ECONET Wireless Global’s Liquid Telecom has accelerated its pan-African growth ambitions after it acquired the assets of Rwandatel, Rwanda’s fixed telecommunications network operator.
In a statement, Econet Wireless said the deal includes Rwandatel’s customer base, copper, fibre and wireless networks, but excludes most of the land (which remains Rwandatel property).
Liquid Telecom is the leading wholesale carrier in Africa. It has built Africa’s largest fibre network, which runs from the north of Uganda to Cape Town.
In total, its award-winning pan-African fibre network spans over 13 000km across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho and South Africa.
Liquid’s fibre network is the first to cross country borders and covers Africa’s fastest-growing economies where no fixed network has existed before.
Liquid Telecom Group chief executive Mr Nic Rudnick said hailed the investment in Rwanda, which he said was attractive to FDI.
“Liquid Telecom is expanding rapidly and this is an important and strategic investment. Rwanda is an outstanding Foreign Direct Investment destination and we are very confident in the country’s economic future and growth prospects,” Mr Rudnick said.
This transaction comes four months after Liquid Telecom acquired the East African assets of Altech Group (JSE code: ALT) including a controlling interest in Kenya Data Networks.
The South African-registered firm Altech announced that it had embarked on a realignment of its East Africa interests by redirecting its networking business into a strategic partnership with Liquid.
Liquid Telecom is a highly successful independent telecommunications group providing diverse telecommunications and data services within Central and Southern Africa.
Altech will contribute its East African network assets and has subscribed US$17 million in cash for an initial 8,6 percent equity stake in Liquid with shareholder voting rights of 10 percent as well as the potential to further increase its shareholding in Liquid in the future.
“Our priority is to quickly rehabilitate Rwandatel’s core network and to build out the access network in order to serve Rwanda’s people and businesses with the most reliable, high speed, and affordable telecommunications.
“Customers can be assured of service continuity, new products and value added services along with improvements in network availability and performance,” said Liquid Telecom Rwanda chairman Mr Sam Nkusi.
“Liquid Telecom Rwanda will now contribute to Rwanda’s ICT4D and Agaciro vision by providing true broadband services with comparable data speeds to anywhere in the developed world,” he said.
Work on network improvements and expansion is expected to start within weeks, as Econet Wireless continues on its growth targets.