Tower Talk: a guide to the latest major cell site developments

29 Aug 2017

Helios Towers Tanzania (HTT), part of Helios Towers Africa, has confirmed that it has reached an agreement with Zanzibar Telecom (Zantel) to acquire all of the unique sites of the operator’s mainland tower portfolio for an undisclosed price. Following the acquisition, which has already been greenlit by the Tanzanian authorities, HTT will own around 3,700 towers in the country (HTT currently claims to operate around 3,510 towers). Under a separate deal, HTT will also work with Zantel to decommission duplicate towers. Commenting on the takeover, Helios Towers Africa CEO said that the purchase: ‘enables us to deliver expanded coverage and network capacity in an efficient and cost-effective way. The acquisition and the decommissioning of duplicate infrastructure will help operators meet growing consumer demand whist ensuring network expansion is done in a sustainable and responsible way.’

In Indonesia, private equity firms Carlyle and Southern Capital Group have reportedly hired an adviser to find a buyer for their combined stake of nearly 69% in Solusi Tunas Pratama (STP), the country’s third-largest independent tower company by tower sites, Reuters writes, citing three people familiar with the process. The tower firm currently has a market value of around IDR7.4 trillion (USD553 million), but the sale could value the company at nearly twice that figure at USD1 billion. At present, Carlyle-owned companies hold a 25.5% stake in the provider, whilst Southern Capital’s local units own 43.2% of STP. First round bids for the operator are due by the end of the month, the sources noted, whilst Profesional Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Protelindo), Tower Bersama and PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia were all considered to be in the running for STP.

In an interview with the Khmer Times, edotco Cambodia’s managing director, Phillip Wong, revealed that the Malaysian-owned infrastructure provider is planning to deploy 600 towers over the next three years, supporting the government’s 2020 ICT ‘Connectedness and Readiness’ policy. edotco currently owns and operates 2,100 towers and manages a further 1,000, but is looking to boost its tower portfolio to 2,500 by December 2017 and aims to build another 200 sites by the end of 2018.

India’s largest tower firm, Indus Towers, has announced plans to invest INR3.5 billion (USD55 million) during the current fiscal year (ending 31 March 2018) to reduce its energy consumption at towers sites. The company is planning to convert 50% of its sites from diesel-power to green sites with a view to being diesel-free within around four to six years, the Economic Times quotes CEO Bimal Dayal as saying.

In a similar move, renewable energy firm GreenWish has outlined plans to invest USD800 million in solar-powered tower sites across Africa. The Mauritius-based group has initially partnered with France’s Orange Group to upgrade 250 towers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but is targeting 3,000 towers by 2018 and 10,000 by 2020, Tech Central writes, citing CEO Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian.

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