Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Mascom sets eyes on the internet business

Botswana’s biggest mobile network operator, Mascom Wireless, is expanding its internet provision services, with plans to acquire MTN Botswana, which offers internet services and other business solutions through a virtual private network.

The proposed transaction is being assessed by the Competition and Consumer Authority (CCA).

Mascom, is majority owned DECI Investments at 60 percent and Econet Wireless holding the remaining 40 percent. In turn, DECI Investments is 66.66 percent owned by Botswana Public Officers Pension Funds and the other 33.33 percent belongs to Mobile Botswana, which is a subsidiary of MTN International, which is in turn indirectly wholly owned by MTN Group Limited.

Besides being a leading mobile network operator, Mascom wholly controls Direct BPO, which offers customer management services that includes a call centre and debt collection services.

The company that Mascom wants to buy, MTN Botswana, is controlled by MTN Business Solutions, a company registered in South Africa. Through MTN Botswana, Mascom will be able to expand its internet business beyond mobile internet packages.

According to Statistics Botswana’s Information and Communication Technology report for 2022’s third quarter, the sector had the highest quarterly growth rate in more than five years, with an annual growth rate of 15.1 percent – the highest pace since 2017’s fourth quarter annual growth rate which was 29.8 percent.

Total internet subscriptions, made up of mobile internet and fixed internet subscriptions, climbed by 12 percent in the third quarter, from 2.5 million registered in the previous quarter to 2.8 million. This resulted from increases in both mobile and fixed internet, the report said.

Mobile internet subscriptions jumped from the second quarter’s 2.4 million to 2.7 million, reflecting 11.1 percent growth for the third quarter. Fixed internet subscriptions soared by 31.3 percent, moving from 116,641 subscriptions registered in the second quarter to 153,207 in the subsequent quarter.

On an annual basis, total internet subscriptions increased by 16.3 percent in 2022 third quarter compared to 2021’s same quarter. Both mobile and fixed internet subscriptions rose by 14.6 and 57.3 percent in the comparable period.

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