France Telecom (FT) subsidiary Orange Uganda has signed a 15 year leaseback deal with African towerco, Eaton Towers. Orange has agreed to sell its passive infrastructure and assets to Eaton for an undisclosed amount, outsourcing management, maintenance and network expansion to the towerco. The deal will help Orange, the second smallest cellco by subscribers in the Ugandan market of six operators, to reduce CAPEX and OPEX and allow it focus on services. The agreement is the first of its kind signed by FT and in Africa, and will be used to gauge the effectiveness of the initiative. Should it prove successful, the strategy will be rolled out across FT’s other African subsidiaries.
Philippe Luxcey, CEO of Orange Uganda said in the press release: ‘The partnership will enable us to expand our network and develop new multimedia services, in particular in rural areas, helping us achieve our ambition to provide the Ugandan population with the best network coverage and high-quality services. Through this agreement, we will be able to reduce our operational costs and, at the same time, prevent the proliferation of masts thereby reducing the environmental and visual impact of our network, especially in urban and ecologically-sensitive areas.’