Liquid Telecom enters into partnership with MTN

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

Liquid Telecom, the Pan- African Telecoms infrastructure company has entered into a partnership with another African telecoms giant, MTN. This is part of an arrangement meant to ensure that the customers for both companies benefit from a wide fixed and wireless footprint.

According to a statement released by the Liquid Telecom group, the deal focuses on wholesale, carrier-to-carrier, high speed broadband, enterprise and fixed data services, while enabling MTN and Liquid Telecom access to each other’s fixed and wireless networks in countries on the African continent, where one party may not currently have presence.

Looking at the geographical reach of Liquid Telecom, this new arrangement provides the Telecom company with access to the West African market. Liquid Telecom has previously displayed its aptitude in telecoms infrastructure through a huge focus on Eastern, Central and Southern African markets.

This is huge win for Liquid Telecom, largely because of the huge market that West Africa presents because of Nigeria. Overal, Liquid Telecom gets to buy into 12 new markets, namely Benin, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan and Swaziland.

For MTN, this deal represents a wider Enterprise Services market, something that Liquid has managed to set up in various geographical markets. New areas, where MTN will be establishing business will be in Burundi, DRC, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Liquid Telcom has been aggressive on the enterprise front lately, with the introduction of services like Liquid VoIP and CrashPlan for Africa. This could explain the reach for new markets, but there’s a bit of a haze on how Liquid could be partnering with MTN Business, another enterprise-focused company in markets where MTN is firmly established already.

There’s also the opportunity for investment in enterprise services that Liquid’s local mobile network partner, Econet Wireless, appears to have missed out from all of this. In a telecoms environment where revenue streams should be explored, an entry by MTN in Zimbabwe or Burundi leaves Econet out of that discussion.

You can get the full details in the press release below.

MTN and Liquid Telecom Partnership Press Release


  1. macd chip

    I first thought does it really matter, Econet owns large party of Liquid Tel. But this doesnt look to be the case.

    Im struggling to find clear ownership of Liquid Tel. It seems to be based in Mauritius owned by a holding company.

    Any infor on this please..

    I think Econet is not going to loose sleep over this as they never showed interest in such deal.
    However NetOne is the one to worry

    1. iRobot

      This has nothiing to do with Econet Wireless. MTN and Liquid have basically established Network to Network Interconnect and have cemented their relationship by signing a Partnership Agreement. A lot of ISPs across Africa have these Interconnects to exchange business albeit they are normally done quietly. The talking here I guess is the sheer size of the 2 businesses and what sort of market the 2 will have access to virtually over-night!

      1. macd chip

        That was going to be my next question to say how is this related to EW

        1. iRobot

          To put it simply the GSM arms of Econet and MTN have not partnered but it is the Enterprise or Business facing sides which interconnected.

  2. Techie

    Liquid Telecoms the international group is owned by Econet Wireless Limited, which is the international arm of Econet which in turn owns Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. The Liquid Telecoms holding company in incorporated in Mauritius. Liquid has a number of subsidiaries which include Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe. So there is no direct link between Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and Liquid Telecom here in Zimbabwe except ultimately being owned by the same parent company. Also important to note that Liquid Telecoms entered the Zimbabwean market by buying the majority shareholding in Ecoweb which was a wholly owned subsidiary of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.

  3. Alex

    know this is unrelated to this article but I must say that Beitbridge is rather neglected in terms of everything by all mobile operators. I don’t know much about tech but I think everything is whack about all the network boosters out to all mobile operators don’t be surprised when we move to SA mobile networks for data services because FYI they are way more faster than any service provider in Zim and they offer much better promotions

  4. Tapiwa✓

    Very interesting considering that MTN Nigeria competes with AirTel (which Econet owns 5% of).

    You mau know Bharti Airatel (Formerly Zain, and before that Econet Nigeria) had a bruising, years-long legal conflict over the 5% shareholding. I’m sure it’s just business.

    1. macd chip

      Tapiwa, this is core network to core network sharing not air time or voice call selling.

      1. Tapiwa✔

        Tapiwa, this is core network to core network sharing not air time or voice call selling.
        I am fully aware of that. However, I do find it curious that Liquid is partnering with a competitor to a ‘sibling’ company (considering common shareholding).

        1. macd chip

          You might think that but even Econet relies on Liquid Tel for fibre installation which Econet use for its backbone network interlinking base stations, Zol, stores, business etc.

          From a business point of view, lets say Econet mobile wants to start in Gambia, and they do not have fibre for backbone base stations connections, what are they going to do?

          Either they start from scratch and install everything from fibre links, base stations, fibre signal amplifiers(you need one every 100km or so) , monitoring stations(offices) etc.

          Or in this case you have a deal in place with MTN which happen to own vast fibre coverage in place already. Now all what Econet will need is to connect their base stations to MTN fibre POPs.

          This then is a big saving for Econet in many ways.

  5. macd chip

    Im struggling to understand the last paragraph especially this statement:

    “ entry by MTN in Zimbabwe or Burundi leaves Econet out of that discussion…”

    How is this so? With no infor available, lm left to guess this is a core network handshake agreement btwn the two.

    Ok no guessing anymore, that was a bit cheek Nigel, here is a statement from MTN:

    Actually Econet is bound to benefit more from this deal. This is the sort of infrastructure sharing which we want and mutually benefit to both parties involved.

    Mandiwanzira and Potraz should learn from this.

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