MTN has reached an agreement with IHS Holding for the transfer of up to 9,151 of its mobile network towers in Nigeria. The transaction is expected to reduce MTN Nigeria’s operating costs, drive network efficiencies and further expand the cellco’s voice and data capacity. ‘We are delighted to have entered into a further transfer transaction with IHS, in our largest African market,’ commented Sifiso Dabengwa, president and CEO of MTN Group, adding: ‘IHS’ deep knowledge and considerable experience in the sector will help drive efficiencies and enhance our network uptime, allowing us to concentrate on further raising our own service levels, improving the customer experience and ensuring we remain the number one operator in Nigeria.’
Under the terms of the transaction and subject to requisite regulatory approvals, the towers will be transferred to a new company which will be owned jointly by MTN and IHS, with the latter having full operational control of the underlying business. The new tower company will market independent infrastructure sharing services to other mobile operators and internet service providers (ISPs) in Nigeria. It has committed more than USD500 million of additional investment over four years into tower upgrades and a maintenance programme to improve quality of service and enhance the customer experience on the MTN Nigeria network. The transaction is expected to close in Q4 2014.