Recent testing by MyBroadband has revealed disappearing airtime on Cell C’s network, even when you switch off mobile data.

For the disappearing airtime test, MyBroadband used a Nokia 5 smartphone that runs close to stock Android.

The smartphone was reset to its factory default and was then updated over Wi-Fi to ensure no minor updates happened during the test.

All future updates were then disabled, and we restricted data usage for all processes through the Android settings.

MyBroadband purchased a new Cell C SIM and placed it in the Nokia 5 smartphone. The SIM was then checked to be clear of WASP services.

R15 airtime was loaded on the SIM card. The phone was then plugged in and connected to a fast Wi-Fi network.

We switched off mobile data to ensure the device could not consume any airtime during the testing period.

No action was performed on the phone during the two week testing period, apart from checking the balance using a USSD code.

To ensure the test was fair and produce comparative results, MyBroadband also tested disappearing airtime on other networks.

The test results revealed that small amounts of airtime disappeared from the Cell C SIM over the two week testing period.

At the end of the two week testing period, the Cell C SIM only had R14.81 left. Most of the airtime was lost in the second week of testing.

The Telkom and MTN SIMs, in comparison, lost not airtime over the testing period. Both networks confirmed that no airtime should be lost in our testing environment.

Cell C confirmed that airtime was deducted from the SIM but could not explain why the airtime disappeared.

Cell C CTO Schalk Visser said their systems had logged valid chargeable usage, albeit at low levels, for the SIM used by Mybroadband for testing.

“We cannot comment on specific device behaviour or your test scenario, but we do understand that with mobile data disabled one would not expect a handset to consume data,” said Visser.

“We intend to carry out a similar test and undertake to communicate the results thereof with you.”

Test Results

The table below shows the results of MyBroadband’s disappearing airtime test. The Vodacom results will be released in a future article.

Network Starting Airtime Airtime after 1 week Airtime after 2 weeks
Cell C R15.00 R14.99 R14.81
MTN R15.00 R15.00 R15.00
Telkom R15.00 R15.00 R15.00

Now read: Cell C customers getting raw deal on network speeds


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