Telecommunications giant Telkom has signed a “multi-billion rand” deal with competitor Vodacom for it to roam on Vodacom’s vast network starting from June 2019.
The deal replaces Telkom’s current roaming agreement with MTN which is set to expire in 2019.
In Wednesday’s announcement, Telkom said the agreement with Vodacom covers 2G, 3G and 4G networks which will include the seamless handover between Telkom and Vodacom networks. The migration will start in June 2019.
Vodacom’s network covers an estimated 99.97% of South Africa’s population, with 80% covered by 4G.
“The facilities leasing agreement will allow Telkom to use Vodacom towers, antennas and shelters to build out its own network,” the announcement reads
Apart from newcomer rain, Telkom offers the country’s cheapest data prices at R99 a gigabyte, compared to Vodacom which charges a whopping R149 per gigabyte.
This means Telkom subscribers could next year technically use Vodacom’s vast network for much cheaper than Vodacom’s own clients.
However, Vodacom has indicated that it may lower its own prices.
“Apart from the commercial benefit, this partnership between the country’s fastest-growing networks will also result in reduced network deployment costs for Telkom and cost savings for Vodacom, ultimately contributing to the reduction of data prices in South Africa,” Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said in a statement.
Rain, which experienced teething problems at its launch in June, gives consumers 1 gigabyte of data at R50.