Dimension Data puts internet service provider Mweb up for sale

SOUTH AFRICADimension Data is seeking to sell its Mweb Internet service provider business and has subsequently appointed Standard Bank to lead the sale process, TechCentral has revealed.

The plan to sell the ISP and its customer base comes less than four years after Dimension Data, which is owned by Japan’s NTT, acquired 100% control of Mweb from MultiChoice Group which at the time was owned by Naspers in a deal reported then to be worth about US$8.57 million.

Dimension Data has not released an official statement on the same and it is not known how much the company hopes to raise through the sale.

TechCentral indicated that it has approached several potential suitors, seeking a deal that would keep Mweb users’ data traffic on Dimension Data’s network infrastructure.

Vodacom, MTN and several ISPs have been excluded from taking part in the discussions as these companies would likely want to move the Mweb client base onto their own network platforms.

Mweb was one of South Africa’s first consumer ISPs, founded 1997 and later pioneered uncapped ADSL access.

Dimension Data’s history with Mweb goes back to at least 2014, when Internet Solutions bought Mweb Business as well as the core assets of the Mweb ISP business and Optinet.

“Mweb was one of South Africa’s first consumer ISPs, founded 1997 and later pioneered uncapped ADSL access”

At that time, the parties announced a new joint venture called WirelessCo — later renamed Vast Networks — to build and operate an open-access, carrier-grade Wi-Fi network. Vast Networks was closed in 2019.

The decision to put Mweb up for sale is probably not surprising, given that Dimension Data last year went through a major strategic shake-up, which introduced a new go-to-market strategy that saw longstanding brands such as Internet Solutions and Britehouse folded into the Dimension Data mothership.

At the time of the restructuring announcement, in March 2020, Dimension Data CEO Grant Bodley said the group was still “crystallising” the strategy around Mweb.

He added then that the Mweb brand would remain, albeit “someone separate to the core enterprise business”, at least until the strategy became clearer. 

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