Boston-based wireless communication site operator American Tower Corp has agreed to buy 3,200 cell towers from Cell C, South Africa’s third-largest cellco by subscribers. American Tower will buy 1,400 of Cell C’s existing towers and as many as 1,800 additional towers that are already under construction, or mooted for future development. Johannesburg-based Cell C will be the ‘anchor tenant’ for each tower. The sale is expected to pave the way for a more competitive wireless market, as it will allow smaller players to lease access to the national tower network at competitive rates. The transaction, which is worth a reported USD430 million, is expected to close in early 2011.
American Tower CEO Jim Taiclet commented: ‘We are pleased to announce the launch of our operations in South Africa, as well as the opportunity to work with Cell C. We believe South Africa provides a compelling investment opportunity for us, with strong demand for voice and advanced wireless data services. In addition, our newly established presence in South Africa will provide us with a platform for our future growth in the region’. Lars Reichelt, Cell C CEO, added: ‘This is an important strategic transaction for Cell C, allowing us to realize the value embedded in our passive infrastructure, which has undergone a significant transformation over the past few years. We believe our relationship with American Tower will enable us to further enhance the quality and coverage of our network’. American Tower currently owns and operates approximately 33,000 communications sites in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Mexico and Peru.