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Emergency Airtime

Need airtime or data in a hurry? Get it right now, and pay it back when you next recharge (available for TopUp and Prepaid customers).

Emergency Recharge is now available via online self-service and in the Cell C App for Android and iOS.

What is Emergency Airtime?

Emergency Airtime allows Cell C customers to get access to airtime immediately and pay for it later. Use the Emergency Airtime to make calls, send SMSs, use data or purchase a bundle.

What is Auto Topup?

Auto TopUp is a feature that offers authorised customers the ability to have their airtime automatically recharged with Emergency Airtime when their balance reaches R2 or lower.

It's really simple

There are three ways to get Emergency Airtime:

How much does it cost?

You pay for the airtime value which you have selected plus a R1.10 Access Fee per transaction.

What is Emergency Airtime?

  • Emergency Airtime is a service available to a customer who has run out of Cell C airtime and/or data. They can use the service to obtain Emergency Airtime which allows them to continue making calls, sending SMS, connecting to the Internet or buying data / voice or SMS bundles.
  • Only certain airtime values/denominations are available through this service.
  • If the customer has opted-in to the Auto TopUp Service and their airtime balance (paid for airtime that the customer has recharged with) reaches R2 or lower, their account will automatically be recharged with the amount they have selected (when they opted-in) or the next lower authorised denomination. To opt-out of Auto TopUp customers can dial *147# and follow the prompts.

What are the benefits of using Emergency Airtime?

  • You can stay connected and continue making calls, connecting to the Internet, sending SMS’s or buying a bundle when you are unable to recharge or buy more airtime.

Who is this service available to?

Emergency Airtime and Auto TopUp is available to all Prepaid and TopUp customers who;

  • Have been on the Cell C Network for a minimum period of 30 days prior to the date of request for Emergency Airtime.
  • Have recharged with at least R10 (ten Rand) every 30 days.

How do I get to access to Emergency Airtime?

How do I activate Emergency Airtime TopUp?

Dial *147# and select Emergency Recharge and then follow the menu prompts to opt-in for Auto TopUp. Then select the set amount you would like to be credited with, when your balance reaches R2 or lower.

How do I check my airtime balance?

  • Simply dial *101# or dial *147# and select option 3 for a detailed balance enquiry
  • Download and make use of the Cell C App
  • Login onto Self Service on our Cell C website to get your balance.

How do I pay for the Emergency Airtime transaction?

  • You pay for the Emergency Airtime and Access Fee when you recharge your account. At this time Cell C will deduct the Emergency Airtime outstanding balance as well as the Access Fee. (A flat access fee of R1.10 (one rand and ten cents) will be charged by Cell C per Emergency Airtime transaction and Emergency Auto TopUp transaction when use of the Service is subscribed for or triggered, as applicable).

If I have multiple transactions, in what order are they repaid when I recharge?

  • When you recharge, the oldest outstanding balance (that is the one you took out first) will be repaid.
  • For example, if you take R10 Emergency Airtime on the 1st of June and then take out 100MB (R29) Emergency Data on the 2nd of June and recharge of R10 on the 4th of June, the R10 airtime will be used to repay the R10 Emergency Airtime transaction.

How many times can I apply for Emergency Airtime?

  • There is no limit to the amount of times you can request an Emergency Airtime transaction.
  • You will be permitted to make multiple Emergency Airtime transactions up to the maximum amount that you are authorised for. Once you use the full value that you are authorised for, you will need to recharge with airtime in order to access Emergency Airtime again.

What services can I use with Emergency Airtime?

  • Emergency Airtime can be used for any service on the Cell C Network in South Africa but cannot be used for any premium rated content or services.

What happens if I recharge with less than what I owe on my Emergency Airtime balance?

  • If you recharge with less than the total amount that you owe, the value of your recharge will be deducted from your balance owing. In this case, you won't have any available airtime from your recharge.

You recharge with airtime but you don't have any airtime? Why?

  • The value of your recharge was taken towards the payment of the Emergency Airtime balance.
  • Since you have repaid part of your balance you can dial *147# and you can take additional Emergency Airtime.

When I receive Emergency Airtime, do I get UltraBonus, MegaBonus or SUPACHARGE benefits?

  • No. The recharge benefits for these plans is not applicable.

Can I contact the call centre to ask an agent to request an Emergency Airtime transaction on my behalf?

How do I get higher Emergency Airtime values/denominations than what the USSD menu is showing me?

  • You are only shown the values/denominations that are available on Emergency Airtime and those that you qualify for, based on your individual recharge and repayment history.
  • If you increase the value of your recharges over time you will be in a position to get higher Emergency Airtime values/denominations.

Can I get an Emergency Airtime and Emergency Data advance at the same time?

Yes. You may take out multiple Emergency Airtime advances as well as multiple Emergency Data advances at the same time, if you are authorised.

Emergency Airtime and Auto TopUp Terms and Conditions

  2. All standard Terms and Conditions of Cell C Limited and Cell C Service Provider Company Proprietary Limited apply to the Service.
  3. All prices and usage rates advertised include VAT, unless otherwise stated.
  4. The Service is available to Cell C Prepaid and TopUp customers who have recharged with at least R10 (ten Rand) every 30 days and who have been active on the Cell C network for 30 (thirty) days or more.
  5. A customer, who has run out of Cell C airtime, can use the Service to obtain Emergency Airtime.
  6. Only certain airtime values/denominations are available through the Service.
  7. Customers will be presented with the airtime denominations that they are authorised to receive, based on their recharge and Emergency Recharge repayment behaviour.
  8. A flat fee for the Service (the "Access Fee") of R1.10 (one rand and ten cents) will be charged by Cell C for each Emergency Airtime transaction. The Access Fee covers a combination of the third party, bearer, arranging, operating, maintenance, software and/or hardware costs that are required for the provision of the Service. Cell C recovers the Access Fee for and on behalf of a service provider known as Airvantage Proprietary Limited (“Airvantage”).
  9. In order to provide the Service to you, you acknowledge and give consent for Cell C to provide your information to Airvantage who will process your personal information in order to assess your repayment behaviour and provide you with authorised airtime denominations. Please ensure that you read and understand Airvantage's privacy policy, which can be found at: .
    1. This information is also required to enhance the modelling algorithm which is used to pre-authorise customers for emergency recharges.
    2. For purposes of clarity, your personal information is used to determine whether you are authorised for an advance and the amount that you can get. In this regard, the following personal information will be processed by Airvantage, details of
      1. Sim Swaps
      2. Recharges
      3. Usage of Data, Voice and SMS services
      4. Repayment of Emergency Recharges to Airvantage
      5. Most frequent location
  10. The total amount payable by the customer will be the Access Fee together with the amount of airtime that has been provided to the customer (the “Total Value ”). The customer will be liable to pay the Total Value. When the customer recharges, the Total Value must be paid.
    1. For example, if a customer uses the Service and is provided with R5.00 airtime, the customer will be liable to pay R5.00 (airtime amount) plus R1.10 (Access Fee) which equals R6.10 (Total Value to be paid).
  11. Where a customer selects the “Max” option the airtime is delivered in R10 units and an access fee of R1.10 per R10 unit delivered is applicable.
  12. Should the customer recharge with a lower denomination than that of the total Emergency Airtime balance, the full amount of the recharge will be deducted and offset against the balance until the full balance has been paid.
  13. A customer will be allowed to have more than 1 (one) advance at the same time but only up to the maximum amount which they are authorised to receive, and may use the Service again once a portion of their outstanding balance has been repaid.  
  14. Customers that have not yet repaid to Cell C the total outstanding Emergency Airtime balance and who wish to migrate to a postpaid package will be required to first settle their outstanding Emergency Airtime balance before they are able to migrate.
  15. The customer can pay for the Service (i.e. the Total Value) by loading Cell C airtime.
  16. The airtime provided with the Service can be used to make voice calls, send SMSs and MMSs and/or use Data, but cannot be used for any premium rated content or services.
  17. No recharge bonuses or promotions will be provided to the customer in terms of the service. In other words, products and promotions like UltraBonus, MegaBonus or SUPACHARGE will not be applicable to the airtime provided to the customer. 
  18. Emergency Airtime Auto TopUp Service

  19. All standard Emergency Airtime Terms and Conditions are applicable to the Auto TopUp Service.
  20. Customers must opt-in to the Auto TopUp Service and may opt-out of the Auto TopUp Service at any time. Customers can opt out using the USSD / App or Cell C portal channel.
  21. If the customer has opted-in to the Auto TopUp Service and their airtime balance (paid for airtime) reaches R2 or lower, their account will automatically be recharged with the amount they have selected at the opt-in stage or the next lower denomination.
    Customers must have at least R0.05 (5 cents) in their prepaid airtime balance to enable the Emergency Airtime Auto TopUp functionality.
  22. General

  23. Cell C and Airvantage may amend, modify or otherwise change these terms and conditions in their sole and absolute discretion on notice to you and the amended version will be displayed in the same media as these terms and conditions. Cell C will notify you before Cell C amends or otherwise changes the terms and conditions. By continuing to participate in and/or purchase either of the Service, you agree and understand that you will be bound by the amended terms and conditions.
  24. Cell C, Airvantage and/or any of their agents, directors, affiliates, members or employees shall not be responsible in any way for claims, loss or damages (either direct, indirect, consequential or otherwise), arising from customers' use of the Services. Cell C shall not be held liable in the event that, for any reason whatsoever, the Emergency Airtime or Auto TopUp Services are not available or you experience any technical issues arising from your use of these Services.
  25. Cell C and Airvantage has the right to withdraw, or shorten the duration of either of the Services, or amend the Access Fee in its sole discretion and absolute discretion and will notify customers if it chooses to do so. Customers will not have a claim against Cell C and/or Airvantage in this event.