Telkom has acquired 100% of MWeb Africa and majority equity stake in MWeb Namibia. MWeb's South African operations are unaffected by the transaction.
The purchase price for the MWeb Africa group, including AFSAT and MWeb Namibia is $63-million (about R610-million).
The shareholdings will be acquired from Multichoice Africa Limited and MIH Holdings Limited respectively, which are bth members of the Naspers Limited Group.
MWeb Africa is an Internet services provider in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) and also provides network access services in some countries.
Although its operations are largely focused on corporate customers, MWeb Africa`s predominantly satellite-based Internet access offerings allows the company to reach a wide range of customers, many of whom are not reached by traditional fixed-line infrastructures.
The MWeb Africa group is headquartered in Mauritius with operations in Namibia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, an agency arrangement in
Botswana and distributors in 26 sub-Saharan African countries.
Frost & Sullivan ICT industry analyst Lindsey Mc Donald says the transaction gives the market a good indications of Telkom's future plans.
"The fact that the operator has made this announcement within just days of another relating to the disposal of its stake in Vodacom (freeing it up to persue a more focused market strategy), means that the operator is very quickly gearing up to move into the African telecommunications space," Mc Donald says.
"During a recent media interview, Telkom CEO Reuben September announced that the company is looking at opportunities within South Africa as well so the domestic market should not be taken for granted.
"The provision of converged services is likely to characterise the operator's push into the African continent."
Frost & Sullivan expects Telkom to target the enterprise and public sector space more aggressively as this presents the best option for growth.
"While the operator faces some criticisim and competition in this segment in the domestic market, its expertise could be perceived as advanced by other African clients, establishing it in a favourable position," Mc Donald says.
"Telkom is showing that it is willing to spend its newly earned cash and there are likley to be some more interesting announcements following hot on the heels of this one."