Bharti Airtel has sold over 3,100 telecoms tower assets to Helios Towers Africa, an independent telecoms towers company in Africa.
The approximately 3,100 towers sold to HTA are in four countries across Airtel’s African operations and are expeted to expand HTA’s tower coverage in Africa to over 7,800 owned towers and also help Airtel deleverage through debt reduction and reduced ongoing capital expenditure.
HTA and Airtel’s move aims drive cost efficiencies throughout the industry, promote passive infrastructure and to mitigate against the proliferation of towers. Airtel will the towers from HTA on lease tower operations-related personnel will be transferred from Airtel to HTA.
According to Manoj Kohli, Chairman, Bharti Airtel International Netherlands BV (BAIN), “The agreement is another milestone in Airtel’s growth journey in Africa. Airtel pioneered the concept of a separate tower entity to promote infrastructure sharing in India and this agreement is a continuation of that philosophy. It is an important step towards the consolidation of tower assets across Africa that will drive industry-wide cost efficiencies through infrastructure sharing. 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.”
Apart from cutting its costs and paying its debts, Airtel will primarily focus on its core business and customers while HTA will infrastructure sharing, expand network coverage and capacity to meet demand and improve quality of service.
“HTA is proud to be chosen by Airtel as its partner for the ownership and management of its existing infrastructure,” said Chuck Green, Chief Executive Officer of HTA. “This is a ground-breaking move for HTA and Airtel’s decision is a significant endorsement of HTA’s reputation, management team and operating track record.”
Launched in 2009, with operations in Ghana, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, HTA will own over 7,800 towers and will be the largest number held by an independent company focused exclusively on Africa.