Home » South African exec Shameel Joosub-led Vodacom discusses infrastructure deals with Orange across Africa

South African exec Shameel Joosub-led Vodacom discusses infrastructure deals with Orange across Africa

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Shameel Joosub

Key Points:

  • Vodacom and Orange discuss infrastructure sharing deals to reduce network rollout costs across Africa.
  • Collaboration in markets like Egypt and DRC could improve coverage and affordability for customers.
  • Vodacom’s revenue surges, highlighting continent’s potential. Partnership positions them to dominate the booming mobile market.

Vodacom Group, a Johannesburg-based telecommunications giant, led by leading South African executive Shameel Joosub, is in talks with French rival Orange about a strategic partnership to explore infrastructure deals across the continent, aiming to curb rising network rollout costs.

The discussions focus on potential agreements in overlapping markets like Egypt and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to people familiar with the matter. Vodacom and Orange are also exploring collaboration in other African markets where they have a presence.

Vodacom eyes partnerships for growth

“We are pursuing partnerships with mobile operators and financial investors in our operational territories,’’ said a Vodacom spokesperson via email. “Our objective is to potentially alleviate rollout and rural connectivity costs, ultimately addressing communication costs and bridging the digital divide.” The spokesperson added that the company will comment on specific agreements once finalized.

Orange declined to comment on specific discussions but acknowledged the potential benefits of infrastructure sharing. “Sharing certain network infrastructure with other operators in such vast territories makes sense,” a spokesperson said. “This could facilitate improved coverage and network quality for customers.”

Both companies are aggressively expanding in Africa to capture the continent’s booming mobile market, driven by a young, tech-savvy population. Africa has become a key growth engine for their European parents. However, expansion is costly, particularly in remote areas with lower potential returns. Joint ventures could significantly ease this financial burden.

Vodacom revenue up 26.4 percent

Vodacom Group, led by telecoms veteran Shameel Joosub, boasts a network of over 200 million African subscribers. Beyond South Africa, Vodacom operates in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Lesotho, showcasing its commitment to expanding connectivity across Africa.

Joosub owns 0.09 percent of Vodacom, with 1,903,475 shares valued at R175.1 million ($9.56 million), aligning his interests with the company’s success. Under his leadership, Vodacom reported a 26.4 percent year-on-year revenue increase to R150.59 billion ($8.24 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2024.

A partnership with Orange could position both companies at the forefront of African telecom infrastructure, enabling them to capture a larger share of the continent’s mobile market while optimizing network rollout costs.

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