Airtel divests 3,500 African towers to Eaton Towers

Bharti Airtel, a leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa and Eaton Towers, a leading independent telecoms tower company in Africa, today announced an agreement to divest over 3,500 telecom towers from Airtel to Eaton Towers.

Airtel to sell and lease back over 3,500 towers to Eaton in 6 countries across its African operations under a 10-year contract. This will help Eaton Towers’ to expand its coverage in 7 countries in Africa with over 5,000 towers. This will help in driving cost efficiencies throughout the industry via the use of shared passive infrastructure.

The agreements 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.

For Eaton Towers, the acquisition is a major step towards the scale needed to provide shared telecoms infrastructure solutions, with its customers benefiting from lower operating costs, expanded network coverage and capacity and improved quality of service.

Commenting on the development, Manoj Kohli, chairman, Bharti Airtel International Netherlands said, “We are delighted to announce this agreement, which represents the next phase of Airtel’s growth journey in Africa. We are the pioneers and strong proponents of telecoms infrastructure sharing, which results in industry-wide cost efficiencies. The agreement with Eaton Towers is an extension of this philosophy and will lead to far superior utilisation of passive infrastructure and help drive the proliferation of affordable mobile services across Africa.”

Alan Harper, CEO, Eaton Towers said,  “This is a transformational deal which gives Eaton Towers the most diversified tower portfolio across Africa. We are proud to be chosen by Airtel as their key partner in these 6 countries.”

The agreements are subject to statutory and regulatory approvals in the respective countries.

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