Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have signed separate agreements to sell their standalone telecom tower operations, comprising around 20,000 sites, to American Tower Corporation (ATC) for a combined total of roughly INR78.5 billion (USD1.2 billion). The two cellcos – India’s second and third largest wireless providers by subscribers – are in the process of merging and are currently awaiting approvals from several authorities. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the duo noted in their initial announcement regarding their proposed merger that they would looks to sell off their tower assets prior to the completion of the transaction. The tower sale is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018. A joint statement from Vodafone and Idea also noted that, post-merger, around 6,300 co-located tenancies of the two operators on the combined standalone tower businesses will collapse into single tenancies over a two-year period, without the payment of exit penalties.
Idea Cellular also reported total revenue of INR74.7 billion for the three months period ended 30 September 2017, down from INR81.7 billion in the preceding quarter and INR93.0 billion in the year-ago period. EBITDA almost halved year-on-year to INR15.0 billion from INR28.4 billion, whilst net earnings for the quarter fell from a profit of INR43 million at end-September 2016 to net a loss of INR11.8 billion in the period under review.