JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – African mobile internet firm Smile Telecoms has raised $365 million to fund the expansion of high-speed broadband networks, it said on Tuesday, the latest firm to jockey for a position in the continent’s fast-growing mobile consumer market.
Telecoms and Internet companies are expanding in Africa to take advantage of the growing demand for data heavy services as more affordable smartphones encourage consumers to browse the internet, stream videos and download applications.
Mauritius-based Smile Telecoms said it would use the funds to extend its existing 4G LTE mobile broadband network in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda and also launch the network in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016.
The money was raised through a $50 million equity sale to Public Investment Corporation, a South African state-owned firm that manages more than 1.6 trillion rand on behalf of civil servants.
The rest of the funding was raised via debt from a group of investors that included Egypt’s African Export-Import Bank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, Diamond Bank plc and Standard Chartered Bank.