HeroTel has strengthened its coverage in the North West Province through the acquisition of 100% of True Communications, based in Ventersdorp.
Truecom was established in 2009 by Eldred Ekermans. From their six POPs in Ventersdorp, Lichtenburg, Zeerust, Warrenton, Mafikeng and Vryburg the company provides Internet, VoIP and hosting services, to more than 30 towns across the Province.
The business started out as a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) but pivoted to deploying its own fibre networks in 2016. To date, Truecom has deployed over 240km of aerial fibre across Ventersdorp and Lichtenburg. Plans are in place to expand this fibre footprint to Zeerust, Vryburg and Mafikeng within the next year.
“Truecom brings a number of new opportunities to our WISPs”, commented HeroTel Group Chairman, Alan Knott-Craig, in an ITWeb exclusive. “They have successfully deployed a mix of fibre and high-speed wireless, at a price point that we have not seen before. This is a winning formula and a blueprint for what is possible in our smaller towns and rural communities across South Africa. Who would have thought that all of Lichtenburg would have access to fibre before many of the larger cities in this country?”
Truecom is the 27th acquisition that the group has completed and in line with its strategy to date, there are no planned changes in management or staff at the company.
“We have been watching the HeroTel model for a number of years now and we are delighted that we have managed to do a deal with them that is as exciting for our clients and staff, as it is for our shareholders”, said Truecom Managing Director and founder, Eldred Ekermans. “HeroTel is fully aligned with our fibre and wireless strategy and will provide us with the scale, systems and capital to expand faster than what we could have done on our own.”
“We already own Safricom and Xpress Networks, in the North West Province,” said HeroTel CEO, Cornè de Villiers “and we are excited to build on the existing good relationship between these three companies. It makes sense for them to share strategic infrastructure, like high sites and backhaul, to create redundancy and improved coverage for our clients across the Province. In fact, we will not only actively promote co-operation between these businesses but with the other WISPs in the area too. The North West is a glimpse of the future of the WISP industry, where fibre is deployed in the densely populated zones, while high-speed wireless fills the gaps between the towns. This is how next-generation rural networks will be built. We are delighted to be part of it with the amazing team at Truecom.”
The HeroTel Alliance now has expanded coverage via its WISPs in the North West, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and surrounds, making it South Africa’s largest wireless Internet service provider. Management expects to be making a number of announcements on further acquisitions over the next few weeks.