HomeAccessAMN, Intelsat and Orange to mobilise Mali from June

    AMN, Intelsat and Orange to mobilise Mali from June


    AMN to build 5000 towers in 15 African nations by 2023

    Nine years after its launch UK-based infrastructure building start-up Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) is connecting rural areas of seven nations, reports Quentin Velluet in the Africa ReportThe Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, South Africa, and Uganda have all benefited from AMN-built infrastructure that reaches into remote corners of inaccessible areas. Now the Milton Keynes start up is preparing to move into Mali after signing a partnership with Intelsat and Orange Mali in March. Their joint objective is to connect rural areas in a vast continent where 19% of the territory still has no mobile telephony.

    Widening coverage

    Founded in 2013 by CEO Michael Darcy, AMN has built 2,000 mobile towers in eleven countries with $100m raised from twenty investors, including satellite operator Intelsat and social network giant Facebook (AKA Meta). The latest financial injection comes from South African private equity firm Metier, which led a round that brought together France’s Proparco, the UK’s CDC Group and the German Investment Corporation in a $36m fundraising round that closed in July 2021. “The sum should enable AMN, to expand its coverage to 3,500 towers by the end of 2022 and more than 5,000 in over 15 countries by the end of 2023,” said an AMN spokesperson. As a policy, the company insists on a 20% employee shareholding.

    Compact design

    AMN’s creative edge comes from optimising the laborious and expensive functions of the telecoms tower business. Whereas a traditional player like IHS Towers use giant elevations that need at least $100,000 to assemble and must be powered regularly by diesel, AMN uses smaller constructions that can be installed in a day. They are just as capable of capturing Intelsat’s satellite waves and deliver speeds between 2G and 4G.
    “In rural areas, success is based on logistics, and this kind of optimization makes it possible to be profitable in areas covering between 1,500 and 5,000 people,” said Jean-Philippe Gillet, Intelsat’s senior vice president for international sales.