Exclusive: HeroTel expands to the Free State
Hero Telecoms (HeroTel) has continued its acquisition drive, expanding into the Free State for the first time with the acquisition of Bloemfontein-based Ntelecom for an undisclosed amount.
Ntelecom is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP), offering high speed Internet connections via both wireless and fibre. It covers a large part of the Free State, including Bloemfontein, Philippolis, Ficksburg and as far west as Koffiefontein, with plans to expand to Welkom and Kimberley in the Northern Cape during 2019.
Jaco van der Walt and Bernie van der Walt (no relation) founded the business in 2008 after attempting to source a new telephone system for their computer wholesale business. The process introduced them to the world of VoIP. From there the business expanded into building and selling last mile wireless networks, growing quickly to 32 staff members, servicing both home and business clients across the province.
"We are very excited to expand our business into the Free State," HeroTel chairman Alan Knott-Craig Jnr told ITWeb exclusively.
"We have been looking for a while for the right partner in this part of the world. The team at Ntelecom share our vision of a future where everyone is connected. There is a tremendous amount of work to do in addressing the historic underspend by the telco industry in the Free State. We believe that we have found partners with the drive and energy to tackle this task. We look forward to seeing the difference that they can make with fresh capital and additional skills behind them," Knott-Craig adds.
HeroTel CFO, Francois Wessels calls the Ntelecom team "smart, energetic and keen to grow their operations into new areas".
"It is an excellent base for HeroTel to expand into Bloemfontein and the rest of the Free State. Together we can open exciting new markets with fibre and wireless deployments, bringing fast and affordable internet to the cities and rural communities there," Wessels adds.
"We have always wanted to expand beyond our current base, but it was a constant choice between continuous investment into our existing network or new frontiers. With HeroTel we now have the backing to be able to do both," says Ntelecom general manager, Rudi van der Walt.
Ntelecom is HeroTel's 32nd acquisition completed and in line with its strategy to date, there are no planned changes to management or staff at the company.
The HeroTel Alliance now has expanded coverage via its WISPs in Gauteng, the North West, Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and surrounds, making it South Africa's largest wireless Internet service provider and one of the fastest growing fibre players in the country.