In a move to cut down its operational costs, Airtel has agreed to sell and lease back over 3500 towers to Eaton in 6 countries across its African operations under a 10-year contract. This will expand Eaton Towers’ coverage in Africa to 7 countries with over 5000 towers.
According to Manoj Kohli, Chairman, Bharti Airtel International Netherlands BV (BAIN), “We are delighted to announce this agreement, which represents the next phase of Airtel’s growth journey in Africa. We are the pioneers and strong proponents of telecoms infrastructure sharing, which results in industry-wide cost efficiencies. The agreement with Eaton Towers is an extension of this philosophy and will lead to far superior utilisation of passive infrastructure and help drive the proliferation of affordable mobile services across Africa.”
The agreements will allow Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, enable it to deleverage through debt reduction, and will significantly reduce its on-going capital expenditure on passive infrastructure.
For Eaton Towers, the acquisition is a major step towards the scale needed to provide shared telecoms infrastructure solutions, with its customers benefiting from lower operating costs, expanded network coverage and capacity and improved quality of service.
The agreements are subject to statutory and regulatory approvals in the respective countries.
Alan Harper, CEO of Eaton Towers added: “This is a transformational deal which gives Eaton Towers the most diversified tower portfolio across Africa. We are proud to be chosen by Airtel as their key partner in these 6 countries.”