Bayobab, a subsidiary of the JSE-listed MTN Group, says it well on track to spend over $500 million or R10 billion investment in the expansion of its fibre business into an open-access network.
CEO Frederic Schepens of Bayobab revealed to TechFinancials the company is in transition to separate MTN Group’s fibre business from the GSM network to unlock value within the business, attract strategic partners and comply with local regulation across our key markets.
Schepens highlighted that the company is currently making significant strides in Zambia, where it has rolled out an impressive 4,000 kilometres of fibre.
He added that the company’s focus extends to Nigeria as well, where it possesses a substantial of proprietary fibre. “We’re poised for growth across various regions and domains, including the data sector.”
He added: “Even in South Africa, we are preparing for an assertive expansion of our fibre deployment.”
A significant milestone has been achieved by Bayobab in securing a contract to oversee the management, operation, and maintenance of the national fibre infrastructure within the Central African Republic.
Moreover, Bayobab is diligently expediting Project East2West, an initiative aimed at establishing a terrestrial fibre optic cable network that will bridge the gap between the eastern and western corners of Africa. In a noteworthy development, Bayobab has partnered with Africa50 in May 2023, pooling resources to energize Project East2West. The partnership commits a substantial investment of up to $320 million or R6 billion over the years 2023 through 2025, fostering connectivity across ten African nations.
Schepens acknowledged the ongoing progress by stating, “There is a lot of work in progress”.
Bayobab’s operational footprint stretches across numerous countries, encompassing Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Cote D’Ivoire, and South Africa. Schepens envisions that the successful implementation of Project East2West will provide a springboard for the company’s expansion into additional countries.
During the first half of 2023, Bayobab achieved a significant milestone by deploying approximately 3,000 kilometres of new fibre, resulting in an impressive cumulative proprietary fibre inventory of 108,000 kilometres as of June 30, 2023, and enjoys access to 16 submarine cables circled around the African continent.
Furthermore, Bayobab has secured International Network License in Zambia, paving the way for Cross-Border Fibre capacity transit, connecting with neighbouring countries through its extensive fibre network.
Bayobab operates through two distinct subsidiaries: Bayobab Communications Platform and Bayobab Fibre. The former serves as a central interconnection node facilitating secure and scalable global communication traffic.
Bayobab is fervently focused on monetising MTN Group’s fibre assets by strategically transitioning them into an open-access network.
As part of its growth strategy, Bayobab has established the Bayobab Customer Success Centre in Ghana, featuring a Service Operations Centre (SOC) and a Network Operations Centre (NOC) dedicated to servicing its continental business. Commencing operations on September 1, 2022, the centre has generated valuable local job opportunities while delivering uninterrupted support.
As a neutral fibre-focused business, Bayobab is committed to providing digital infrastructure and communication services, empowering telecom operators, hyperscalers, and digital infrastructure service providers with full control over their networks. The Open Access model allows these entities to choose their preferred transmission technologies, such as SDH, Ethernet, and DWDM.