Cell C growth numbers revealed
Operator’s net subscriber additions in September were higher than its gross additions in the same month a year ago. By Duncan McLeod.
Cell C added 782 407 customers on a gross basis in September, a sharp increase over the about 700 000 gross additions it notched up in August.
Although the gross numbers don’t take subscriber churn into account, CEO Alan Knott-Craig says churn numbers are coming down and that net additions — the number of people joining Cell C subtracted by the number leaving — have shown strong growth.
He won’t reveal the exact number, but says net additions in September were higher than gross additions were in the same month in 2011.
“The churn is still sky high, but at least its coming down and quite nicely,” Knott-Craig tells TechCentral. “We’re getting rid of the rubbish — just because we have a customer number doesn’t mean there’s a human being behind it. Those are washing out the system.”
The subscriber numbers suggest Cell C’s move to reduce and simplify its tariffs is paying dividends. The operator now charges a flat 99c/minute on per-second billing across most of its products. It has also aggressively cut the cost of international calling to many of the world’s major markets.
Knott-Craig says his primary focus now is on reducing churn. He also wants to grow the post-paid base, where Cell C has about 500 000 customers. The cuts to international call prices and the operator’s recent deal with Discovery Vitality form part of a plan to steal high-spending customers from rivals MTN and Vodacom, he says.
“When I was at Vodacom, we always had to be careful about what deals we did to avoid cannibalising the base,” he says. “There are big companies like Discovery that want to get in the game and can’t do so with MTN and Vodacom but can get into the game through us. We’re happy to oblige as long as both sides make money.” — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media