(Ecofin Agency) - In Africa, rural zones are poorly covered by telecom infrastructures despite their crucial role in successful digital transformations. VANU and Loofca Ltd want to provide operators with the infrastructures required to offer their services to residents of those zones.
Vanu Wireless Nigeria Limited -a subsidiary of U.S. firm Vanu Inc.- and Loofca International Limited signed a partnership agreement last Monday. Under the agreement, the two partners will deploy 10,000 mast sites to connect African rural communities to telecom services.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Olufemi Olukoya, managing director of Loofca International Ltd, described the project as an important step in connecting millions of Africa's rural populations to the world. “Within a space of three to five years, we are looking to deploy about ten thousand sites across Africa and we are looking for about 2000 in rural areas in Nigeria,” he said.
In the framework of the project, only Vanu’s proprietary technology, which is specifically designed for rural areas, will be deployed. After deployment, the sites will be available for use for Tier 1 operators such as MTN, Orange, Glo, Airtel, and Vodacom, which will then be able to offer voice and data services in the regions covered.
“We decided to partner with Loofca because they are spread across countries in Africa and their wide reach. They are very much inclined to generate a sort of employment for rural communities and that can be possible by connecting these communities to the outside world,” explains Anoj Singh, vice-president of VANU Inc.
“Together, the technology divide which is currently there, we are going to minimize this by deploying solutions to connect unconnected rural communities in Africa,” he added.
Currently, in Africa, some operators are looking for ways to offer their services to rural and uncovered communities. At the same time, others are leasing or selling their unused telecom infrastructure while others are creating whole divisions dedicated to the management of those infrastructures. In 2021, for instance, Airtel launched a process aimed at selling its telecom tower located in several countries (including Madagascar, Malawi, Chad, and Gabon) to Helios Towers.
Isaac K. Kassouwi