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South Africa Overview

Our most recent entry, and also the most mature of our markets, South Africa is the economic powerhouse of sub-Saharan Africa.

South Africa boasts a relatively high mobile penetration of 67% of its 58 million population, but this is still well below the G7 average of 85%. The country also shows very high smartphone ownership, resulting in increasing demand for mobile data.

Independent forecasts suggest mobile subscriptions will grow 2% annually to 2026, driving demand for 8,000 additional PoS over the same period.

Pertinent regulatory initiatives include the ECA Amendment Bill which requires service providers with at least 25%of South Africa’s network infrastructure to share their networks with competitors. There have been delays to spectrum allocation over recent years, with the 2019 auction likely to release some pent-up demand in the coming years for new infrastructure rollouts that make use of the new capacity. 5G trials have begun and should drive demand further.

The market supports four main mobile operators, with the players Vodacom, MTN and Cell C joined most recently by Telkom in 2010, which remains the smaller challenger. All of the MNOs have received 4G licences to add to their 2G and 3G spectrum, driving network investment in new PoS.

Helios Towers is one of several players in the competitive towerco market. We entered South Africa in 2019 through a partnership with Vulatel. Shortly afterwards we announced the acquisition of SA Towers, and with it a pipeline of 500 site locations.


HT Q3 2020 KPIs


191 sites  353 Tenants  1.85x Tenancy Ratio


Sainesh Vallabh CEO Southern Africa
Marinus Gieselbach Managing Director
Sean Swanson Commercial Director
Jannie Hamilton Head of Legal
Stefan van der Merwe Finance Director