Bharti Airtel sells African towers to IHS
India’s Bharti Airtel, via its subsidiary Bharti Airtel International, has sold more than 1,100 telecoms towers in Zambia and Rwanda to IHS Holding.
In the latest example of a trend sweeping the African continent, Airtel sold the towers for an estimated $180-200 million in a bid to reduce debt.
The 10-year renewable contract will see Airtel lease back the towers from IHS. As well as debt reduction, Airtel hopes the deal will allow for an increased focus on its core business and customers, and a reduction in its capex on passive infrastructure in Zambia and Rwanda.
“We are delighted to partner with IHS, which has a proven track record in passive infrastructure management in Africa, and we look forward to working with them,” said Christian de Faria, MD and CEO of Africa at Bharti Airtel.
“This agreement will accelerate infrastructure sharing amongst operators and benefit customers in the form of affordable tariffs and wider network coverage.”
The agreement extends IHS’ tower footprint to more than 21,000 towers across five countries, and IHS customers will benefit from lower operating costs, expanded network coverage and accelerated network roll-out times.
“The opportunity to expand our east African business bringing IHS’ market leading energy and infrastructure management practices to a wider market is an excellent opportunity,” said Issam Darwish, EVP and group CEO at IHS.
“We are very excited that following this deal more mobile phone users will benefit from the efficiencies and increased network uptimes that will result.”
In September this year, South Africa’s MTN partnered with IHS for the operation and management of its 9,151 transmitter towers in Nigeria.