Under the terms, the funding will be used to accelerate national network roll-out, including equipment and services provided by Alcatel Lucent and Ericsson, a full MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) network, a London Point of Presence and expanded international backhaul services, and to fund operational expenditure and working capital.
Smile’s objective is to become the broadband provider of choice for super-fast data and clear voice in each of its markets and to provide over 300 million potential customers in its four countries of operation with a fast, reliable and high quality platform to accelerate development and wealth creation. There is persuasive evidence linking broadband to job creation; the Brookings Institution states that “for every one percentage point increase in broadband penetration, employment is projected to increase by 0.2 to 0.3 percent per year.” Furthermore, according to the Broadband Strategies Handbook by The World Bank, “a 10 percent increase in the penetration rate of broadband in developing countries is associated with a 1.4 percent increase in GDP per capita.”
The funding is one of the largest capital raises ever for a telecommunications operator in Africa and brings the total funding committed to Smile since its founding in 2007 to approximately USD600 million.
Darisami International Consultancy Ltd acted as financial advisor to Smile.
Irene Charnley, Chief Executive Officer of Smile, said, “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 narrowband services available to date, including how to effectively manage the superior experience in terms of data consumption.”