Liquid Telecom South Africa plans to spend billions of rand building a national 4G/LTE network in South Africa, and it will offer wholesale roaming services to other operators from early 2019, it said on Friday.
Using its spectrum in the 1.8GHz band, Liquid Telecom plans to provide wholesale access to the network to mobile operators and Internet service providers. This will be done on an open-access basis.
The network will be designed to “meet the needs of the most demanding users across the country”, said Liquid Telecom South Africa CEO Reshaad Sha in a statement. The company hasn’t said how quickly it plans to deploy the network or how wide its coverage will be when it opens the network to other operators early next year.
Liquid Telecom Group, which is controlled by Econet Group — the business founded by Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa — acquired South Africa’s Neotel from Tata Communications in 2017. Neotel was then rebranded as Liquid Telecom South Africa.
“Our announcement today caps a busy and successful year which includes our recent announcement of a US$180-million investment in Liquid Telecom by CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution. This will enable us to expand our broadband connectivity to some of the most underserved communities across the African continent,” said Liquid Telecom Group CEO Nic Rudnick in the statement.
“This milestone builds on a remarkable year for Liquid Telecom. I am encouraged that the momentum will continue into 2019 with South African operators having access to wholesale roaming services across our network for the first time.”