Telecom operators, Airtel Ghana and Tigo, have signed an agreement to seal their merger. The two companies, Millicom International Cellular SA [Tigo], and Bharti Airtel, commenced talks in 2016, but finalized it in 2017.
Per the agreement, Millicom and Airtel would have equal ownership and governance rights in the combined entity. The combined business is expected to serve nearly 10 million customers, of which 5.6 million are data customers. The move, which is also aimed at providing about 80% of Ghana’s population with high speed data, providing the widest 3G coverage across the country, has revenue of about $300m. Meanwhile, a statement from the two entities said the transaction is subject to obtaining approval from the relevant authorities in Ghana, and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
By integrating the two networks, the combined business is expected to provide Ghanaian customers with a major boost in both rural and urban network coverage –in turn translating into better voice quality, high speed data services and reinforced network stability and resilience. “With the combined fibre footprint and increased data centres, enterprise customers including both, large corporations and SMEs, would have access to a diverse portfolio of world class solutions.
Mobile Financial Services is also expected to be greatly enhanced with combined agent networks and platforms,” the statement added. The merger is expected to push the new entity to be the second biggest telecom operator in Ghana. Mohamed Dabbour, Executive Vice President, Millicom Africa at the signing in ceremony said: “In a highly fragmented telecom market, this deal represents a major milestone for our business in Ghana. The combination of Tigo and Airtel will create an operator that will be ableto offer Ghanaian consumers and businesses a state of the art network with high speed mobile data coverage. This transaction underlines confidence in the Ghanaian economy, and provides the opportunity to develop nationwide digital infrastructure and services in Ghana.”
Raghunath Mandava, MD and CEO, Airtel Africa, said: “The agreement highlights our commitment to the Ghana market and our customers. The coming together of the two entities will benefit customers, who can now enjoy an extensive combined network and a wider range of affordable and innovative products and services. It will further strengthen our position in the market and offer huge benefits arising out of synergies in operations, resulting in better experience for the customers.”