Global sector specialisation
In Africa, the sector presents multifaceted opportunities across telecommunication and tower infrastructure sharing, media and technology.
Standard Bank has a long history in the sector and concluded the first major telecommunications transaction in Nigeria in 1998. We work with major multinational operators as they expand across Africa , as well as smaller players that are developing a vibrant industry on the continent.
Following a wave of tower sale and leaseback transactions and a general acceptance of infrastructure sharing as a means of increasing operational efficiency, mobile operators are focusing on developing new and innovative services aimed both at retail and enterprise customers. Data consumption driven by the digitization of social and economic activities has become the new driver of the mobile business model with operators competing to provide fast, reliable and affordable data services. As a result, we are witnessing continued investment into 4G networks as well as the development of long-distance, metro and last-mile fibre networks resulting in a growing number of Fibre-to-the-home and Fibre-to-the-business connections. Mobile money solutions and mobile entertainment are seen as opportunities to increase customer loyalty and to grow ancillary revenues. . Consolidation in the industry is likely to take place as the investments required to build new data-centric networks and continuing competition put pressure on sub-scale players. .
We support mobile and integrated telecoms operators in developing and growing their operations on the continent through a wide range of financial products and services.
Tower infrastructure sharing
Standard Bank has been active in raising capital for the tower industry in Africa since 2010 and has led a number of large debt transactions for all of the players in the sector. We are a respected adviser, on both the buying and selling side, and have executed mandates across key countries on the continent. As the tower industry matures, we have been recognized as a trusted partner to take clients to both the debt and equity capital markets and to assist them in making the transition to their next stage of growth.
The rise of the African consumer is driving growth in the media sector. While it is a relatively fragmented industry at present, we are seeing the emergence of strong country players and regional champions looking at new distribution channels such as mobile devices and OTT platforms. We actively service media companies in the more mature South African market and in the rest of Africa across all facets of media.
The continuing growth in data traffic and on-line consumption of entertainment and information is fuelling the need to store ever increasing amounts of data on the continent. The rapid rise in the number and size of data centres in Africa is a response to this need, further supported by regulation requiring data to be stored locally as a result of data privacy or national security concerns. As economic activities shift on-line and onto digital platforms, we are also seeing greater convergence between telecommunications and technology where partnerships develop to service the growing cloud computing needs of enterprise customers across the continent. Initially, adopted mainly by multinationals or large enterprises, cloud computing and storage is seen more and more as a cost-effective solution also for medium and smaller enterprises.
With a large majority of Africa’s population not having access to bank accounts, Fintech is providing solutions to bridge this gap. Fintech’s mobile banking solutions and agency networks are designed to increase financial inclusion and provide a wider segment of the population with the ability to send and receive payments, make purchases and deposits and ultimately open bank accounts. The widespread adoption of mobile technology, institutional support for digital payments and the proliferation of e-commerce in Africa has spurred the growth of a vibrant fintech sector offering digital solutions to facilitate domestic and international payments, credit and insurance, particularly in the unbanked sector.