This means that Liquid Telecom, a London-based subsidiary of Econet Global, will create the largest independent internet broadband operator in Africa. Currently Liquid Telecom’s network covers 24 000 kilometers, with operations in Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the UK, and a small presence in South Africa.
Once the deal has been officially approved, South African investment group Royal Bafokeng Holdings will partner with Liquid Telecom, taking a 30% stake in Neotel.
According to Liquid Telecom CEO, Nic Rudnick, the idea is to grow investments into Neotel “to cater for rapidly accelerating mobile and enterprise traffic”, thereby enabling Liquid Telecom to launch new products and services.
South Africa’s largest mobile phone company, Vodacom, bid R7 billion to buy Neotel, but the deal was called off earlier this year after a lot of resistance from rival telco operators.