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banner Smile – a telecom company that delivers affordable, high-quality and easy-to-use broadband internet access and communications services to its customers across Africa has raised $365 million through debt and equity financing to expand its broadband network in Africa . The company, which already operates LTE networks in Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania, says it will launch in another Africa country, the Democratic Republic of Congo early next year.

Smile has  raised $600 million since it was founded in 2007. Its latest round is composed of $50 million in equity from the Public Investment Corporation, which invests on behalf of the South African Government Employees Pension Fund, and $315 million in debt financing led by the African Export-Import Bank, with participation from the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Diamond Bank PLC, Ecobank Nigeria, the PIC, the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited and Standard Chartered Bank.

 The company claimed to have more than 300 million potential customers in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and the DR Congo. Internet penetration in all four of Smile’s markets is still low (Nigeria has the highest rate at 38 percent, followed by Uganda at 23 percent, Tanzania at 14 percent, and DR Congo at 6.5 percent), so increasing the availability of speedy mobile connections can help more people go online, especially when combined with increased smartphone ownership.

banner (1)As technology improved, Smile evolved to focus on mobile broadband internet using 4G LTE technology, and it was with great pride that we launched Africa’s first 4G LTE broadband internet service in Tanzania, in March 2012. Smile’s Tanzanian customers experience 4G LTE broadband internet service in Dar es Salaam and Arusha, with Dodoma and Mwanza receiving coverage in early 2014.

In Uganda, Smile’s 4G LTE broadband internet service covers the capital, Kampala (including Entebbe) and Mukono. Jinja (the source of the Nile) and Mbale will be the next cities to enjoy the benefits of our superfast internet.

Nigerians living in Ibadan, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Lagos already enjoy the country’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE broadband internet service, brought to them by Smile. More

The next country to join the Smile network will be the Democratic Republic of Congo (the DRC). We are hard at work to ensure that our 4G LTE broadband internet service goes live in the major centres within the DRC in 2014.

b5 Smile new funding will help Smile to build its infrastructure and compete against rivals such as Swift, Spectranet, MTN, Airtel, Telefonica, and Orange. Its existing LTE networks will expand to match the coverage of Smile Telecoms’ 3G networks by the end of this year.

Smile founded in 2007 by Irene Charnley. Irene Charnley, aged 65years old  is a social entrepreneur and widely respected telecoms visionary who was instrumental in transforming MTN into one of the most respected telecommunications operators in the EMEA region. She brings a wealth of strategic, business development and operational experience in the telecommunications arena from her top executive positions held within the MTN Group. She achieved a full listing of MTN Holdings through M-Cell Limited and played a leading role in its transformation into one of the pre-eminent black-empowered companies on the JSE. Prior to MTN, Irene was an Executive Director of the industrial conglomerate, Johnnic Holdings.

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