India’s Bharti Airtel has inked a deal which will see it divest 1,100 telecoms towers in Rwanda and Zambia to IHS Holdings. As per the deal Airtel will sell and lease back towers in both countries under a ten-year renewable contract, with the deal reportedly expanding IHS’ African tower footprint to more than 21,000 towers across five countries.
It has been claimed that the development 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 in these African markets’. For IHS, meanwhile, the acquisition represents what it termed ‘another major step towards the scale needed to provide shared telecoms infrastructure solutions in Africa’.
While the agreements are still subject to statutory and regulatory approvals, Christian de Faria, managing director and CEO for Bharti Airtel in Africa said of the development: ‘We are delighted to partner with IHS, which has a proven track record in passive infrastructure management in Africa and look forward to working with them. This agreement will accelerate infrastructure sharing amongst operators and benefit customers in form of affordable tariffs and wider network coverage.’