Kuwait’s MTC sets up $10.5B Africa investment fund

Mobile Telecommunication Company Group (MTC) of Kuwait is setting up a US$10.5 billion investment fund to expand mobile telecom operations in Africa through Celtel International.

MTC owns Celtel, a mobile phone service provider with a presence in 14 African countries including Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among other African countries.

With the fund, Celtel Africa becomes the first mobile service provider in Africa to invest such a sum of money in network improvement and expansion.

“We have embarked on an issue of becoming a global company hence we have to double our coverage by investing in latest technology,” according to Saad Al- Barrak, managing director of MTC, in a statement.

Last month, the company announced it was embarking on an expansion program code-named Acceleration, Consolidation, Expansion (ACE), aimed at tripling the company’s customer base to 70 million subscribers by 2011. Celtel Africa currently has about 25 million subscribers.

Celtel has already started discussing the company’s development plan with African leaders. Last week, Al-Barrak was in Uganda where he discussed the expansion program President Yoweri Museveni.

Although shareholders manage MTC, the Kuwait government has 24.6 percent stake in the company.

The Africa telecom development funds are expected to be spent this year in various countries in Africa where Celtel Africa has a presence, according to Al-Barrak.

Celtel is currently facing a serious challenge in Africa from Mobile Telecommunication Network of South Africa, which has the largest mobile network in Africa.

Celtel is the third biggest mobile provider in Africa after Vodacom, also of South Africa.

Celtel expects revenue to hit $6 billion by 2011. It posted $2.93 billion in revenue for the nine months ending Sept. 30 last year.

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