Bharti Airtel sells 3,100 towers to Helios

09 July 2014 | Kavit Majithia


Bharti Airtel has announced a deal to sell 3,100 telecoms towers in four countries across Africa to Helios Towers.

Helios, backed by billionaire George Soros, will acquire 3,100 telecoms towers from Airtel and then lease the infrastructure back to the Indian company to be used as mobile services.

The agreement is valued at approximately $500 million, and Airtel’s move is designed to help it reduce debt and capital expenditure.

Airtel is reducing its assets in Africa, and its infrastructure auction could raise a total of $2 billion for the company.

Airtel acquired Zain’s African operations in 2010 and the company is following an increasing trend across the world of operators selling off their assets to help maintain large networks and develop new technologies.

Tower companies are equally keen to invest the infrastructure and develop a portfolio of network companies, and Helios’ agreement with Airtel expands its tower coverage in Africa to 7800.

“It is an important step towards the consolidation of tower assets across Africa that will drive industry wide cost efficiencies through network sharing,” said Manoj Kohli, chairman of Bharti Airtel International Netherland.

“The agreement will further help in accelerating the growth of telecom services in the continent and at the same time benefit the environment by avoiding duplication of infrastructure.”