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The cost of cancelling

If you, like many South Africans, are looking to cancel your cellphone contract before it expires, you may be left having to foot the bill for a hefty “cancellation fee”.

Last week, Tariffic released its latest “Tariffic Perfect Package Tracker” which focused on the topic of contract cancellation fees (also known as “termination fees”).  In response to a number of queries that the company received, Tariffic has published the calculations that it used to determine the cancellation fees in its analysis.

How much will I pay to cancel my contract?

The amount that you’ll pay to cancel your cellphone contract before it expires is based on numerous factors and varies from service provider to service provider.  These calculations can be found below.


The above calculations were obtained by reverse engineering actual “cancellation quotes” received and contacting the service providers in the case of any discrepancies.

So, how do I actually go about cancelling my contract?

  • Vodacom
    • Dial 082 111 and follow the prompts for Contract Queries then Cancellations.
  • MTN
    • Email and request a pre-cancellation quote.  They will contact you within 2 – 7 working days to take this forward.
  • Cell C
    • Dial 084 143 and select option 2 which goes to the cancellation department.
  • Telkom
    • Dial 081 180 and ask an operator for a cancellation quote.

For all service providers you will first receive a Cancellation Quote before any charges are implemented.  If you choose to go ahead with the cancellation, you will have to make the payment for the cancellation fee, via EFT, and send proof of payment to your service provider.

What else should I be aware of?

  • As part of this exercise, Tariffic obtained “cancellation quotes” for a number of actual contracts.  In most cases, these quotes were able to be reconciled to the calculations listed above but in one case, the quote received from Telkom was incorrect (as the calculation varied from Telkom’s official stance on the topic).  The lesson here is to be careful and double-check any cancellation quotes you may receive.
  • If you do an “early upgrade” with Vodacom, then you will be able to pay less for your phone as part of an early cancellation.  For example, if you upgraded 2 months before your previous contract expired, you will only have to pay a total of 22 months for your phone, and so if you cancel your contract at any stage, this figure will be pro-rated accordingly.
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