How Cell C will take on Vodacom and MTN

Blue Label Telecoms is buying a 45% stake in Cell C for R5.5 billion, which will make it the largest shareholder in the mobile operator.

Cell C has been struggling to compete against Vodacom and MTN since its launch in 2001, but the company has started to gain traction in recent years.

The turnaround started when former Vodacom CEO Alan Knott-Craig took the reins at Cell C, and continued under current CEO Jose dos Santos.

Blue Label Telecoms joint-CEO Brett Levy is upbeat about Cell C’s prospects, but said the company cannot operate in the same way as Vodacom and MTN.

“Cell C is not trying to be another Vodacom or MTN, where they can be everything to everybody. With a third network it is almost impossible,” said Levy.

He said there is an immense opportunity for Cell C to be “a lot to a few”. Cell C can, for example, specialise in an LTE network in urban areas and be the best option in those areas.

“You can focus on a certain number of consumers, and offer them a lot more than the other networks can do in specific areas,” said Levy.

“For Cell C is it about being very focussed, and being a lot to a few, rather than trying to be absolutely everything to the market.”

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How Cell C will take on Vodacom and MTN