Ghana's Surfline gets $15M from Germany's DEG for LTE expansion

Surfline, which launched the first LTE network in Ghana, has received $15 million (€13.6 million) in funding from a German investment company for the expansion of its mobile network.

Vantage Capital, a mezzanine debt provider in Africa, said Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) is providing the $15 million as part of an overall $30 million investment agreed with Vantage last year.

While Vantage had already announced in November it would invest $30 million in Surfline with a co-investor, it has only just been able to reveal that DEG is the investor in question. The German company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the KfW Group, with a mission to promote business initiative in developing and emerging market countries.

"We believe that the investment in Surfline will contribute to improve internet connectivity in Ghana and as such be an important factor to bridge the digital divide," said Gunnar Stork, director of equity and mezzanine for Africa and Latin America at DEG.

Vantage said it welcomed DEG as a co-investor in Surfline, describing it as "one of the most exciting deals out of the over 600 investment opportunities we have reviewed in the past five years."

Surfline launched its LTE network in Ghana in 2014. Like Smile Communications, which has launched LTE services in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, the company is part of a new breed of data-only LTE players in Africa.

The Ghana-based company also has ambitions to expand beyond its current market in Ghana, where it is targeting 150,000 customers before the end of the year. "We plan to expand the Surfline network into other parts of the West Africa sub region within the shortest possible time and explore other opportunities within the continent," the company told FierceWireless:Europe in March.

Both Surfline and Smile also said they have been surprised by the high demand for their services.

"One of the surprises since our launch is the realisation that the people's hunger and appetite for 4G LTE data increases as more and more people identify new and improved ways to use the data for their everyday activities," Surfline said.

For more:
- see this Vantage Capital release

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