Smile Telecoms raises funding for African 4G network expansion

08 September 2015 |


African operator Smile Telecoms has raised $365 million of debt and equity financing to expand its 4G network.

Smile, which operates 4G networks in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, will use the funding to accelerate its network roll-out, with equipment to be supplied from Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson. The move will also fund an MPLS network and a PoP in London.

The funding includes a $315 million multi-tranche, multi-jurisdictional debt facility led by African Export-Import Bank with participation from the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Diamond Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited and Standard Chartered Bank, as well as $50 million of equity raised from the South African Public Investment Corporation (PIC) on behalf of Government Employees Pension Fund.

It is said to be one of the largest capital raises ever for a telecoms operator in Africa and brings the total funding committed to Smile since its inception in 2007 to approximately $600 million.

“Now that we are fully funded to deliver national coverage of unrivalled super-fast internet access and clear voice services, our priority is to ensure that our customers experience and benefit from the power of high speed mobile broadband compared to the narrow-band services available to date, including how to effectively manage the superior experience in terms of data consumption,” said Irene Charnley, CEO of Smile. 

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