Smile Telecoms brings internet to Africa
Africa is a continent with immense potential. Indeed, the continent already has a rapidly growing mobile consumer market. As smartphones become more accessible and affordable, so the need for internet access increases – a need which mobile internet firm Smile Telecoms intends to meet.
The company has successfully raised $365 million from a variety of sources. The funds will be used to extend its existing 4G/LTE mobile broadband network in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as fund next year's anticipated launch of the network in the DRC.
The firm raised the funds by way of a $50-million equity sale to South African state-owned firm, Public Investment Corporation (PIC), with additional funding raised via debt from a group of investors, including Development Bank of Southern Africa, Diamond Bank plc, Standard Chartered Bank, and African Export-Import Bank.
The company, headquartered in Mauritius, has offices in South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, and was founded in 2007 by Irene Charnley. Charnley, a social entrepreneur and telecoms visionary, was instrumental in transforming MTN into one of the most respected telecommunications operators in the EMEA region. Venessa Naidoo, a Chartered Accountant by profession, is Smile Telecoms' CFO.
- Read an article by MTN South Africa CFO, Zunaid Bulbulia, on the changing role of the CFO.