Spacecom buys part of Nuran Wireless to strengthen Africa operations

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TAMPA, Fla. — Israeli satellite operator Spacecom is buying a 9.3% stake in rural connectivity provider Nuran Wireless to deepen its presence across Africa.

The $3.2 million deal includes exclusive rights for providing satellite capacity and bandwidth to Canada-based Nuran’s future operations in Africa, where Spacecom provides services with its Amos-17 spacecraft. 

It also covers managed services contracts Nuran has to extend French telco Orange’s mobile network in Cameroon and Congo.

“The companies’ combined expertise and experience will ignite the potential of the rural market,” Nuran CEO Francis Letourneau said.

“Over one-third of the African population needs mobile and broadband connectivity that leads to significant growth to be captured.”

The deal is subject to Nuran and Spacecom agreeing on terms that would make the Israeli company its exclusive satellite capacity provider for future projects in Africa, including 120 sites in Cameroon and 2,000 sites in Congo.

In an April 29 update, Nuran said higher than anticipated population densities in areas it plans to deploy its solar-powered wireless base stations have increased deployment costs.

In Cameroon where it plans to deploy 242 wireless tower sites in total, it said 48 were on course to be fully operational in September and 74 in December. 

Nuran, which at the time said it had not determined locations for the remaining 120 sites, has a backhaul managed services agreement with French satellite operator Eutelsat in the country. 

Nuran’s Congo contract covers 2,000 sites in total, and it said April 29 that it was still evaluating 3,000 potential locations.

In 2020, the company was forced to significantly restructure its debt and streamline operations amid tough pandemic-related economic conditions.

The agreement with Spacecom comes as 4iG, the Hungary-based IT and communications company, seeks to buy 51% of the satellite operator for about $65 million.