Econet concludes Altech deal

HARARE - Econet Wireless Global (Econet) has concluded a $55 million deal to acquire an 8,6 percent stake in Liquid Telecom (Liquid).

This comes after Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed technology group, Altech, recently announced plans to offload its Liquid shareholding.

Liquid — a subsidiary of Econet — is a specialised telecommunications operator, mainly focusing on the business market, providing services like satellite communications, and fibre optic networks.

It has fibre optic networks in 12 African countries, and is also the largest operator of V-SAT earth stations across the continent.

The company operates and owns one of Africa’s most extensive fibre optic networks, spanning over 13 000km, which provide services to customers in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and South Africa.

A spokesperson for Econet in South Africa confirmed the transaction, saying the group “understood the rationale behind the sale by Altron” — a parent company of Altech.

“We understand that Altron is restructuring and streamlining its operations, including Altech. So, it makes sense for them to sell a minority stake like this one, even though Liquid is doing very well,” said the spokesman.

Last year, Liquid became the first telecommunications company to deploy a cross border cutting edge transmission technology called Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) Zimbabwe.

DWDM is the latest technology for transporting extremely large amounts of data traffic over metro or long distances in telecom networks.

Liquid deployed DWDM technology in trunk and ring topologies that pass through Harare, Gweru, Bulawayo, Beitbridge, and Masvingo then back to Harare.

With this technology, up to 80 separate wavelengths or channels of data can be put on to a single optical fibre.

Each wavelength has a capacity of 10Gbps to 100Gbps.

The telecommunications company now has multiples of 10Gbps capacity which ultimately provides unlimited capacity.

The technology has been extended to Lusaka, Zambia, through Kariba (10Gbps upgradable to 80Gbps).

“This gives both the Zimbabwean and Zambian market high capacity access to the undersea cables that link southern Africa to the rest of the world,” said, Liquid managing director Wellington Makamure.

“The high speed technology goes across the borders into South Africa through Johannesburg to link two Data Centres (Teraco and Neotel). These two data centres are in turn linked to five undersea cables namely SEACOM, WACS, EASSY, SAT 3 and TEAMS,” he said.

Comments (2)

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