HeroTel acquires Safricom

HeroTel has acquired 100% of Safricom North West for an undisclosed amount as part of its strategy to strengthen its fibre presence.

Established in 2006 as a wireless Internet service provider (WISP) based in the North West’s Potchefstroom city, Safricom has over the years expanded its footprint to include providing fibre networks.

To date, the company has covered most of the Potchefstroom area with over 70km of fibre-optic and has expanded this footprint into nearby towns.

HeroTel, which already owns Xpress Networks in that province, says this purchase is in line with the group’s strategy to extend the network in the areas in which it operates.

“Safricom is not a traditional WISP operating only a wireless network.” HeroTel chairman Alan Knott-Craig Jnr told ITWeb exclusively.

“They saw the gap in the market some time back and decided to start trenching in an area that the major fibre players were ignoring. We look forward to taking these Safricom skills to our other WISPs around the country,” he says.

Commenting on the acquisition, Johan Kruger, CEO of Safricom, says: “It’s an exciting opportunity for the Safricom family to be joining the HeroTel Group.

“This relationship will allow us to scale our fibre network across the North West, where we have enjoyed exceptional growth to date. Our team is also looking forward to sharing our fibre-optic skills with the other WISPs in the group. We believe there is a massive opportunity to trench fibre into the smaller towns that the majority of the market seems to have overlooked,” adds Kruger.

This is HeroTel’s 26th acquisition to date. The group has expanded coverage via its WISPs in Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and surrounds.

“HeroTel has been steadily investing in its fibre operations over the past three years,” says CEO Cornè de Villiers. “This relationship will allow us to scale our fibre network across the North West, where we have enjoyed exceptional growth to date.”

HeroTel finance director Van Zyl Botha adds: “Safricom will bulk up our HeroTel fibre division, which has now passed 20 000 locations. We want to bring affordable high-speed Internet connectivity to all South Africans.”