Vodacom cashes in on WiMAX provider iBurst, intends to bid for new 2.6GHz spectrum

27 Sep 2010

Pan-African cellular communications company Vodacom Group has sold its last 24.9% stake in South Africa-based WiMAX service provider Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), which operates under the iBurst brand name. The stake has been sold to the company’s other shareholders, although WBS has not yet disclosed what its new shareholding structure looks like. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the largest shareholder prior to the disposal was Blue Label Investments, which owned 40% of the company.

Vodacom has conceded that the sale is purely strategic; it intends to bid for spectrum in the 2.6GHz range when it is made available. South African regulator ICASA has already specified that current 2.6GHz spectrum holders such as WBS – and therefore Vodacom – would not be eligible to bid. Vodacom upped its interest in iBurst to 24.9% in November 2008 when it exercised an option to acquire an additional 14.9% stake for ZAR119.2 million (USD16.86 million).

South Africa, Rain (Multisource/WBS), Vodacom Group