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South Africa's Cell C advances on its sustainability strategy

South Africa's Cell C advances on its sustainability strategy

South African mobile network operator Cell C has offered interim chief executive officer Douglas Craigie Stevenson the position of full time CEO.

Craigie Stevenson joined Cell C in October 2017, post the Blue Label recapitalisation, in the position of chief operating officer. He was responsible for the critical operational divisions of the business including; property and procurement; technical operations, which comprises network operations and IT; and the regional retail operations.

He has served as interim chief executive officer since March 2019.

In its announcement, Cell C describes him as an accomplished telecommunications executive with over 20 years' experience "...having served in various senior positions across Africa, including South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique. He is well versed in challenging markets and implementation at various organisational levels, with a strong focus on strategic leadership and performance."

Prior to joining Cell C, Craigie Stevenson was chief executive officer of Telekom Networks Malawi Plc, where he was instrumental in the launch of its 4.5G network.

Previous positions include chief executive officer of Telekom Networks Malawi plc, managing director: Vodacom Business Africa Group, and chief financial officer: Business Africa Group/ Enterprise Business Partner Vodacom South Africa, financial director: Vodacom Mozambique and commercial director and financial director at Vodacom Tanzania.

He holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of the Free State as well as a Bachelor of Accounting Science (Honours) from UNISA.

Kuben Pillay, Chairman of the Cell C Board says, "In the past five months, Douglas and his team has led the company to improved financial stability, sound business ethics and good governance, better operational performance and has established a path to sustainability. His permanent appointment was unanimously approved by the board and we are fully behind his efforts to lead Cell C."

MTN roaming agreement

At the same time news broke of Craigie Stevenson's appointment, Cell C also announced that it has finalised a term sheet detailing a further national roaming agreement with MTN.

Craigie Stevenson said: "This agreement lays the groundwork for a broader national roaming agreement, supporting the policy goals of avoiding network duplication and the burden on the environment, where shared infrastructure drives efficiencies in the delivery of services to consumers."

Under the terms of the agreement, Cell C will be able to manage its network capacity requirements in a more scalable and cost-efficient manner.

In November last year, the two operators concluded the implementation of a national roaming agreement which saw MTN providing 3G and 4G /LTE services to Cell C in areas where the mobile network operator has chosen to purchase coverage rather than self-build. This means that Cell C customers outside the urban centres currently roam on MTN's 3G and 4G/LTE networks.

Led by Craigie Stevenson, the new Cell C management team have been actively pursuing the business priorities of recapitalising the business, managing value from the original roaming agreement with MTN, and optimising the revenue and usage from the network.

"We believe that this agreement brings us closer to strategically positioning Cell C to be a strong participant in the industry and establishes a path towards sustainability," says Craigie Stevenson. "Execution will ensure that Cell C remains a sustainable and competitive player with improved network access and quality."

Craigie Stevenson adds that this agreement also lays the foundation for Cell C for a quicker, more efficient and more cost-effective means to roll-out future technologies, while ensuring the legacy services like 3G and 2G are suitably rationalised.

The company added that it has secured additional funding and the Buffet recapitalisation is also on track.


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