Cell C on MTN network management deal talks

Cell C says that it is in infrastructure sharing talks with MTN, but stressed that the talks do not include a network management deal.

Citing a well placed industry source, BusinessTech reported that MTN and Cell C were believed to be in similar discussions to the proposed deal between Telkom and MTN, which would see the latter firm take over financial and operational responsibility for the rollout and operation of Telkom’s radio access network (RAN).

MTN signed an agreement with Telkom in March 2014, with talks still ongoing, but nearing conclusion.

“No the company is not in talks with MTN over a network management deal,” Cell C told BusinessTech.

“However Cell C has and will continue to discuss infrastructure sharing (for example co-locating on towers) with other infrastructure providers in South Africa, including MTN, in order to improve operational efficiencies,” it said.

A deal between Cell C and MTN would enable the former to expand its mobile coverage while also reducing its operating costs and capital expenditure.

Questions have been raised about the quality of Cell C’s network in the past, while the group has a far smaller capex budget than its rivals.

When questioned over a potential deal, Eben Albertyn, chief technical officer, MTN SA, said: “MTN continues to look for value-enhancing opportunities, including M&A, as part of its long-term growth strategy. However, we don’t comment on market speculation.”

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Cell C on MTN network management deal talks