Since 2010, IFC has committed and mobilized over $9 billion for TMT projects.
IFC is a leader in the Telecoms, Media, and Technology (TMT) sector in emerging markets. Since 2010, IFC has committed and mobilized over $9 billion for TMT projects, including $2 billion in FY23 alone.
We support mobile network operators, particularly those in challenging and less developed markets where the digital divide is the biggest. We also finance digital infrastructure with a focus on shared infrastructure models such as carrier-neutral, open-access broadband networks, independent tower companies and data centers. These models are examples of the most cost-effective, competition-enabling, and environmentally conscious solutions to the challenge of providing high-quality, affordable connectivity, a foundation of the digital economy. In the last year, IFC has built expertise in two new verticals – media and infratech. In the media sector, IFC supports content production and distribution, and creative digital technologies. In infratech, IFC is exploring opportunities in next-generation digital networks, including those involving IoT and AI-enabled business models as well as satellites and low-carbon and energy-efficient solutions for the telecom sector.
IFC offers a broad range of financing products, including senior and subordinated debt, mezzanine, equity, mobilization of capital from other investors, and sustainability-labelled financing products such as green, social, and sustainability-linked financing (SLF).
IFC’s priorities in Telecoms, Media and Technology:
Mobile Network Operators
The mobile industry drives innovation and takes critical services such as health care, education, and disaster recovery to underserved, remote areas. It also enhances the delivery of services provided by other industries.
The large proportion of the population still uncovered by mobile networks is predominantly rural, with low income and high level of illiteracy. Mobile operators as well as governments and regulators have a critical role to play in addressing these barriers and improving the reach and affordability of mobile services.
IFC has established long-term partnerships with all major mobile operators globally. We support these companies as they expand networks and upgrade services to reach all geographic areas and population groups, especially in challenging operating environments such as frontier and post-conflict areas.
In countries where the capital market is not fully developed, we offer customized financing solutions that address funding needs and other associated transaction risks. We also have the ability to raise additional financing from other investors, acting as a catalyst in markets that are usually perceived as too risky.
Broadband development supports all sectors, enhancing economic performance and helping to create high-skilled jobs. Improved broadband connectivity can facilitate economic integration and boost the standard of living. Increased broadband internet access is an important precondition for reducing the digital divide between emerging markets and the rest of the world.
IFC is a leading development financier in the broadband industry. IFC offers comprehensive support for the broadband ecosystem within emerging markets. We focus on wholesale and retail broadband connectivity projects that generate substantial development impact:
- In wholesale broadband, we support national and regional backbone networks, backhaul networks, and urban rings. These networks are increasingly making use of fiber optic technologies, which offer greater capacity and better service quality than wireless and cable networks. We also invest in satellite and microwave backhaul technologies, often the only choice for connecting remote rural areas and small islands. We advocate for open-access broadband networks, as such networks promote competition between different providers and result in lower prices and better services for consumers.
- In retail broadband, we engage with fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband providers in high-density urban areas and business districts. We also work with last-mile connectivity providers that deploy fixed wireless or fourth-generation mobile (4G) network technologies. These companies can provide affordable services in less densely populated areas and frontier markets.
When telecom tower infrastructure is shared by several operators and professionally managed by independent tower companies, it can be optimally deployed and allocated. Tower sharing facilitates competition, eases market entry for new players, and reduces the environmental footprint of the telecom industry. Tower construction and maintenance require substantial capital. Taking these expenses off telecom operators’ balance sheets frees up resources to upgrade networks with new technologies, expand to new areas, and improve product offerings for all types of customers.
In the last decade, the tower-sharing concept has expanded across developing economies. IFC has supported several strong players in the industry – including Helios Towers and IHS Towers, two companies which have since held successful IPOs.
Thanks to rapidly growing data consumption and rising demands for enterprise information technology (IT) services, data centers have become vital components of the modern connectivity ecosystem. The data center industry has been transforming from purely co-location models to cloud-based and edge connectivity platforms. This transition helps ensure seamless, fast, reliable data services to hyperscalers, corporates, as well as smaller businesses and public institutions.
IFC recognizes the revolutionary role of data centers in supporting digital connectivity in emerging markets. We have been active in the sector particularly in recent years, having successfully closed several transactions in Africa and Latin America regions. Our strategy is to partner with experienced global and regional investors and continue to study new markets to gauge investment opportunities.