Decided to start using a South African carrier named Cell C and signed a postpaid SIM contract or bought their prepaid SIM card? Well, until it’s activated, you can’t do anything a SIM card is used for. There might be a small change ahead as well, seeing as how Cell C started migrating a million out of 16 million customers to Vodacom in early 2021. Still, the process will most likely last for a year, and new users are signing up meanwhile. Also, the steps might remain almost identical afterward, since it’s hard to re-educate long-time Cell C users. We’ll make updates when they become available, rest assured. Let’s get into how to activate Cell C SIM card.
Instructions to activate Cell C SIM card automatically
To clarify, there’s still a little work involved. With that said, follow these steps to activate Cell C Sim Card via OTA (over-the-air) settings:
- Insert the SIM card into the phone and turn the phone on.
- Got prompted for a PIN? Enter the default Cell C SIM card PIN – 1234.
- If the SIM card wasn’t locked, you’ll be taken to the home screen, but you won’t have service.
Now, there are 4 ways to activate a SIM card sold by Cell C:
1. Use Cell C USSD code
Dial *147# on your mobile phone. Select option 8. When prompted, save settings for calls, SMS/MMS, GPRS, and the Internet.
2. Call Cell C SIM card call center
Dial 135 from another Cell C phone number (free of charge) or 084 135 from any mobile or landline phone (standard rates apply). You can choose to have settings forwarded to your phone by selecting Support, then GPRS/MMS Settings. You might be asked for a phone number and ICCID if they can’t detect it. For that, we wrote a guide to find a phone number. For ICCID, follow the steps under the headline How to check whether the smartphone uses CDMA in our CDMA SIM card.
Tip: If that fails, you’ll get an offer to be redirected to a real-life Cell C customer representative. Heads up – the steps they provide will be identical to the manual ones we list below. You might as well skip on waiting in the queue.
3. Configure mobile network searching to automatic
If you identify your SIM card phone carrier via Android/iOS software, in most cases, settings will be discovered and downloaded automatically. We outlined the steps for both Android and iOS in our article about unlocking a SIM card. Scroll down to the headline titled Steps to enable the SIM card.
4. Install the official Cell C app
Steps to activate Cell C SIM card manually
First, we’ll show you how to enable MMS, then get into activating mobile data and GPRS.
1. Setting up MMS
Here’s how manual Cell C SIM card activation works:
Enabling Cell C MMS on Android 10 works like this:
- Tap on Settings.
- Tap on Network & Internet.
- Select Mobile network.
- If you use a dual SIM, switch over to the correct SIM card.
- You might have to expand options by tapping on Advanced.
- Select Access Point Names.
- Tap on + in the top right corner.
- For Name, put Cell C MMS.
- As APN and APN Type, type/select MMS.
- Leave username and password fields empty.
- As MMSC, type http://MMS.cmobile.co.za
- For Proxy, type 220.127.116.11.
- For Port, type 8080.
- Save the changes.
To configure Cell C MMS on iPhone, do this:
- Tap on Settings.
- Scroll down and tap on General, then Network.
- Tap on Cellular Data Network.
- Tap on the APN field under MMS, and type Cell C MMS.
- The username and password should be left blank.
- Enter //MMS.cmobile.co.za into the MMSC field.
If that isn’t accepted, type http://MMS.cmobile.co.za instead.
- Enter 196.031.116.250:8080 as MMS Proxy.
- For MMS Max Message Size, type: 307200.
- Leave the MMS UA Prof IRL field empty.
- Save settings.
You won’t have to do as much for the Internet or GPRS as you had to do for MMS. The steps are identical for getting to Access Point Names. All you have to do is set a Name (Cell C Internet) and type or select ‘Internet’ as APN/APN Type on both Android and iOS. Leave the username and password fields blank, too.
What to do if you’re switching to Cell C but keeping the number
Cell C, like many carriers, allows you to switch your network to theirs without losing your phone number. Here are the steps required for no-contract and contract phone numbers.
- Don’t insert the SIM card yet. Take a look at the phone number printed on the full-size SIM card or the mini-SIM card.
- The carrier calls the registration process RICA, after a South African communications law. In this case, your phone number is also the RICA serial number.
- Text your RICA serial number to 084 767 8287 from the phone number you want to switch from.
- Wait 24 hours before removing the old SIM card and inserting a Cell C SIM card. This is mandatory. A Cell C SIM card will be treated as a new number if it’s been less than 24 hours.
Because a contract must be analyzed, and you need to sign a new one, this is done in person. Before you do that, you must submit an online application to Cell C like this:
- VIsit Cell C Switch to Contract page.
- Enter your full name, active mobile number, and e-mail address.
- Accept the ToS by clicking on the empty box and click on Submit.
- You’ll be contacted by Cell C shortly.