Telecommunications tower operator Helios Towers has entered the South African market, promising big investments in infrastructure as the country moves to 5G.
Working with local partner Vulatel, it plans to make “major greenfield wireless and fixed-line telecoms infrastructure investments” in the country, it said.
Black-owned Vulatel is led by its CEO and chairman, Tlhabeli Ralebitso, who was the founding MD of Vodacom Ventures and previously led Vodacom Group’s M&A and investor relations functions. Ralebitso is supported by Vulatel’s MD, Jean-Pierre Crouse, who was chief implementation officer at Dark Fibre Africa. The company began operations in 2017 after acquiring Dimension Data’s fibre and wireless division (formerly Plessey South Africa).
Helios Towers South Africa (HTSA) will build open-access infrastructure that it will then lease to other companies.
Helios Towers, which operates about 6 500 towers in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo-Brazzaville, and which has urban operations in Ghana, said it has long considered South Africa an attractive opportunity due to the size of its economy, its population dynamics and the demand for advanced telecoms services. The company’s investors include Helios Investment Partners, Quantum Strategic Partners, Albright Capital Management, RIT Capital Partners, International Finance Corp and Millicom International Cellular.
“Helios Towers expects the South African market to lead the way on 5G roll-out in sub-Saharan Africa, with a consumer and industrial business case for better coverage and enhanced connectivity delivered through the country’s current mobile network operators,” it said. “HTSA expects to be able to support this by building greenfield mobile tower infrastructure and the associated high-speed microwave and fibre-optic infrastructure that will enable mobile network operators to meet their customers’ needs.” — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media