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Helios Towers enters SA market

Helios Towers enters SA market

Helios Towers has entered the South African market through a partnership with Vulatel, saying it "expects to make major greenfield wireless and fixed-line telecoms infrastructure investments in South Africa".

The independent telecoms tower infrastructure company said the agreement with Vulatel will create a South African infrastructure platform, Helios Towers South Africa (HTSA), which will build out wireless and fixed line open-access infrastructure in South Africa.

As a leading independent tower company, with over 6 500 towers in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana and Congo Brazzaville, Helios Towers has long considered South Africa an attractive opportunity due to its economic growth, population demographics and demand for advanced telecommunications services.

"Helios Towers also expects the South African market to lead the way on 5G rollout 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," the group said in a statement.

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 (MNOs) to meet their customers' needs.

"I am thrilled to announce our entry into South Africa, which delivers against our stated strategy of providing MNOs with open-access infrastructure to meet the growing demands of their customers in Africa for fast, stable and available networks," Kash Pandya, CEO of Helios Towers said in a statement.

"Today's deal creates a platform that will further diversify our geographic mix and allow Helios Towers to enter an exciting market and expand our product offering."

The companies believe they are ideal partners to capitalise on the large South African wireless and fixed line open-access infrastructure opportunity.

"There is a significant infrastructure gap in South Africa today, which means the demand in data services is not being met. We are convinced this provides an unrivalled opportunity to build a leading open-access infrastructure platform to address that gap. Our vision has always been to establish a nationwide service network before entering into the open-access telecoms infrastructure market on the back of our trusted relationships with the telecoms operators in South Africa," added Tlhabeli Ralebitso, chairman and CEO of Vulatel.

Ralebitso was the founding MD of Vodacom Ventures and previously led Vodacom Group's M&A and investor relations' functions. Vulatel's MD, Jean-Pierre Crouse, was previously the chief implementation officer at Dark Fibre Africa (DFA).

Vulatel is a 69% black owned and 45% black women owned business.

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