MTN buying Afrihost?

Rumours abound that Africa’s largest mobile operator, MTN is set to buy internet service provider (ISP) Afrihost.

Afrihost already has links with MTN, having joined the operator’s network in 2012.

The financial details of the deal are unclear at this stage, while neither Afrihost nor MTN could be contacted for comment.

Several sources, however, suggested that a deal between the two companies has been struck.

The SA market is undergoing a period of consolidation, with Vodacom set to purchase Neotel, for R7 billion, while Telkom and MTN also recently signed an agreement to use each other’s mobile networks.

Last month, Telkom also announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire listed ICT group, Business Connexion (BCX) in a R2.7 billion cash offer funded from its own cash resources.

MTN was due to launch a 100Mbps fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services in South Africa on Sunday (1 June 2014).

The operator first announced its intentions to launch the service in April, following successful FTTH trials conducted with residents of Monaghan Farm, a gated estate located 30km north of Johannesburg.

“MTN is currently rolling out aggressive deployment to high-density urban areas, such as high-end gated communities, boomed-off suburbs and high-rise buildings,” MTN said in its statement last month.

The operators said that advanced discussions were underway with several other residential sites.

MTN pointed out that its FTTH roll-out is a demand-driven, and an extension of its already expanding fibre connectivity backbone, utilising Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology, to business parks and residential estates in all major cities.

“We are massively excited by the momentum that our pre-launch has already created,” Eben Albertyn, chief technology officer of MTN SA said in April.

According to MTN, the estimated connectivity date for homes in the Monaghan Farm estate is mid-May, with in excess of 60% of the residents having signed up. Offers vary based on desired Internet speed, ranging from 10 to 100 Mbps.

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MTN buying Afrihost?