Cell C reveals its turnaround strategy

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Cell C has unveiled its latest turnaround plans in a bid to make the network provider viable once more. The company has been faced massive obstacles due to “a misguided business strategy, a recapitalisation in 2017 which burdened the business with unsustainable debt, poor decision making and bad governance”, according to Cell C CEO, Douglas Craigie Stevenson.

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Cell C CEO, Douglas Craigie Stevenson.

“Our turnaround strategy is focused on ensuring operational efficiencies, restructuring our balance sheet, implementing a revised network strategy and improving our overall liquidity.”

In order to turn Cell C around, Stevenson says there will be a renewed focus on operations, mainly:

  • The appointment of a new leadership team
  • The appointment of independent directors to the board
  • A hiring freeze
  • Removal of any and all products that aren’t profitable
  • A cost-efficiency programme

“The company is in a far better shape operationally, and by fixing the base, the business can go on to build and innovate which will create additional value.”


Stevenson also believes that “networks will be a utility in the future with one or two mobile infrastructure providers per country and it does not make economic sense to overbuild on basic infrastructure”.

“Against this background, in November 2019 Cell C negotiated an extended roaming agreement with MTN, which will enable the company to manage its network capacity requirements in a more scalable and cost-efficient manner. This will also provide access to current and future technologies.”

A tough year for Cell C

In early 2019, Cell C fell into some dangerous territory when debt, poor business performance and liquidity problems threatened to cripple the network provider.

Since his initial appointment in March, Stevenson has tried to ensure that there is adequate clarity and transparency within the company. “Our decision to reconfigure our product and services is part of putting the business on the right track,” says Stevenson. “We need to move forward based on a roadmap that is robust, profitable and in the best interests of Cell C and its customers.”

Edited by Jenna Delport

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