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New open-access company to unite Dark Fibre Africa and Vumatel

Raymond Ndlovu.jpg

Two of South Africa’s fibre infrastructure companies are to come under unified control.

Both the companies, Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) and Vumatel, were owned by Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH), but under the new plan Dietlof Mare, CEO of Vumatel, will take control of both.

Vodacom, the South African offshoot of the Vodafone group, took a stake in both fibre companies in November 2021. Then Vodacom took a 30% equity interest in a newly formed entity into which all of the material assets currently owned by DFA and Vumatel will be transferred, in addition to certain Vodacom owned fibre assets.

The new parent of DFA and Vumatel has not yet been named.

According to the Ecofin news agency, each of the two companies will initially continue to operate separately. CIVH CEO Raymond Ndlovu (pictured), said: “The fibre-to-the-home [FTTH] market is constantly changing, especially in the open access environment, and fibre network operators need to be able to keep pace.”

South African regulators have not yet approved Vodacom’s acquisition of a stake in DFA and Vumatel.

According to Ecofin, the creation of the new infrastructure company is expected to enable DFA and Vumatel to meet the growing demand for fibre connectivity and help bridge the digital divide in South Africa.

Ndlovu said: “The creation of this holding company will enable Vumatel and DFA to expand their open-access network infrastructure to meet customer needs, with the ultimate goal of connecting more of South Africa to high-capacity fixed-line infrastructure.”

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