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ESWATINI MOBILE TO INVEST E500M

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EZULWINI – Eswatini Mobile intends to invest E500 million to give customers a First World communication service.


The 100 per cent Eswatini owned company has disclosed that the anticipated investment could be raised from an injection from a strategic shareholder and through the sale of shares to be listed to on the Eswatini Stock Exchange (ESE) soon after the company’s listing approval.


Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeff Penberton said the investment of E0.5 billion expected to be undertaken over the next six months will bring the total ammount invested to E1.1 billion.


He stated that through shareholders funds, short, medium and long term debt to date, up to E600 million had already been pumped into the business.
It should be mentioned that current shareholders of the mobile telephony company are: Cherrybite (PTY) Ltd, Stage 1 Communications (PTY) Ltd, Eswatini National Provident Fund (ENPF), Industrial Development Company of Eswatini (IDCE), Swazi Mobile Trust Limited, Members of Parliament and Designated Office Bearers Pension Fund together with ESJ Software Limited.


Explained


Penberton explained that out of the E600 million, 70 per cent of the total amount had been used on network coverage while 30 per cent went to set up and operational costs.


 “The anticipated investment of up to E1.1 billion speaks to the determination and commitment to provide our loyal customers with world class service,” Penberton assured during the breakfast meeting with editors convened at Royal Villas yesterday.  


When probed as to who the strategic investor was, Penberton could only say; “for now we are not in a position to disclose. We will make the official announcement in due course.”


In justification of the investment through debt, Penberton clarified that the telecommunications industry was capital intensive. He stated that it was normal for telecommunications companies to be partly capitalised through seeking funding from external financiers.


Capitalise


In putting his point across that seeking debt to capitalise a telecommunications company makes financial sense, Penberton made an example of South Africa’s giant telecoms entity, Cell C.

The CEO said at some point owed up to E27 billion but due to the provision of world class telecommunications services, excellent customer service and confidence in their product offering they managed to eventually break even and further make profits.


“Our affordable voice and data plans have accelerated First World communications services in Eswatini,” Penberton pronounced           
The highly experienced telecoms expert who leads the second mobile operator with over 120 000 active customers also made a commitment to continue improving their customer service offering.


From the total number of active customers, Penberton said 80 per cent are on pre-paid and 20 per cent on post-paid.
It should be mentioned that Eswatini Mobile became the first company to provide voice Voice-Over-LTE (VoLTE) and Video-Over-LTE (ViLTE) on 4G in the kingdom.
Incorporated
Eswatini Mobile Limited was incorporated in the Kingdom of Eswatini on the May 13, 2016.
The registered office of the company is on Plot 15/16, Corner Gwamile and Mdada Street, Mbabane.
Eswatini Mobile was setup as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to apply for a licence to build and operate a mobile telecommunication network in the Kingdom of Eswatini.
In October 2016, Eswatini Communication Commission (ESCCOM) called on all interested companies to bid for a telecommunications operator’s license. Bids were submitted, evaluated and the final decision selecting Eswatini Mobile Limited as the winner was announced on the December 2016.
The licence was awarded to Eswatini Mobile formerly known as Swazi Mobile Limited in February 2017.

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