Helios Towers is preparing for the advent of 5G in South Africa by partnering with local networks specialist Vulatel to deploy open access wireless and fixed line infrastructure across the country.
In a statement, Helios Towers noted that it “expects the South African market to lead the way on 5G rollout in Sub-Saharan Africa with a consumer and industrial business case for better coverage and enhanced connectivity delivered through the country’s current mobile network operators.”
The tower firm is setting up a new local unit branded as Helios Towers South Africa in order to “support the rollout by building greenfield mobile tower infrastructure and the associated high-speed microwave and fibre-optic infrastructure that will enable MNOs to meet their customers’ needs.”
Vulatel CEO Tlhabeli Ralebitso noted that South Africa offers data service providers an “unrivalled opportunity” as the huge demand for such services is not currently being satisfied.
Formed in 2009, Helios Towers is a pan-African operation with 6,500 towers across Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana and Tanzania. South Africa is a substantially different market – in terms of both demographics and geographies - to add to its portfolio. The company abandoned a planned UK IPO last year despite its value being estimated at £2 billion.