UAE-based Etisalat, which owns a 65% stake in mobile operator Zanzibar Telecommunication (Zantel), has reportedly appointed Deutsche Bank to lead the sale and outsourcing of the Tanzanian firm’s tower portfolio – including 711 towers in Zanzibar. If successful, TMTFinance says the sale could lead to Etisalat exploring similar deals across the rest of its tower portfolio in Africa. The UAE-based group previously hired Deutsche Bank to advise on a strategic review of its African Atlantique portfolio in late-2011.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in March this year Etisalat started the process of divesting its mobile towers in Tanzania and began accepting expressions of interest (EoI). Rumours have suggested that Helios Towers is the most likely buyer, given that it already owns infrastructure in Tanzania after acquiring 1,020 towers from Millicom’s Tigo Tanzania for USD80 million, in 2010. However, other suitors could emerge in the shape of ATC, Eaton Towers and IHS, all of which have been growing their tower portfolios across Africa in recent years.