PE firm TPG buys stake in Airtel’s mobile money unit for US$191m

AFRICA – Airtel Africa is set to sell an undisclosed minority stake in its Pan-African mobile money business to private equity firm TPG for US$191 million, underlining the huge value of mobile financial service platforms in Africa. The multinational telco announced the transaction through the London Stock Exchange where it is listed. The record-breaking deal values Airtel Money, available in Share sale to private equity comes amid struggle to cut M-Pesa dominance in the Kenyan market and 14 African countries including Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda, at US$2.65 billion. TPG is investing…

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Ethiopian Communicatons Authority shortlists six firms for telco licence

ETHIOPIA – The Ethiopian Communications Authority has shortlisted a consortia of 12 companies that had expressed interest in entering the country’s telecommunications market, one of them being Kenya’s telecom giant Safaricom. The firms will be required to submit their technical and financial bids by April 5, compared with a previous deadline of March 5. The Ethiopian Communications Authority announced that it had received expressions of interest from scores of firms, including telcos and non-telecom operators by June 22 which included the Safaricom consortium, Etisalat, Axian, MTN, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company,…

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Vodacom boosts capital expenditure by 12% as spectrum auction nears

SOUTH AFRICA – Mobile communications company Vodacom has boosted investment in its network by 12.3% year on year in the quarter ended 31 December 2020, bringing capital expenditure to US$180.4 million from US$160.4 million in the same quarter a year ago. The network investment came on the back of an 8.5% uplift in revenue to US$1.3 billion, with service revenue climbing by 5.4% to US$955.5 million, parent Vodacom Group disclosed in an announcement to shareholders. The increased capital investment was designed to improve capacity to “improve the customer experience”, Vodacom…

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Cell C migrates its contract customers to Vodacom network as it seeks to cut costs

SOUTH AFRICA – Mobile phone operator Cell C has begun the planned migration of its customers off its radio access network as it moves to shut down this infrastructure to save costs with the clients being migrated to its new partner, MTN, the company has said The company said that the initial batch of customers is moving to the Vodacom network. The migration has begun with contract and broadband customers and is due to be completed in the next two months, Cell C said. The news would seem to suggest a…

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Crown Agents Bank partners with VodaCash for digital payments in DRC

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO – Crown Agents Bank Ltd has signed a collaboration agreement with VodaCash SA in the innovating project of enabling international mobile payments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through M-Pesa brand The partnership is set to allow VodaCash, through Crown Agents Bank to assist international development organizations to further the transitioning of their payments to recipients and vendors from cash to digital, enhancing financial access, while at the same time reducing costs and delays. Crown Agents Bank will integrate its payment gateway with VodaCash platform and services…

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Ethiopia receives 12 bids from major telecoms for two telco licences

ETHIOPIA – 12 major telecom operators have shown interest in two licences that the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) plans to award to multinational mobile companies, breaking the state monopoly. On its statement ECA said it has received complete information and expression of interest from the Global Partnership for Ethiopia (a consortium of telecom operators made of Vodafone, Vodacom, and Safaricom), Etisalat, Axian, MTN, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company, Telkom SA, Liquid Telecom, Snail Mobile, and the two non-telecom operators, Kandu Global Telecommunications and Electromecha International Projects. The prospective bidders were given…

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Alphabet Inc and Vodacom partner to launch Loon in Mozambique

MOZAMBIQUE – Loon, a unit of Google’s owner Alphabet Inc, which uses high-altitude balloons to provide mobile internet to remote areas, has signed a deal with Vodacom to expand the South African mobile operator’s network in Mozambique.  Loon and Vodacom have been working with Mozambican communications and aviation regulators to obtain the necessary approvals.  Using the Loon solution, Vodacom will expand mobile network access to Cabo Delgado and Niassa, two provinces that have proven hard to cover in the past due to their size, topography and low population density, Vodacom…

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Safaricom appoints Sitoyo Lopokoiyit as head of its new M-Pesa Firm

KENYA – Safaricom, a communication company, has appointed the head of its financial services division, Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, to head the newly created joint venture with South Africa’s Vodacom Group that will run the lucrative M-Pesa platform  Until March 2016, Lopokoyit was Safaricom’s head of department in charge of financial services (MPESA), a position he held for almost 5 years before he was picked to head m-commerce and MPESA services at Vodacom Tanzania. He later rejoined the telco as the head of financial services, a position he held until his most…

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Vodacom appoints two new executives as for Chief Technology Officer exits

SOUTH AFRICA – Vodacom, a leading mobile operator in South Africa, has announced two key executive committee appointments.  The company has named Dejan Kastelic as its chief technology officer (CTO), replacing the long-serving Andries Delport, who is set to join Remgro-controlled Community Investment Ventures Holdings this year.  With effect from 1 June, Puso Manthata has been appointed as chief officer for strategy, mergers and acquisitions (M&A).  “It gives me pleasure to announce two exco appointments, taking effect from May and June this year, respectively,” says Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub.  “As communicated last year, Andries Delport will be leaving Vodacom during May. With effect from 1…

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Vodacom and Safaricom acquire M-Pesa to accelerate mobile money services in Africa

KENYA – Safaricom and its South African parent company Vodacom have completed the buying of intellectual property rights to M-Pesa service from British firm Vodafone in a deal estimated at KSh1.42 billion (US$13.4 million). The two said that the completion of the deal, first announced in 2019, will give them full control of the M-Pesa brand, product development and support services. The purchasing of the rights will further yield significant savings in royalties paid to Vodafone and expand the mobile money service to new African markets. Safaricom has been paying…

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