Andreas Neocleous, CEO, CYTA

Andreas Neocleous, CEO, Cyta

In the dynamic landscape of Cyprus’ telecommunications, Cyta (Cyprus Telecommunications Authority) stands out not just as a service provider, but as an institution interwoven with the nation’s progress. Since its inception in 1961, it has been at the forefront of connecting people and businesses both within and beyond the island’s shores. Cyta’s dominance in fixed-line mobile communications and Internet access has been pivotal in Cyprus’ digital transformation. 


At the core of Cyta’s pioneering spirit is Andreas Neocleous, a seasoned veteran with a tenure spanning 19 years in telecoms. His deep roots in the field, underpinned by a PhD in electrical engineering, have seen him transition from technical expertise to visionary leadership with a comprehensive understanding of the commercial landscape of telecommunications. 


Leadership philosophy and management 

Cyta is state-owned and Cyprus’ incumbent telecommunications provider, giving it an entrenched advantage that has allowed the company to become number one in every area of the sector, including international connectivity services and widespread premium content.  


At the helm, Neocleous has demonstrated a unique leadership philosophy, adapting a historically bureaucratic organization into a competitive, customer-centric powerhouse. “You have to manage with a carrot and a stick,” he states, acknowledging the challenges of incentivizing a workforce in a semi-governmental setup. 


Despite these challenges, he has spearheaded a transformation program, instilling a private-sector ethos within Cyta’s operations and driving the company to act with the agility and efficiency of its private competitors. “Because we are a state-owned company, many have a job for life and there are fewer commercial pressures. The first thing we did was to become more target-driven, and we have been growing in revenue and profitability. After all, our core reason to exist is to make money.” 


Coming in and borrowing from the private sector by implementing a performance management system and fostering a culture of accountability, Neocleous has moved Cyta beyond mere profitability. He has taken it upon himself to inspire and lead by example, guiding Cyta towards a future where innovation and adaptability are not just goals but daily standards. 


In this leadership, Neocleous’ tenure has been characterized by an acute understanding of the intricate balance between technical, financial, and commercial aspects. His engineering acumen, coupled with valuable financial insights gained from his time at Goldman Sachs and competitor MTN (now EPIC), enables him to synthesise disparate elements into a coherent strategy. “I have to put these components together like a puzzle to get the big picture,” Neocleous explains, highlighting his holistic approach to steering Cyta’s course through the telecom landscape. 


Technological advancements and initiatives: A strategic outlook 

Over the coming years, Neocleous will be focusing his efforts on improving the company’s technology and services.  

A core tenant of this has been Cyta’s “aggressive” 5G rollout plan.  

“We want to use 5G in the coming years to also help offer new digital services,” he states, underlining CYTA’s ambition to not just implement technology but to harness it to drive service innovation. The plan is set to provide every area of Cyprus—including remote rural ones—with access to broadband speeds exceeding one gigabit per second, a transformative move for an entire nation. 


The expansion of mobile broadband with 5G services exemplifies Cyta’s dedication to technological excellence, with Neocleous leading Cyta to become in December 2021 the first operator to launch 5G in Cyprus, covering 80 percent of the population—a figure that reached full coverage by May 2022. “This means Cyprus is a leader in the whole of the EU in terms of 5G coverage,” Neocleous says with a sense of pride, a testament to his forward-thinking strategy. 


Neocleous’ vision goes beyond Cyprus’ shores. The other big plans are investing in an international green data centre. “ Cyprus is situated at a strategic geographical crossroad, where interactions among neighbouring countries are often marked by tension. In contrast, Cyprus, with its consistently positive influence, actively fosters cooperation, underscoring Cyta’s ability to serve everyone,” he believes 


These strategic moves are set to elevate Cyprus as a regional digital service hub, allowing it to compete—and cooperate—with global giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon. “Our infrastructure is going to be our main asset,” he shares, highlighting the long-term significance of these infrastructural improvements. 


Competitive edge, corporate responsibility, and innovative partnerships 

The foresight of Neocleous in leading Cyta is not just limited to technological deployment but is characterized by a commitment to pervasive, high-quality connectivity and a strong sense of corporate responsibility. “We believe we are giving back to the country,” he asserts, emphasizing that Cyta’s role goes beyond providing services—it’s about contributing positively to the fabric of Cypriot society. This ethos of social contribution is coupled with a strategic approach to partnerships. 


“We play long-term games with long-term people,” Neocleous says, signalling that Cyta’s collaborations with giants like Ericsson, Huawei, Microsoft and Apple are built on the foundation of mutual growth and respect. “We look for win-win relationships and are not trying to squeeze our partners in terms of financial or technical capabilities,” he adds. 


Deep connections enable Cyta to remain at the forefront of innovation, meticulously selecting which vendor’s innovations to adopt, understanding that saying ‘no’ is as important as saying ‘yes’ when it comes to maintaining a leading edge in the fast-evolving tech landscape. 


The future for Neocleous, Cyta and Cyprus is clear and compelling: “Cyprus cannot be a passive bystander in the digital age. We have big potential.” As one of the largest companies on the island, Cyta is uniquely positioned to propel Cyprus into a new era of digital empowerment, supporting local businesses, the broader state, and its citizens. With this ethos, Cyta under Neocleous is not just a telecom provider but a pivotal force in shaping the country’s digital destiny. 


As Cyta progresses, it carries the torch for Cyprus’ active participation in the global digital community. Neocleous’ stewardship ensures that Cyta will continue to be a conduit for innovation, bridging the gap between tradition and technology and fostering a future where the island nation is not just connected but leading at the digital frontier. 

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