Vodacom has secured a deal to purchase a 35% stake in XLink Communications, the largest South African provider of GPRS-based electronic funds transfer with immediate effect. XLink provides a managed service link between credit card devices and the respective banks, and is a leader in the wireless data communications industry.
According to Anton Leal, managing director of XLink, the deal with Vodacom Ventures will not only inject extra funds, growth and strength into the company to grow market share, and fast track X-Link's footprint into Africa, but will enable them to introduce new Vodacom data-based offerings for the retail sector, including the fuel market, hospitality and medical industries.
"The deal is geared to harness the existing infrastructure to launch more value added services at point of sale," adds Leal. "XLink will retain its name, as well as its entrepreneurial independence and key management and staff."
Since the company's inception in 2003, XLink has established itself as a leader in the fixed wireless data services market. The company is regarded as the pioneer of providing an EFT data communication solution and today boasts the largest installed base of GPRS devices in the South African market, supplying a data communication interface to more than 13 000 merchants across South Africa.
As the whole of Africa moves towards card-based transactions, XLink's market is growing at approximately 45% per annum.
Tlhabeli Ralebitso, managing director of Vodacom Ventures, added that as data services make up an increasingly important part of Vodacom's revenue, the growing take-up of services as offered by XLink is seen as a prime way to increase the group's revenue and profits in the future.
"We look forward to increasing our reach in the wireless data communications industry."