Africa Online's new catch
By NATION Correspondent
Africa Online has extended its reach by acquiring MenaNet, Egypt's second
largest Internet service provider.

The $8.7 million (Sh678.6 million) acquisition gives the Pan-African
Internet service provider a foothold in North Africa and the Middle East.

The takeover of MenaNet adds to Africa Online's growing network, which
already covers Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland, Ghana
and Cote d'Ivoire.

Under the terms of the deal, MenaNet Communications will become a
fully-owned subsidiary of Africa Online. Consequently, services to the
Middle East and North Africa will be offered under the 'MenaNet' brand name,
while maintaining the Africa Online brand for services to sub-Saharan

In addition to traditional ISP access services, MenaNet has entered into a
joint venture with Nile Sat to provide Egypt's first readily available
broadband Internet infrastructure. Known as MenaSat, the service uses
NileSat satellite to deliver Internet access to North Africa and the Middle

With the acquisition of MenaNet, Africa Online's combined dial-up user base
has risen to more than 33,000 subscribers. The group also runs e-touch, a
programme that provides e-mail and Internet access to customers through a
network of more than 700 walk-in centres in urban and rural areas.

The company also recently announced the formation of a joint venture with
UUNET SA, a leading South African Internet firm to develop services across
14 countries in Africa.