IHS, Airtel Finalise Tower Takeover Deal

20 Feb 2015

UK-based mobile telecommunications infrastructure provider IHS Holdings has finalised an acquisition deal of Airtel Rwanda’s 200 towers countrywide, and will take over the management of the infrastructure, effective this month. The outsourcing deal will allow Airtel to focus on its core business, and reduce capital expenditure on its passive infrastructure. Teddy Bhullar, managing director at Airtel Rwanda, said: ‘IHS has a proven track record in passive infrastructure management in Rwanda and Africa … The takeover will benefit customers in terms of wider network coverage and more affordable tariffs.’ The acquisition will also reduce the firm’s operational costs and accelerate rollouts, as well as enhance network capacity.

Meanwhile, IHS Rwanda’s managing director Kunle Iluyemi told The New Times that his company is planning to build more towers in the country and upgrade the existing ones. ‘Our investment in towers eases capital pressure on operators because they channel investment to other areas which ensures improved quality’, the executive added. According to Iluyemi, the firm erected 34 towers across the country in 2014, with plans to build further 50 towers in 2015.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in March 2014 IHS acquired 719 MTN towers in Rwanda for an undisclosed sum; as per the agreement, IHS will acquire and operate the towers and related passive infrastructure, with MTN Rwanda becoming the anchor tenant on the towers. TeleGeography notes that IHS manages over 21,000 towers in five African countries – Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia and Rwanda.