Connectivity. Communication. Convergence.

Connectivity. Communication. Convergence.

Connectivity. Communication. Convergence. 768 512 Tamela

During March 2024, South Africa was plunged into a digital blackout following an internet outage which affected mobile network operators (“MNOs”) and cloud services, impacting Microsoft and other critical platforms (WhatsApp and X!).

Although the digital “loadshedding” was restored within hours, the sudden inability to access people or information left some of us thinking the sky had fallen. The experience highlighted how reliant society has become on internet services; and the importance of the telecommunications sector in enabling humans to connect (fibre), communicate (towers/masts) and converge physical and virtual data (data centres).


Recent months have seen a hive of activity in the digital infrastructure space. On March 24, 2024 Actis announced the sale of its fibre operator, Octotel to a consortium led by the African Infrastructure Investment Managers (“AIIM”). The purchase consideration was undisclosed; however, Actis acquired Octotel for R2.3bn in 2020 when it reported 56,000 homes passed. This has since grown to 110,000 – almost 2x at entry hinting at a higher exit valuation. Additionally, this trajectory demonstrates continued growth in the Fibre-to-the-Home (“FTTH”) space and potentially value accretion in valuation multiples.


A few days before selling Octotel, Actis, alongside Royal Bafokeng Holdings, led a consortium in the acquisition of Swiftnet (towers business) from Telkom for R6,75bn. It is noted that Telkom’s sale of Swiftnet mirrors the industry’s trend of MNOs selling towers to focus on their core competencies. This trend may lead to a larger market of tower operators, offering innovation in communication infrastructure and methods of reducing network downtime, particularly in emerging markets given unreliable power supply and low levels of broadband penetration.


Data centres are the culmination of connectivity and communication and their prominence (driven by demand) has increased, attracting some of the Magnificent Seven tech companies to Africa. Developed markets boast close to 1,000MW in-service capacity, compared to 250MW in Africa, which offers meaningful growth prospects for the continent. In response to loadshedding, South African data centres are constructing solar farms, providing stable power supply to data centres, thus integrating technology with energy efficiencies.

There is much happening in the space of telecommunications and excitingly, more to follow.

How can we help?

Tamela Capital Partners is one of few credit-oriented alternative asset managers in Sub-Saharan Africa. It provides funding of between R50m to R200m to companies seeking growth capital in various sectors, including telecommunications.

For more information contact Thato Tsita on +27117834907 or

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