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Meet the ISPs Driving FTTH Deployment in South Africa

Earlier this month, South African ISP Vumatel introduced that its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure now passes two million properties. A million of those properties are in historically underserved areas, corresponding to townships.

This community footprint signifies that Vumatel now presides over a extra substantial FTTH community than Telkom South Africa’s Openserve unit.

Fiber ISPs are very a lot on the rise in South Africa, with a number of gamers gaining traction with their regional rollouts.

Unusually, the vast majority of these operators use an open entry enterprise mannequin, permitting dozens of smaller firms to market and resell fiber connectivity.

Right now, we check out the primary gamers driving fiber development in South Africa.


Possession: MAZIV, itself owned by Remgro-owned Neighborhood Funding Ventures Holdings (CIVH)
Houses Handed: 2,000,000 (August 2023)
Houses Linked: 570,000 (December 2022)

Vumatel first launched FTTH know-how in Parkhurst, Johannesburg again in October 2014, changing into one of many nation’s fiber pioneers within the course of.

In October 2016, Vumatel acquired rival Fibrehoods, which began its personal fiber deployment in Gauteng in March 2015. In July 2017, the corporate snapped up fiber infrastructure belonging to Hyperlink Africa.

Vumatel is at the moment backed by MAZIV, which was created in 2022 by Remgro-owned Neighborhood Funding Ventures Holdings (CIVH) after it merged Vumatel and Darkish Fibre Africa (DFA) into a brand new infrastructure firm. Vumatel’s community consists of over 50,000 kilometers of fiber, whereas DFA’s spans 15,000 kilometers.

The ISP reached the two million properties handed milestone in August 2023, prompting Vumatel Chief Working Officer Dewald Booysen to remark: “We have now rolled out protection in areas corresponding to Soweto, Khayelitsha and Umlazi. These are historically neglected communities. Vuma’s strategy can also be community-orientated and permits us to work with the group to beat challenges which have historically hampered efforts.”

In August 2023, nevertheless, South Africa’s Competitors Fee really useful the prohibition of the proposed merger between Vodacom South Africa and MAZIV.

In August 2023, South Africa’s Competitors Fee really useful the prohibition of the proposed merger between Vodacom South Africa and MAZIV.

The competitors watchdog acknowledged: “The Fee is of the view that the proposed transaction is more likely to considerably stop or reduce competitors in a number of markets and that the situations supplied don’t totally tackle the resultant hurt to competitors.”


Possession: Telkom South Africa
Houses Handed: 1,107,794 (June 2023)
Houses Linked: 515,201 (June 2023)

Openserve is Telkom South Africa’s 100%-owned wholesale unit.

As of June 30, 2023, its fiber networks handed a complete of 1.108 million properties, up 24.4% year-on-year. Of this determine, greater than half 1,000,000 properties are linked with fiber (515,201).

With its fiber footprint rising, Openserve ceased providing legacy DSL-based providers from October 1, 2021, forward of a deliberate copper shutdown in 2024.

Earlier this 12 months, Telkom revealed that it was contemplating promoting a minority stake in Openserve.

Within the telco’s buying and selling replace protecting the three months ended December 31, 2022 (Q3 FY2023), Telkom famous: “Following the authorized separation of Openserve to a stand-alone entity, efficient 1 September 2022, numerous initiatives are underway with the aim of realising worth by way of the sale of a minority stake within the 100% owned Telkom subsidiary. Telkom has been receiving a variety of unsolicited approaches for this enterprise and is at the moment endeavor a market sounding train to check the breadth of curiosity for this deemed to be core enterprise of Telkom.”

MetroFibre Networx

Possession: African Rainbow Capital (18.1%), STOA (23.08%), African Infrastructure Funding Managers (AIIM), South African Housing & Infrastructure Fund (SAHIF), and Sanlam Personal Fairness
Houses Handed: 440,000 (March 2023)
Houses Linked: 126,000 (March 2023)

Established in 2010, MetroFibre Networx is an open entry fiber supplier primarily based in Gauteng.

In March 2016, African Rainbow Capital (ARC) secured an 18.1% minority stake within the firm for an undisclosed sum.  

In November 2020, non-public fairness fund African Infrastructure Funding Managers (AIIM) acquired a minority fairness stake within the enterprise.

Current shareholder STOA (23.08%)—a international funding car primarily based in France—offered incremental funding as a part of the transaction, which was accompanied by new funding by the founders of the South African Housing & Infrastructure Fund (SAHIF), Rali Mampeule, and Kameel Keshav. Earlier backers Sanlam Personal Fairness and ARC remained onboard as shareholders at that date.

On April 1, 2021, MetroFibre purchased LinkAfrica’s FTTH community in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), including an extra 10,000 properties handed to its community. The transaction closed in June that 12 months.

In August 2022, Commonplace Financial institution Group efficiently finalized a ZAR5 billion debt finance bundle for MetroFibre to assist its continued community rollout.

As of March 2023 (most up-to-date information), its networks handed greater than 440,000 properties in 5 provinces. The ISP claimed 126,000 residential connections.

Going ahead, MetroFibre goals to densify its present networks to achieve an extra 500,000 properties throughout the nation by 2025.


Possession: Vivica Group
Houses Handed: 350,000 (December 2022)
Houses Linked: 135,000 residential subscriptions and 13,000 companies 

Vivica first launched in 1998, underneath the DataPro Group model. In 2007, it rebranded as Vox Telecom.

Frogfoot itself was acquired by Vox Telecom again in 2015. In September 2021, Frogfoot acquired LinkAfrica’s Western Cape FTTH property to assist its presence within the Western Cape. 

Vox Holdings rebranded as Vivica Group in 2022, paving the best way for the corporate to discover enterprise alternatives exterior of the telecom sector. Vox Telecom and Frogfoot at the moment are operated as subsidiaries of Vivica.

At the moment, Frogfoot’s fiber community passes 350,000 properties, connecting 135,000 properties and 13,000 companies.


Possession: Actis
Houses Handed: 315,583 properties and companies (Might 2023)
Houses Linked: 100,815 (Might 2023)

Octotel payments itself as Cape City’s largest open entry fiber community, with infrastructure passing greater than 300,000 properties and companies, and connecting in extra of 100,000 clients.

Launched in 2015, its community spans 16,000 kilometers throughout the Western Cape.

In December 2020, South Africa’s Competitors Tribunal permitted the ZAR2.3 billion ($150 million) majority takeover of Octotel by rising market funding agency Actis. The regulator connected no situations to the approval.

Actis first introduced the deal on October 12, 2020.


Possession: Vumatel (45%), Medu Capital (15%), different unknown shareholders (40%)
Houses Handed: 272,197 (December 2022)
Houses Linked: 160,000 (be aware: determine contains fastened wi-fi subscriptions)

Based in 2014, Stellenbosch-based HeroTel is among the largest suppliers of fastened wi-fi entry (FWA) broadband providers in South Africa.

HeroTel is among the largest suppliers of FWA broadband providers in South Africa.

In recent times. the ISP has additionally thrown its weight behind FTTH know-how, with a view to rising its broadband enterprise.

In February 2017, black-owned non-public fairness firm Medu Capital acquired a 15% stake in HeroTel for ZAR74.25 million.

Extra lately, in February 2022 Vumatel purchased a forty five% non-controlling stake in HeroTel; the promoting get together was understood to be co-founder Alan Knott-Craig Jr.

The ISP at the moment operates in additional than 400 cities and 107 municipalities, throughout all 9 provinces. As of January 2023 (most up-to-date information), the corporate claimed to go 272,197 properties with its fiber networks.

Zoom Fibre

Possession: Unknown
Houses Handed: 175,000
Houses Linked: 45,000

Zoom Fibre is an open entry fiber community operator that’s rolling out FTTH infrastructure in chosen suburbs throughout the nation.

The corporate was based by former Vumatel govt Mohammed Manjra and at the moment has networks in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape, and the North West province.

The corporate claims to be the quickest within the nation to go 100,000 properties, having achieved that milestone in June 2022—simply two years after its launch.

At that juncture, Mr Manjra famous: “Rollouts are funded by way of a number of sequence of debt funding that we’ve got raised by way of native and worldwide funders over the previous 18 months.”

Zoom Fibre now has networks that go 175,000 properties and claims 45,000 finish person connections.

Vodacom South Africa

Possession: Vodacom Group
Houses Handed: 165,000 (June 2023)
Houses Linked: N/A; Vodacom’s 171,747 connections determine contains properties linked with platforms apart from FTTH (i.e. FWA)

Vodacom South Africa—the nation’s largest cellular operator by subscriptions—entered the fiber sector in 2014, with an preliminary deal with small and medium enterprises in Cape City, Durban, and Gauteng.

Now-defunct vendor Alcatel-Lucent was handed a GPON deployment contract in January 2015, with a view to the telco extending fiber protection to 250,000 properties and companies in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape City, and Durban by 2018.

Progress has been far slower than anticipated, nevertheless, and Vodacom’s fiber networks handed simply 165,000 properties and companies as of June 2023.

Whereas the telco doesn’t publish a determine for fiber connections, 171,747 properties and companies are linked by its numerous fastened broadband platforms, together with FWA.

In November 2021, Vodacom entered into an settlement to accumulate a co-controlling curiosity in all the materials property at the moment owned by Neighborhood Funding Ventures Holdings (CIVH), together with Vumatel and Darkish Fibre Africa (DFA).

Upon completion of the transaction, Vodacom will maintain a 30% fairness curiosity in a newly shaped InfraCo that was subsequently named MAZIV. 

The plan got here unstuck in August 2023, nevertheless, when the Competitors Fee really useful the prohibition of the proposed tie-up on anticompetitive grounds.


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