Wireless

Cell C appoints Craigie Stevenson CEO, extends MTN roaming deal

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Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson.
Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson.

Cell C has appointed Douglas Craigie Stevenson as chief executive officer, effective immediately.

The mobile operator this afternoon also announced it has finalised a term sheet detailing a further national roaming agreement with MTN, which is mutually beneficial to both parties.

Craigie Stevenson was appointed as interim CEO in March after the departure of Jose Dos Santos.

Kuben Pillay, chairman of the Cell C board, says: “In the past five months, Douglas and his team have 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.”

Craigie Stevenson joined Cell C in October 2017, post the Blue Label Telecoms 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 comprise network operations and IT; and the regional retail operations.

Cell C says he is an accomplished telecommunications executive with more than 20 years of experience, having served in various senior positions across Africa, including SA, 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, the company adds.

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

Other previous positions include managing director: Vodacom Business Africa Group; chief financial officer: Business Africa Group/enterprise business partner Vodacom SA; 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.

When he was interim CEO last month, Craigie Stevenson wrote an open letter outlining the company’s challenges.

In the letter, he said there is an acknowledgement that the company faces, and continues to face, financial and other challenges.

Roaming partnership

Meanwhile, Cell C has extended its roaming deal with MTN.

“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,” says Craigie Stevenson.

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.

“This is in line with our commitment to launch a business model that drives efficiency throughout the business,” says Craigie Stevenson.

In November last year, the two operators concluded the implementation of a national roaming agreement, which saw MTN provide 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 Cell C customers outside the urban centres currently roam on MTN’s 3G and 4G/LTE networks.

Cell C says, led by Craigie Stevenson, the new Cell C management team has 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 this agreement brings us closer to strategically positioning Cell C to be a strong participant in the industry and establishes a path towards sustainability,” Craigie Stevenson points out.

“Execution will ensure Cell C remains a sustainable and competitive player with improved network access and quality.”

Craigie Stevenson notes 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 legacy services like 3G and 2G are suitably rationalised.

Overall, he says, customers are set to benefit as Cell C provides consumers with innovative and reasonably priced products, based on the latest technologies available.

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

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