Mar 28, 2017 Last Updated 9:05 AM, Mar 28, 2017

Smile Telecoms to expand into DRC

ABN – Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd. has raised US$365 million in debt and equity financing to improve and expand its broadband network into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Mauritius-based company currently provides wireless internet in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda but wants to increase its customer base by 10 times, to 1 million, by 2017.

Smile CEO Irene Charnley told Bloomberg: “Fixed-line infrastructure in Africa is non-existent, especially in countries outside of South Africa.

“We will have national coverage of 4G mobile wireless broadband in each of our markets. The take-up is very, very, very fast.”

She added that Smile will seek to expand into South Africa when the government auctions off its 800 megahertz of spectrum, and will likely launch an initial public offering in 2019.


PCCW creating African rival to Netflix

ABN – Internet service provider PCCW Ltd. is said to be developing a video-on-demand service for South Africa that would compete with Netflix.

Two inside sources said the new entertainment service will be revealed next week, but PCCW declined to comment.

The company, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, bought a majority stake in mobile video-on-demand service Vuclip earlier this year and allegedly plans to extend it into markets including Africa.

Companies are increasingly bringing their streaming services to Africa as wireless internet becomes more widespread and reliable.


Solar project to electrify rural Ghana

ABN – A solar power project has been launched to provide lighting and phone charging services to off-grid villages in central Ghana.

The PayGo home solar system has currently been rolled out in Assin Sienchem, where it will deliver power to more than 100,000 households.

The rollout was formally launched by Dr Kwabena Donkor, Ghana’s power minister, who said the project will eventually be rolled out more widely.

“Solar power has the potential to make a tremendous difference to rural households that do not yet have access to the grid,” he told the local community.

“The ability to bring power to households within months instead of the years it takes to build out the grid is testament to how new technology is changing the face of energy provision in Africa.”

The PayGo home solar system comprises four LED lights, mobile phone charging, a torch and a rechargeable radio, and is powered by a 10-watt solar panel.

It was designed by UK-based Azuri Technologies and is being distributed by Oasis Africa Resources (OAR), a wholly owned Ghanaian energy company with the aim of delivering improvements to power solutions in Ghana.


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