AMN in $550m African network upgrade

AMN in $550m African network upgrade

Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) has announced it is to invest US$550 million in building mobile network infrastructure for operators throughout Sub-Saharan Africa over the next three years.

The investment is intended to fill the current gap in many developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa between the population currently served by mobile network services and the total population which can be served economically.

The company will initially build 5,000 base stations across 12 countries, which will serve a population of some 40 million people and generate a projected 20 million new subscribers in the region, worth US$650 million in airtime revenues per annum.

“AMN offers a compelling and risk-free proposition for mobile operators, to extend the operator’s existing coverage deep into the rural areas and acquire new subscribers and generate incremental revenues with guaranteed margins and no capex,” the company said in a press statement.

AMN said it will build and operate mobile base stations which include 2G and 3G at no cost to the operator, providing network access to subscribers in rural areas which are not served by any operators. Partnerships will be based around a simple revenue-share commercial model.

The company says AMN technology is proven and has been widely deployed throughout Africa, where it has been integrated by many operators.

“Mobile base stations in commercial service in rural Africa today are generating up to 400,000 voice minutes of traffic per month with an average across all sites so far commercially deployed of 240,000 voice minutes and 6,000 SMS per month from an average population of 4,400 people,” AMN said.

It said the technology is generally compatible for remote areas.

“The AMN technology is highly-optimised for rural applications, where the requirement is for large cell sizes with low capacity and also very high reliability.”

Some of the features of AMN technology include high-power (10W) transmitters combined with 30-metre towers for a maximum range of up to 10 kilometres and coverage of up to 300 square kilometres with a single base station.

AMN is raising US$375 million in new investment, as a combination of both equity and debt, to fund the project.

Image courtesy of shutterstock

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