Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet Global, has completed the acquisition of Tanzania’s leading internet service provider Raha.
As the company’s new majority shareholder, Liquid Telecom will strengthen Raha’s position in the Tanzania market through further investment in both its network and services.
Raha will become part of Liquid Telecom’s extensive fibre network, providing businesses with access to one single network that runs all the way from Cape Town up through Dar es Salaam and onto Nairobi, stretching over 40,000km and connecting 12 countries.
It will also enhance Liquid Telecom’s East Africa Fibre Ring, which connects Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania with direct connectivity to international subsea cables. It is the region’s first fully redundant fibre ring with multiple routing options, ensuring that customers are not affected by fibre cuts and network outages.
“We welcome Raha as the latest exciting addition to the Liquid Telecom group. Tanzania is a rapidly growing and dynamic African market, and through this acquisition we will be able to greater support the demand for internet access across the country,” said Nic Rudnick, Group CEO, Liquid Telecom.
Raha currently serves over 1500 businesses as well as a growing number of retail customers with a range of connectivity solutions, including fibre, satellite, WiMAX and Wi-Fi.
Liquid Telecom plans to invest further in the rollout of fibre across Tanzania, enabling greater access to high-speed, reliable broadband for more businesses and households. The rollout of new fibre will also help provide high-speed connectivity to more state schools across the country, supporting key education initiatives by the Tanzania government. In addition, Liquid Telecom will explore ways to develop and enhance Raha’s data centre facilities in Dar es Salaam.
Internet penetration in Tanzania has increased rapidly in recent years reaching 34% in 2015. Mobile subscriptions increased by more than 24% in 2015 to 39.8 million, while the number of internet users rose 52% year-on-year to reach 17.26 million last year, according to industry regulator the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA).
Liquid Telecom also plans to significantly increase the number of free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Tanzania, helping to bridge the digital divide by providing more of the population with access to the internet. Raha has already introduced over 150 free Wi-fi hotspots across all major cities in Tanzania, which are currently enjoyed by over 150,000 unique users.
“With Liquid Telecom’s support, Raha can explore new ways to increase connectivity within Tanzania as well as to the rest of the region. We will also benefit from the group’s skills and expertise, helping us to achieve our vision of a more connected Tanzania,” says Aashiq Shariff, CEO, Raha. “Our rollout plans will allow us to extend fibre coverage to thousands of new customers and create hundreds of new jobs.”
One of the first companies to bring internet to Tanzania when it launched as a dial-up service in 1996, Raha was also the first company in Tanzania to offer dial-up access, VSAT services, fixed wireless, cable-based internet, WiMAX and finally fibre.
It operates a 400km metro fibre optic network throughout the Central Business District (CBD) of Dar es Salaam as well as other areas of the Tanzania capital.