A lot has happened in the Vumatel camp in recent weeks, including its acquisition by CIVH.
CIVH has acquired 34.9% of Vumatel for an undisclosed amount, and entered into an agreement to acquire the remaining 65.1% of the business.
In the build-up to the deal, Vumatel announced that Dietlof Mare had joined the company as its new CEO – replacing Niel Schoeman.
Schoeman moved into the role of executive chairman, allowing him to stay involved in the company while spending more time on “pioneering and transformational projects”.
Mare has 14 years of telecommunications experience, and previously held CEO positions for Vodafone in the DRC, Tanzania, and Albania.
“He has a good understanding of emerging markets and is excited to guide Vumatel through its next phase of growth as the company matures,” said Vumatel of Mare’s appointment.
To find out what attracted Mare to the position, and what he has planned for Vumatel, MyBroadband spoke to the new CEO.
Mare said that after being involved in Vodacom “from the early days”, Vumatel reminded him of that type of startup environment.
“Vumatel is a young, dynamic, energetic company at the forefront of the FTTH industry. Vumatel pioneered fibre-to-the-home in South Africa, has grown significantly over the past few years, and continues to lead the industry,” said Mare.
“I wanted to join this dynamic company at the cusp of its growth into a company to be reckoned with in the South African telecommunications landscape. It is a very exciting opportunity to lead a burgeoning company at this early stage.”
The growth of Vumatel, and its fibre network, is one of Mare’s focus points, and he said they will continue to expand their network over the coming years.
He also intends to keep service levels high, he said.
“We have identified customer support as an area requiring focus and intervention, and we are running several projects to ensure that this improves drastically.”
Working with Schoeman
With Schoeman having run Vumatel for several years, and overseeing it becoming a local fibre powerhouse, Mare said he and the former CEO will work closely together to ensure a smooth transition into their new roles.
“Thereafter, [Schoeman] will still be involved, but at a higher level, so that he can focus on leveraging the fibre network to build smarter, safer cities,” said Mare.
“This allows Niel to step up and focus on key fundamental initiatives for South Africa, like VumaCam, connecting schools to free abundant Internet access, and taking affordable fibre Internet to townships.”
“We will work quite closely in his efforts to leverage the Vumatel network, however, I will focus on refining the processes at Vumatel to ensure that the network and business are run as best as possible.”
Mare added that the local fibre scene is becoming more competitive, and that players like Vumatel are “laying the veins and arteries for the smart cities of the future”.
“When we look back in 10 years, I think we will be astounded to see the fundamental transformation that fibre broadband will have had on South Africa and how it will have helped the country leap forward in global competitiveness.”