Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Ayo Technology Solutions says it plans to participate in the government’s long-delayed spectrum auction using a portion of the funds it raised in December 2017 from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

Following pressure from President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) said last week it planned to auction batches of radio frequencies for 4G services by April 2019. This will fast track the rolling out of the high-speed internet technologies. 

Ayo said in a statement this week it would bid for spectrum in partnership with small, black-owned information and communications technology (ICT) firms to “deepen empowerment”.

“To date, the sector has been largely dominated by established telecom operators,” Ayo said.

The company would also partner with multinational organisations in the bidding process. 

“Ayo’s management team will build a model that allows other smaller black ICT businesses to utilise such spectrum for the growth of their own businesses in line with the transformation objectives of the ICT industry,” it said.

The group said it would use some of the R4.3bn it had raised via the PIC when it listed in December to acquire spectrum “and to invest in forward-thinking businesses that will use the frequency of these licenses for digitalisation, data and content”.

Ayo chair Wallace Mgoqi said the company was building a data and artificial intelligence business. It would announce partnerships and investments “when the company is ready to do so”.

While its flagship deal to acquire 30% of British Telecommunications SA collapsed, the company has bought 51% equity of Sizwe Africa IT Group and has signed a fintech agreement with Vunani Capital.

In September, Ayo said the acquisition of Sizwe Africa IT, its first major deal since listing, would double its revenue.

The firm has struggled to finalise deals amid negative reports about its lofty listing valuation and its ties to the PIC.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za