Vumatel, one of the earliest and now largest players in the South African fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband market, has agreed to buy a big portion of Link Africa’s home fibre infrastructure.
In a letter to customers seen by TechCentral, Link Africa executive Craig Carthy said the company has decided to focus instead on fibre to the business (FTTB), where it’s enjoying strong growth.
Because of “unprecedented” demand for FTTB services, Link Africa’s resources have been “stretched”, Carthy said in the letter.
“Link Africa has decided to better serve all our customers by maintaining an interest and focus on FTTB customers by continuing to pass and connect these customers, while also offering new Ethernet services to Internet service providers,” he said in the letter.
“Because of this refocusing and the creation of the new arm of Link Africa’s business … Link Africa is selling some of its FTTH assets to Vumatel.”
Vumatel will take over the company’s network in Beverley Hills, Dainfern Golf Estate, Dunkirk, Forest Hills, Fourways Gardens, Gillitts, Ilala, Izinga, Kloof, Maytime, Prestondale, Seaward, Umdloti, Umhlanga and Vorna Valley.
The company has, however, retained several FTTH suburbs, namely Constantia, Stellenbosch, Hawaan, Simbithi Eco Estate, Victoria Country Club and Waterkloof View.
In the letter, Carthy said Link Africa will continue to provide FTTH in communities near to its core network. “Most importantly, Link Africa will be focusing on and promoting its new wholesale Ethernet offerings in addition to existing FTTH offerings.”
Vumatel chief operating officer Johan Pretorius confirmed the acquisition of the Link Africa assets, but declined to comment on how much the company is paying for them. He said Vumatel has bought the assets that were complementary to its existing FTTH assets.
Pretorius denied that Link Africa was a forced seller of the assets; Carthy couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
According to Pretorius, the fibre acquired from Link Africa runs past 20 000 homes. “It clearly accelerates our footprint (in KwaZulu-Natal) and makes it easier to spread the cost base and enhance our reach,” he said.
Earlier this year, Vumatel made its tentative steps into Durban with the acquisition of Estate Connexions (ECX) for an undisclosed sum.
Pretorius said he doesn’t believe the Link Africa and ECX deals suggest a big imminent consolidation in the FTTH market. Rather, the Link Africa deal was simply “opportunistic”, he said. — © 2017 NewsCentral Media