Cell C, South Africa’s third largest mobile operator, informed the country’s Competition Commission that it opposes the network sharing deal between rival MTN and the country’s largest fixed operator Telkom, which has a small mobile presence.
In an emailed response to Bloomberg, Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos said his company does not agree with the proposed transaction as it stands.
Telkom started negotiations with MTN in March as it looked to cut costs at its loss-making mobile business. Sipho Maseko, Telkom’s CEO, recently said the company is battling with a decline in landline use and increasing operating expenses as it struggles to make an impact on the mobile market.
Telkom Mobile had just 1.9 million connections at the end of the second quarter, according to GSMA Intelligence figures — putting it firmly in last place. Market leader Vodacom had 32.5 million connections with MTN on 23.3 million connections and Cell C on 16.8 million.
Telkom and MTN already have an agreement in place to allow roaming on their respective networks but the larger mobile operator is believed to be keen to gain access to Telkom’s spectrum.
A Competition Commission representative told Bloomberg that it is examining the proposal — something that is seen as normal practice with such deals.