You may have heard over the past few weeks that iWayAfrica, the company that has 8 ISP operations in 40 countries including Zimbabwe, changed hands. From the hands of its former (mostly hands-off) owner Telkom SA to now a South African telecoms company called Gondwana Communications. According to the reports on the matter, the reason for the sale is the continued negative contribution to the Telkom Group. In short, loss making. We covered a bit of that particular problem when we reported on the 55k loss in the Zimbabwe operation last year in July.
On the question of price, which we are very interested in, it remains an undisclosed sum for now.
The Bigger question however, is Gondwana able to turn iWayAfrica around, and if they’ll managed to avoid whatever it is Telkom was doing wrong.
Who Gondwana is? So far its been left to speculation. From what we gather, they have some significant experience providing telecoms services on the continent already, largely offering consultancy and vendor service to operators in the region. Their clients include Telecom Namibia, Orange Botswana, Mweb SA and Cell C in South Africa. The solutions implemented are mostly fixed wireless solutions, which is iWay’s primary service.
This pretty much sets up Gondwana as a touch-the-ground-running owner. More of their technical experience and partnerships here.
But that’s not all Gondwana is. We also notice that the Gondwana Founder and CEO, Mathew Welthagen, is also in the executive team of a UK company called Bright Telecoms International. Bright Telecoms say on their about page that they provides solutions through “a consortium of internationally recognized technology and business partnerships” in a number of African markets already which include Zimbabwe, Ghana, Botswana, and we’re thinking, soon to be all the countries iWay has a presence: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and all those 40 countries the operator is in.
Those technical partner companies include Alvarion, Commscope, Gondwana itself and others.
Another important thing to note is that as part of their offering, Bright Telecoms also provides operators linkages to “leading financial institutions, International investment banks, Venture capitalists and high net worth individuals”; in short, they can raise the money to capitalise iWay if needed. With funding covered, and the technical & business development skills quite high (not forgetting the experience implementing and managing solutions in African markets already) requirements in order, it’s not far fetched to imagine iWay may have gotten a better owner.
Are you closer to this situation than we are? How do you see the fortunes of iWayAfrica turning onwards?