Helios Towers Joins South African Market With Vulatel Collaboration

Telecommunications tower operator Helios Towers has made its entrance into the South African market, promising large investments in infrastructure as the country moves towards 5G.

A representative of Helios Towers said that through its partnership with local partner South Africa’s Vulatel, it plans to make major fixed-line telecoms and wireless infrastructure investments in the country.

Black-owned Vulatel is marshalled by Tlhabeli Ralebitso who is its Chairman and CEO. Ralebitso was the founding MD of Vodacom Ventures, and he previously led the Vodacom Group’s M&A and investor relations departments. Ralebitso’s right-hand-man is Vulatel’s MD, Jean-Pierre Crouse, who was previously the Chief Implementation Officer at Dark Fibre Africa.

The company opened its doors in 2017 after buying out Dimension Data’s fibre and wireless division (formerly known as Plessey South Africa).

Helios Towers South Africa (HTSA) will construct open-access infrastructure that it will then lease out to other businesses.

Helios Towers, which operates over 6 500 towers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Tanzania and also has urban operations in Ghana, said that it has long considered South Africa an excellent opportunity due to the size of its economy, the demand for advanced telecoms services and its population dynamics.
The company’s investors include Quantum Strategic Partners, Helios Investment Partners, Albright Capital Management, International Finance Corp, RIT Capital Partners and Millicom International Cellular.

The tower operator issued a statement saying that Helios Towers is looking forward to the South African market leading the way on 5G roll-outs in the sub-Saharan region of Africa, with a business plan that caters to enhanced connectivity and better coverage delivered using the country’s current mobile network operators.

It added that HTSA would support this by constructing greenfield mobile tower infrastructure alongside the associated high-speed microwave and fibre-optic infrastructure that will allow mobile network operators to meet their customers’ needs.

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