Telkom South Africa has confirmed that it has unified its pan-African data assets Africa Online and AFSAT under the name iWay Africa. WiMAX operator Africa Online currently has operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia, whereas AFSAT – which is part of the MWEB Africa group of companies – has operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Nigeria; additional distributors of its VSAT platform are located elsewhere in the remainder of sub-Saharan Africa. MWEB Africa was acquired by Telkom in April 2009; both Africa Online and MWEB Africa are headquartered in Mauritius.
A press statement from iWay Africa read: ‘Telkom South Africa, parent company to Africa Online and MWEB Africa, aims to concentrate on growing market share and building a stronger footprint in Africa. Earlier this year strategic acquisitions were made beyond the borders of South Africa. This includes Africa Online and MWEB Africa which was acquired earlier this year. Synergies exist between the two companies, and Telkom is currently integrating Africa Online and MWEB Africa in an effort to create economies of scale and streamline operations and optimise quality of service to clientele’.
However, although this move signals Telkom’s long-anticipated entrance into the emergent Kenyan broadband market, the firm has reiterated that it has no plans to pursue a stake in the country’s ultra-competitive wireless sector. iWayAfrica chief executive Harry Aucamp commented: ‘That will never happen; a lot has changed. Our bet in the region is in data, as GSM is already saturated. You will realise that even the four operators in Kenya are finding it hard to operate. With our pan-African footprint, I believe we have the muscle to compete’.