Africa Online Buys Egypt’s Second Largest ISP
Pan-African Internet Service Provider, Africa Online, has extended its operations into North Africa by acquiring MenaNet Communications, the second largest ISP in Egypt, according to a press release by Africa Online.
The $8.7 million deal gives Africa Online a foothold in North Africa and the Middle East and adds Egypt, one of the most important markets in Africa, to a network that already covers eight countries - Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, said the release.
Under the terms of the agreement, Africa Online said, MenaNet Communications will become a fully owned subsidiary of Africa Online. Africa Online’s services to the Middle East and North Africa will be offered under the “MenaNet” brand name, while maintaining the “Africa Online” brand for services to sub-Saharan countries.
MenaNet began trading in April 1999 and has quickly established itself as a leading ISP in Egypt with 60 employees, over 7,300 dial-up subscribers and over 9,000 users on Freenet, a toll-based Internet access service operated on a revenue sharing basis with Telecom Egypt. The company has a service network that extends to Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, 6th of October city, Hurghada, Assiut and Sinai as well as superior technical infrastructure for high speed Internet access and extensive value added services that include Web Mail, e-calender, Global Roaming, ISDN and XDSL service.
In addition to traditional ISP internet access services, MenaNet has formed a joint venture with Nile Sat to provide Egypt's first readily available broadband Internet infrastructure. The service, known as “MenaSat” uses NileSat's satellite to deliver satellite Internet access to North Africa and the Middle East.
According to the press release of the expanding company, the acquisition of MenaNet, Africa Online now has a combined dial-up user base of over 33,000 subscribers. The Group also runs e-touch®, a program that provides email and Internet access to customers without their own computers through a network of over 700 walk-in centers in urban and rural areas all over Africa. The service has attracted over 26,500 active users in the first 15 months of operation.
Africa Online also recently announced the formation of a joint venture
company with UUNET SA to develop Internet services across 14 countries in Africa. UUNET SA is Southern Africa’s leading Internet-based network service provider and is a joint equity partnership between Datatec Limited and UUNET Technologies of Fairfax, Virginia, the Internet services division of the global technology giant WorldCom. The joint venture is expected to provide Africa Online with access to upgraded network infrastructure for the benefit of its private dial-up subscribers and will allow Africa Online itself to focus more on its consumer activities including the continued roll-out of its e-touch® Centers – Albawaba.com
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