Blessed land, too much greed and corruption for anyone to ever do something good for the society as a whole. Anyways, just thought I would save you a headache.

  1. I have been with CellC for almost 10 years now and I have not regretted being with them at all. I have not had any issues in all these years and trust me, I am also a data junkie and people have always laughed at me because I was with CellC. All I can say is, who is laughing now 🙂

  2. I moved from cell c to MTN because cell c at the time had no iphones on their offering, i got the 4s with MTN and it’s a horrible experience, needless to say I will not be renewing my contract with MTN as well.

  3. oddly enough, i have great Cell C signal in Hyde Park where I work – right across from the shopping center. So far so good, also did a roadtrip from JHB to CPT and back and the signal never let me down. I have a Straight-up 100 contract that I top up with data as and when I need to – it’s saved me about R400/month from my MTN contract (I got nailed constantly with Out-of-Bundle rates).

  4. I Agree, I ported a few days ago from MTN as well. Where I usually got EDGE , which was most of the time, I now get full HSDPA+.

  5. I’ve been with MTN (MTNSP) since 1995 – and my current contract ends in March – I’d just like to say to Cell-C “HERE I COME!”. MTN coverage as mentioned by others is poor at best. Their service in general is lousy – you spend a lot of time on hold in their call centre whilst they confer with other staff (simple questions tax their FAQ beyond reason). I got a call yesterday asking why I hadn’t upgraded (I’m not paying a R3500 claw-back on a nearly 2 year old BB Torch – they amortised the handset cost in less than 9 months anyway!). When I complained about the poor service, I get told “Oh, that’s ok then”. There is no attempt to resolve issues or address churn at MTN. We use Cell-C for internet at home, many friends/relatives are porting to Cell-C of late – I’m looking forward to joining them!

  6. Also moved to Cell C from MTN. Handy hint, if your contract is past the 24 month stage, instead of requesting a cancellation before you port, ask them to convert you to prepaid. It takes 48 hours (including emails and forms) and you can port your number immediately after the conversion is done (i.e. you don’t have to wait a month).

  7. My story is exactly the same as the abovementioned article. I originally got a ‘dongle’ and after using it for 6 months ported over to Cell C. No complaints at all. My frustration with MTN and Vodacom is that none of them offer discounted contracts or the ability to build your own contract if you already have a phone.
    My suggestion is that if you bank with FNB, finance the phone, interest free, through them and earn eBucks. You can then sign up for Cell C straight up 100 on a month to month basis. Any out of bundle minutes are at 99c and take a data top-up bundle which is R7.50. Any out of bundle data is charged at 15c. You are not locked in and will be charged the cheapest out of bundle rate across the industry.
    They all want to lock you in for 2 years and have outrageous out of bundle rates. It is so frustrating and a perfect example of greed. Quite archaic business practice.

    1. Actually Vodacom will offer you discount on your contract if you have your own phone. I upgraded my contract this month and got a nice discount because I bought my iPhone 5 cash.

      1. That is very interesting and I have some queries:
        firstly what is the out of bundle charge for data (15c Cell C) and voice (99c Cell C) from Vodacom on this discount you mention?
        secondly, you mention that it is on a contract. How long is the duration of the contract? Why should Vodacom even make you sign a contract deal if you are not taking a phone? With a Cell C straight up deal you can sign on a month to month basis and not be locked into their network if you are not happy with Cell C.
        Just a thought…

  8. also ported from mtn to cellc-had the same experience of the trainee not porting my number on the first go…had to return to the canal walk store.first converted to prepaid-then ported ..took 3 hours.
    much cheaper- r2.75 on mtn vs r1 on cellc

  9. I am also moving from MTN after 10 years. MTN data too expensive. They have not realized that we have smart phones and need data. They think they do you a favour with 150MB per month on voice contracts. Their 2Gigs any device is only for data – no calls. How stupid!

  10. Simple and straight to the point.
    Same deal, same package, (waited 6 days, including w/end) for me.. Moved from Vodacom after +10yrs.. And due to stock, awaiting my wife’s *same* contract.
    Love it.

  11. I have 3 contracts with MTN. And no 3G at my house. MTN suck big time. I dont know if Cell C is a option but MTN is not renewing my contracts…………

  12. Cell C’s Straight-up contracts/options are a sham. More expensive for the contract, then you still need to add “value added” services (CLI, itemised billing).

  13. I’ve moved to Virgin Mobile, who use Cell C’s network. I had been with MTN for 12 years, and I cannot get any service from them regarding a R33k bill despite having a R3k cap! They do not return calls, don’t keep promises of calling back, and simply do not care that I have been a loyal customer for more than a decade.
    MTN’s service is simply disgraceful!!

  14. Besides in central Cape Town, I set my network to roam on Vodacom towers at no additional cost. Cell C Signal in Cape Town is acceptable. I generally have no problems with signal, and can swop back to Cell C towers when Vodacom signal sucks. (Samsung & most other handsets = Settings – Wireless/Networks – Network Selection – Network Operators – After search, select Vodacom)
    Cell C is far cheaper, but their Customer Care has gone backwards.

  15. Besides in central Cape Town, I set my network to roam on Vodacom towers
    at no additional cost. Cell C Signal in Cape Town is acceptable. I
    generally have no problems with signal, and can swop back to Cell C
    towers when Vodacom signal sucks. (Samsung & most other handsets =
    Settings – Wireless/Networks – Network Selection – Network Operators –
    After search, select Vodacom)
    Cell C is far cheaper, but their Customer Care has gone backwards.

  16. Thank you for this article. Should have written one myself. I am currently still on MTN. have to wait till April. 🙁 been with them also around 12 years and started with a 5110 also myself. dreadful service and useless help in their stores.

  17. Hi All
    I have been with Vodacom for 15 years and said goodbye to them on 31st dec… Now it’s hello Cell C tooooo.. I have to say, so far there has been no issues… in fact, my call signal is better than Vodacom on the Bluff.
    I will not go back to Vodacom… they have lost a client for life

  18. I have been with MTN since 1996 and never had need to complain. You moaners all live in the city. Much better MTN coverage in the rural areas than the others. I livea really far away and always have 3G.

  19. lmao: good luck with cellc! I am really tired of going on and on about their incompetance, so all i am going to say is: above average products/paakages, but seriously pathetic after service!

  20. I have had the same CellC number since they opened their doors, I have always been happy with the service and the only issue was that they brought in Blackberry so late (compared to other networks). I am currently experiencing some signal issues when I travel to certain parts of Limpopo and should actually ask them to investigate, that is the only way they will know we have issues and improve an already great service.

  21. I recently moved from MTN to Cell C because of MTN’s horrible customer service. I have to tell you Cell C is cheaper and friendlier. I have had no problems with their customer service at all. Thing is though, my signal is dismal. I frequantly have to redail a number because it simply doesn'[t connect. Or I phone someone and get the busy tone but I know for a fact they have voicemail. Never mind the #G reception, its like playing Tombola, you have to get the phone in just the right spot or you lose 2 bars. Aah cellphone companies. What to do? What to do?

  22. Changed to Cell C and guess what they forgot to port my number ( not human error ) she blatantly said I did not request porting. Anyway now when I’m connected to egde I cannot see a web page, get a whatsapp, send or receive sms or best one for last PHONE or RECIEVE INCOMMING CALLS.
    Thanks Cell C, I’m within 20 days and think I’m going to cancel and go back to Vo…da…c….com breaking up, breaking up its better than straight to Voicemail.

  23. Saul, the problem with Cell C is rather like that old nursery rhyme about the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead … when it is good it is very very good (although with Cell C, I doubt this), but when it is bad it is HORRID. I ported from Vodacom at the end of April, and to say it’s been one of the worst decisions of my life is an understatement. I am in the Fairland/Northcliff area of Joburg, and have such dreadful call reception, such slow 3G (ping tests often can’t even connect with the receiving host server), and even problems with sending off SMS and MMS, that I have been forced to get a Vodacom prepaid SIM for my old phone. I now carry two cellphones around, and pay Cell C for who knows what, and Vodacom for cell service.
    I would truly advise anyone thinking of moving to Cell C to buy a prepaid SIM first and test the reception in your dominant area before moving. I have now had four and a half months of stress and conflict, since no one at Cell C will go to bat for me, everyone tells me there isn’t a problem in my area (tacitly calling me a liar, as if it gives me pleasure to have a problem like this), and everyone just fobs me off and passes the buck.
    The call rates might be the cheapest in SA, but it won’t be of any good to you if you can’t even make a call, and when you do manage to actually connect with another number, you need to talk three times as long, repeating and repeating yourself to be heard over a line that breaks up constantly.
    I’ll end as I began, with a saying: if you pay peanuts, you can expect to get monkeys. Enough said…


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