Africa & Middle East News

A roundup of tower news across SSA and MENA

KSA: Mobily tower sale slows

Having shortlisted bidders in August, multiple sources have suggested that KSA operator Mobily has slowed the timetable for the divestiture of ~9,200 towers, although the process has not been halted. Zain’s parallel process to sell their ~5,000 towers in KSA continues apace. Lebanon’s M1 Group and UAE-based Towershare are believed to be among the bidders.

Nigeria: IHS and Etisalat close second tranche of tower deal

Following on from the transfer of 2,136 towers from Etisalat to IHS in August 2014, IHS has completed the transfer of a second tranche of 555 towers from the UAE-owned MNO. This transaction means IHS will operate over 15,500 towers in the busy Nigerian market and over 23,100 towers on the African continent and allows Etisalat to focus on network performance and their 2G, 3G and 4G rollout in Nigeria.

Nigeria: Helios Towers Nigeria rebands to HTN Towers, partners with SWAP

Helios Towers Nigeria has announced a rebrand, including a name change to HTN Towers. In a press release, the company also announced its interest in an initial public offering (IPO) of its shares. HTN Towers hopes to leverage their portfolio of over 1,200 sites in Nigeria to become Africa’s ‘leader in providing best-in-class telecom infrastructure services’. In a bid to further their reach in the country, HTN Towers has also signed a Managed Services and Co-Location Agreement with SWAP Technologies, giving HTN Towers the rights to manage up to 702 of SWAP’s sites in 32 of 36 Nigerian regions.

Senegal: Market keen to introduce towercos

Sonatel and Expresso Telecom are believed to be seeking towerco partners in the 3,000+ tower Senegalese market.  Market leading Sonatel’s rumored SLB opportunity seems likely to become a managed services deal, but the company’s footprint across Senegal, Mali and the Guineas makes them an attractive counterpart. Expresso are believed to be seeking a BTS partner, while number two operator Millicom may also consider partnering with a towerco in Senegal.

South Africa: No confirmation of MTN SA tower sale

In a ‘no news news story’, there appears to have been no formal process commenced for the sale of MTN’s South African towers. TowerXchange has spoken to at least four credible would-be bidders interested in the assets, but rumor continues to suggest the opportunity may effectively be a ‘done deal’ given the close relationship between MTN and IHS.

Tanzania: Airtel’s cancelled tower transactions could yet come back to market

Airtel’s cancelled tower deals in Tanzania and DRC could yet come back to market, but not before the Indian MNO has concluded negotiations to sell their opcos in Burkina Faso, Chad, Sierra Leone and Congo B.

Zambia: IHS and Airtel close tower deal

IHS Africa has closed a deal with Airtel in Zambia for the sale and leaseback of 949 telecoms towers.  The deal, which was agreed in December 2014, is believed to cover a 10 year renewable period and will allow Airtel Africa to focus on its core business and customers.

Zimbabwe: Compulsory infrastructure sharing draws closer

POTRAZ, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, has issued draft requirements for compulsory infrastructure sharing, demanding that all operators submit existing sharing arrangements for approval within six months of implementation. POTRAZ also specifies that the quality of service offered to an ‘Infrastructure Seeker’ must be of the same standard as that enjoyed by the infrastructure owner themselves, and to do otherwise would be considered an offence

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