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Africa’s biggest public wifi company to close as sale talks fail

Vast Networks, which is majority owned by MultiChoice, will go into liquidation next week.

The company that runs Africa’s largest public wifi network is being liquidated after the unprofitable business failed to secure new investors.

The demise of Vast Networks is a blow to its majority owner, South African entertainment company MultiChoice Group, which was spun off from Africa’s biggest company, Naspers, earlier this year. Vast’s other shareholder is Dimension Data, a Johannesburg-based unit of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp.

Vast Networks will go into liquidation next week after 18 months of sale talks ended in failure and other alternatives were exhausted, a spokesman said by email. Fiber-optic infrastructure company Link Africa had previously discussed buying it for R450 million, Bloomberg reported in January.

“No agreement could be concluded, and the board is satisfied that all alternative options have now been exhausted,” the spokesman said. “Despite all our efforts, a sustainable and profitable business model could not be established, and the company continued to incur monthly trading losses almost from its inception.”

MultiChoice declined further comment.

Public wifi operators seek to turn a profit by charging customers for access, selling their usage data to third parties or selling advertising that’s seen by users. The services often compete directly with the mobile data networks and wifi services of big telecommunication groups.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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I think Multichoice already knew this was coming and possibly have already or will build this into the cost for subscribers for their bad investment choices.

It is getting clearer by day why Multichoice was unbandled from the bigger Naspers/Prosus scheme of things…

You mean all those sub-inflation increases? You seem salty that your salary is not keeping up with your viewing needs.

Who wants to buy the purchasing data of people who can’t afford internet access?

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