Telkom roaming deal with MTN explained


Telkom plans to roam on the Vodacom and MTN networks depending on who has the best network coverage.

The company revealed the details about its roaming plans after MTN surprised the market with an announcement that it had concluded a multi-year national roaming agreement with Telkom.

MTN announced in its quarterly trading update that it started providing Telkom with 2G, 3G, and 4G services from 1 November 2021.

This deal came as a surprise because Telkom undertook an extensive project in 2019 to switch roaming partners from MTN to Vodacom that caused significant disruptions for subscribers.

Telkom ultimately ironed out most of the wrinkles in the system, though it took several months to do so.

“The roaming agreement with Vodacom remains in place, and a significant portion of Telkom’s roaming traffic will continue to roam on the Vodacom network,” a Telkom spokesperson told MyBroadband.

“The decision as to which roaming partner Telkom will send traffic to is dynamic, driven by multiple factors such as our own network coverage versus that of the relevant roaming partner.”

Telkom said it has flexibility based on geographic location, and given the relative strength of each roaming partner, to maximise its subscribers’ experience.

“We are confident in our ability to execute a multi-roaming partner strategy with minimal disruption,” Telkom stated.

Telkom Group CEO designate Serame Taukobong said that their approach was never to have an exclusive agreement with Vodacom.

Taukobong said that the agreement with MTN falls within Telkom’s expected ranges for roaming spend.

He also said that it would help reduce roaming costs, which would translate to Telkom’s EBITDA.

MyBroadband asked Telkom for more details on how it will save money by having two roaming partners rather than one, but it did not respond by the time of publication.

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