Connectivity, especially in rural parts of South Africa is spotty at best. This as a fragmented network of independent operators usually work in these areas, which is something that local telecommunications firm Herotel is acutely aware of.
In order to address connectivity imbalance the firm has announced that it is consolidating its fibre assets and leading WISP (wireless internet service provider) brands under the Herotel name with a new national trademark.
“Over the last five years, Herotel has been quietly acquiring over 40 owner-operated businesses, which until now remained trading under their original brands. The plan has always been to unite these companies into a single national entity, which can then use its scale to bring about meaningful change to an industry that desperately needs a shake-up,” says Herotel CEO, Van Zyl Botha (pictured below).
“While the fragmented local internet market has served a vital role in connecting underserviced regions of South Africa, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. By consolidating the market, Herotel is unlocking this collective value; amassing the scale and capabilities necessary to address the ongoing industry issues that prevent the national availability of internet,” he adds.
Botha also notes that Herotel currently services around 83 000 home and business internet users across the country, with a network that operates in more than 400 towns.
This enables the firm to build, sell and maintaining its own next-generation fibre and fixed-wireless networks across South Africa, which allows it to service areas that many other industry players have not been able to reach.
“We are very happy to let our competitors fight it out in Sandton and Sea Point while we quietly build fibre and wireless networks in the more underserviced areas. These have included larger towns like Potchefstroom, Worcester, Port Elizabeth, Klerksdorp, and East London, as well as rural towns that others would never consider, like Queenstown, Cradock, Lichtenburg, and Wolmaransstad,” Botha highlights.
“Our operators all live in the towns we connect, so if your home internet is down it is also down at our staff’s homes. We are woven into the communities we connect and will continue to invest into and serve them to the best of our abilities,” he concludes.
It remains to be seen how this latest chapter will play out for Herotel, and whether it can make inroads in addressing underserviced parts of the country, but it cannot be argued that these areas are in need of connectivity.