Yesterday Africa’s Liquid Telecom made a significant foray into new territory with the purchase of the East African assets of Altech. The deal is for shares rather than cash, with Altech becoming an 8.6% shareholder of Liquid’s parent company. Altech’s network business in East Africa hadn’t been performing well lately, and they’re obviously hoping that Liquid’s greater scale will help turn things around.
Liquid has fiber across several countries further south, i.e. Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia, Botswana, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The purchase of Altech’s assets will see those hooked up to a foothold in Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya.
The fiber business in Africa has become increasingly interesting since the continent’s many new undersea cables have started to come online in recent years (SEACOM, EASSY, WACS, ACE, etc). Now we are seeing the emergence of a truly regional terrestrial network operator, although we’re far from calling anything pan-African yet. Liquid’s footprint now spans some serious distances.
Which brings up the question of what they might buy next, now that we know they’ve got an appetite. The map says they look over toward the west coast of Africa, where they can pick up access to the other new cables over there – maybe even one of the planned projects to South America.
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