Jazz Might Invest in Local Startups: Aamir Ibrahim

Jazz could be buying out startups, completely or maybe partially, during days to come, said Aamir Ibrahim, CEO of Jazz in an exclusive interview with ProPakistani.

Jazz has been investing heavily in startups through jazz xlr8 — a startup accelerator program  — as it aims to create a platform where startups could go to the next level.

“At some stage, we might look to partner with startups or buy equity in them if they are well aligned with our core business”, said Aamir Ibrahim.

He said that startups, by nature, are more innovative and productive as compared to larger companies. “Startups come up with ideas that could change the world and through Jazz Xcelerate, we are just trying to help such startups realize their big ideas”, said Aamir Ibrahim.

Jazz just raised over $940 million in cash through the sale of its tower-business. Aamir said that his company will be using this money to invest else where, particularly in spectrum and fiber.

“If we come across the right startup, we will go ahead and buy equity in them”, he commented.

Jazz will enter into a service agreement for the 13,000 towers it sold under a 12-year agreement. In return, Jazz will receive $666 million in cash once the transaction closes, with an additional $94 million within 12 months of the transaction.

The remaining $180 million of the sales price is expected to be a vendor loan payable to Jazz three years from closing.

While explaining the dynamics of tower-business sell out, Aamir said that Jazz will now have a chance to focus more on telecom services as towers will be managed, maintained and operated by the new owner.

It must be mentioned here that Jazz’s sell out of tower business is second largest deal — after PTCL-Etisalat — in dollar value in Pakistan.

Aamir said that network integration is being done and customers are getting amazing data speeds where the work has been completed. He confirmed that country wide Jazz customers are going to get optimized data experience after network integration will be completed.

Aamir said that his company is also open to investing in fiber business. “We are always looking at options that are integral to our business”, he said.

He explained that with growing data demands on 4G and beyond, mainly due to better HD quality phones, video streaming etc., operators will need end-to-end fiber for towers to meet the user requirements.

“In such situations, fiber becomes very important part for even wireless companies like us”, said Aamir Ibrahim.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK