Should African MNOs sell their fibre assets?

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As African mobile network operators (MNOs) continue to grapple with transforming their operating models, one option is getting stronger consideration: selling off the fibre infrastructure assets. In theory, this would help MNOs do three things: generate immediate cash, unlock under-exploited value in their metro and interurban fibre assets, and help reduce their long-term CapEx requirements, thus improving their business models.

African MNOs would certainly have the assets to sell, should they choose to do so. Data from our Africa Terrestrial Fibre service shows that mobile operators control around 100,000 kms of metro and interurban fibre across sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa). This is around a third of the total fibre deployed in the region outside of South Africa. In about half of 20 Sub-Saharan African markets examined for this analysis, MNOs are the largest holders of terrestrial fibre capacity.

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