Relative size of multi-tenant data center colocation markets in the Middle East and Africa, by metro market and sub-region, as of 2018. Available data center colo space size is a strong indicator of digital service adoption and maturity.
During the past quarter, the African wholesale space has witnessed Liquid Telecom’s Cape to Cairo agreement, MainOne’s deal with Orange and the commercial launch of Angola Cables’ SACS. On the surface, these developments have little to do with one another. Taken together, we say they mean three things: bandwidth gluts don’t matter anymore, the African opportunity is about more than Africa, and OTT demand will determine (almost) everything.
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.