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.
The weight of governments in the African terrestrial fibre business is increasing. African government have committed around $1.7bn to building fibre backbone networks since 2010, according to data from our new terrestrial fibre report. In many markets, the government is the largest holder of terrestrial fibre capacity, a trend that carries significant implications as Africa seeks to enter the 4G and 5G eras. Is this a sustainable solution to reducing Africa’s growing urban/rural broadband divide? It’s complicated.