Not much opportunity for Wi-Fi network acquisitions in South Africa

There is not much opportunity for acquisitions in the South African Wi-Fi space for VAST Networks, CEO Grant Marais told MyBroadband.

Marais said the owners of VAST – a joint venture between Dimension Data and Naspers – see opportunity in the technology, however, and continue to fund the growth of the company.
Earlier this year, there were rumours that VAST Networks was up for sale. Dimension Data and Naspers declined to comment on the matter.

On the topic of acquiring companies, Marais said they are very circumspect about using third-party infrastructure.

He said when VAST was formed, it acquired the network assets of its two owners – AlwaysOn and MWEB.

It changed the architecture of the two networks into something fundamentally different, he said.

“Our network looks more like that of a mobile network operator’s now. We have a carrier-grade network,” said Marais.

Perception of Wi-Fi

Marais said there has been a legacy of poor delivery from certain Wi-Fi brands in South Africa, and VAST is trying to change the consumer’s perception of the technology.

There also are not many players left from the Wi-Fi landscape that used to exist in South Africa.

“A lot of those players have evolved into something else,” said Marais.

As a result of these factors, there may not be an opportunity for VAST to make acquisitions.

Even if an opportunity comes up, VAST would first have to look at how to adapt the company – and its network architecture – to meet its performance standards.