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Tower Talk: a guide to the latest major cell site developments

20 Sep 2016

Global asset management firm Brookfield is set to buy a majority stake in Reliance Infratel, the tower subsidiary of Reliance Communications (RCOM), the Economic Times writes. The two are reportedly involved in bilateral negotiations, having signed a non-binding agreement in July. RCOM is understood to be planning to retain a 20% to 25% share of the tower firm, in which it currently holds a 96% stake. Minority shareholders such as Quantum, NSR Partners, Galleon, HSBC Daisy Investment (Mauritius), Drawbridge Towers and Investment Partners B (Mauritius) are all expected to exit with the sale. RCOM subsequently revealed that it would accelerate the sale process, having finalised a merger agreement with rival cellco Aircel. Gurdeep Singh, a senior RCOM executive, was quoted as saying that, with the Aircel deal out of the way, the operator could now focus on deleveraging its tower and fibre assets.

Thai state-owned telco TOT has established a committee to pave the way for the creation of a new tower joint venture with Advanced Info Service (AIS). The Nation writes that TOT is aiming for the new venture to create a new source of revenue whilst also resolving a long running dispute with AIS over the ownership of towers utilised by AIS under a former concession with TOT. TOT’s proposal would see it form a JV with AIS, incorporating 5,000 TOT towers and the 13,000 disputed towers currently held by AIS. AIS would also hold a slightly higher stake in the JV than TOT.

Shareholders of Russian mobile provider MegaFon have agreed to spin off its tower assets into a new company, dubbed First Tower Company, with registered capital of RUB5 million (USD77,057). Commenting on the move, Telecom Daily quoted a senior MegaFon official as saying that the creation of a separate subsidiary for the tower business was ‘an important step’ that would allow the company to increase the efficiency of its infrastructure management.

Also in Russia, tower firm Service Telecom and St Petersburg’s Municipal Property Fund have signed an agreement to cooperate on the construction of mobile towers, with the former mulling investment of RUB1.7 billion in the project, Vedomosti reports. The number of towers installed will be dependent on demand from cellcos, a spokesperson for Service Telecom explained, adding that the provider works with all federal cellular providers and had secured a preliminary agreement with some for the St Petersburg area.

Cellnex Telecom has completed the acquisition of 230 towers from French mobile provider Bouygues Telecom. The deal represents investment of EUR80 million (USD89.34 million) and is the first tranche of a deal which could eventually see the towerco purchase an additional 170 sites from Bouygues by end-December 2016.

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France, India, Russia, Thailand, Advanced Info Service (AIS), Aircel, Bouygues Telecom, Cellnex Telecom, MegaFon, Reliance Communications (RCOM), Reliance Infratel (RITL), TOT

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