TCRA approves Liquid Telecom’s buyout of ISP Raha

16 Dec 2016

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has given the thumbs up to the takeover of one of the country’s leading ISPs, Startel Tanzania, which offers services under the brand name Raha, by Liquid Telecom Group, an independent data, voice and IP provider in eastern, central and southern Africa. The Citizen reports that Liquid Telecom issued a statement confirming the acquisition of Raha, marking its entry into Tanzania after a similar recent move in Kenya. Startel Tanzania was formed to provide high speed broadband and internet-based solutions to businesses and consumers in and around Dar es Salaam. It offers ADSL, fibre and satellite connectivity, and also uses WiMAX technology to provide broadband connectivity solutions for SMEs, schools and large enterprises. Raha has over 1,500 businesses on its network. The details of the transaction were not disclosed. Commenting on the takeover, Liquid Telecom chief executive officer Nic Rudnick said: ‘We are very pleased to announce that this transaction has received its final approval. The agreement enables Liquid Telecom to expand its footprint into Tanzania, a growing and dynamic African country.’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last month the pan-African fibre-optic provider Liquid Telecom, which is majority-owned by Econet Wireless, secured ZAR4.30 billion (USD300 million) to help fund expansion in Africa. At the time Mr. Rudnick revealed that Standard Bank is arranging the syndicated loan to help fund the ZAR6.55 billion acquisition of the controlling stake in South African broadband operator Neotel from Tata Communications of India, in addition to other deals currently underway in Botswana and Tanzania. Rudnick said: ‘The purpose of the additional funding would be to allow the group to expand … Our strategy is to roll out fibre continuously and to bolster that with sensible acquisitions.’ Following the completion of the Neotel deal, Liquid could consider selling shares in the combined entity on a stock exchange, though the executive added: ‘We haven’t made a final decision on this as we just completed a funding drive.’