Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd (Smile), the parent company of Smile Communications Nigeria Limited, on Tuesday, said that it has raised $365 million to fund the expansion of high-speed broadband networks in Africa.
Smile Telecoms said it would use the funds to extend its existing 4G LTE mobile broadband network in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.
The Telecom Company, which is set to launch in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016, aims at becoming the largest 4G operator in Africa.
The funding will expand the Telecom Company’s networks and services, such that by the end of this year, the Company will offer voice services, in addition to mobile broadband, and will have national coverage comparable to that of the largest 3G network in each of its countries of operation.
Smile, founded in 2007, currently has about 100 000 subscribers in three markets, but is yet to reach the point where it offers national coverage.
The CEO of Smile Telecoms, Charnley, noted that the $365 million in investment will accelerate its roll out and get it to the point where it offers national coverage.
She said, “We’re just focused on growing.”
“Now that we are fully funded to deliver national coverage of unrivalled super-fast internet access and clear voice services, our priority is to ensure that our customers experience and benefit from the power of high speed mobile broadband compared to the narrowband services available to date, including how to effectively manage the superior experience in terms of data consumption.”
Chairman, Smile Communications Nigeria Limited, Dr. Ernest Azudialu- Obiejesi, said the funding is an enabler of its quest to deepen broadband penetration in Africa especially in key markets of Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Smile’s shareholders now comprise Al Nahla Group, a Saudi Arabia-based company, which is the majority shareholder; Renven Investment Holdings, a pan-African investment vehicle, in which Nigerian investors, including the Obijackson Group, are the majority; Verene, representing Smile senior management and social entrepreneurs from South Africa; Telecom Investments, a Saudi Arabian-based investment company; Capitalworks, an active alternative management company, specialising in investment in the African mid-market; the PIC; and Smile employees