Econet Wireless owned fibre and satellite operator, Liquid Telecom, announced yesterday the acquisition of East African telecom assets from JSE listed Altech Group in a deal that will, according to the company, make it the largest terrestrial fibre operator on the continent. Altech will get an 8.6% stake in Liquid Telecom and 10% shareholder voting rights. In addition to the assets, Altech will however also subscribe a further US $16.5 million for the stake.
Reports on the deal explain Altech’s move to dispose of the East African assets as caused by continued challenges in the region in recent years. Altech, according to Tech Central, “says the businesses have been affected negatively by the depreciating value of certain East African currencies, by network instability and reliability issues, as well as the loss of big telecoms clients choosing to build their own networks instead of relying on third-party suppliers.”
Assets acquired by Liquid in the deal include Altech’s 61% stake in Kenya Data Networks (KDN). KDN, operates the largest data and Internet backbone in East Africa via Microwave Radio, terrestrial fibre and Satellite providing wholesale infrastructure to the region.
Effectively Liquid now operates a fibre network spanning 9 countries; Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia, DRC, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.