South Africa-based telco group to fund broadband operator’s five-year fibre network deployment.

MTN this week struck a preliminary agreement to acquire 49% of Iran broadband network operator Iranian Net, in a deal worth $295 million.

The transaction will see South Africa-based MTN pay $40 million for the stake, and invest a further $240 million in the form of equity and loans that will fund the five-year rollout of Iranian Net’s fibre optic network.

"Iranian Net has a national licence for the construction and operation of an optical data transmission network and fibre optic access network across Iran," said MTN, in a statement on Monday. "This investment, should it be completed, represents an opportunity to capitalise on the continued strong growth expected in the Iranian broadband market."

This week’s agreement further expands MTN’s presence in Iran.

The telco already owns 49% of mobile operator MTN Irancell, which earlier this year invested in e-commerce company Iran Internet Group, which operates ride-hailing service

According to MTN’s latest quarterly update, published last week, Irancell saw data revenue increase by 76.6% year-on-year, which helped to drive a 19.3% increase in Irancell’s total revenue.

This story was updated at 10:10 on Wednesday 10 May to include a statement from MTN.