Pan-African wholesale carrier Liquid Telecom will further expand its footprint on the continent in the wake of its acquisition of Rwandatel fromthe Rwandan government.
Rwandatel was jointly owned by sub-Saharan mobile operator Lap Green Networks, a telecom investment vehicle for the Libyan government with an 80 percent stake in the company, while the former National Social Security Fund of Rwanda owned the rest of the company. The Rwandan government stripped Lap Green Networks of its operating license in 2011 for allegedly failing to meet key performance targets in terms of investment, network rollout, coverage and quality of service.
Liquid Telecom, based in Mauritius, is a fiber-optic network company with operations in several African countries including Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The company claims it has the largest fiber-optic network reach in Africa, as its infrastructure extends 13,000 kilometers from southern Africa to east Africa.
Rwanda is the second market to be entered by Liquid Telecom in less than five months, after it bought the east African assets of the Altech group including a controlling interest in Kenya Data Networks (KDN) early this year.
According to Liquid Telecom CEO Nic Rudnick in a statement Wednesday, the acquisition of Rwandatel assets is a strategic move that will complement their current network. Telecom analysts in the region also believe that Liquid Telecom's Rwandatel deal is a strategic step toward the carrier expanding its eastern and southern African footprint, especially as Rwanda is surrounded by many other nations including Tanzania and Uganda.
Liquid Telecom is reported to have bought Rwandatel assets at $4 million.