Why and how Airtel sold their African towers
Christian De Faria, CEO of Airtel Africa, heralds the maturation of African telecoms toward a new era of infrastructure sharing
Christian De Faria joined Airtel in September 2013 as CEO of their African Operations, having previously been Group CCO for MTN. Christian’s first exposure to tower outsourcing came while serving as VP of West and Central Africa for MTN, where he was part of the decision making unit which established the valuation and operational issues around selling towers, eventually resulting in the divestiture of MTN’s Ghanaian towers into a joint venture with American Tower. Prior to joining MTN, Christian served as CEO of Telekom Malaysia and held senior financial positions with Deutsche Telecom and Grundig.
TowerXchange: What motivated Airtel to initially establish your own towerco, Africa Towers, but then ultimately why was the decision taken divest most of Airtel’s African towers to independent towercos?
Christian De Faria, Managing Director & CEO, Airtel Africa:
The idea of hiving off our passive infrastructure into a separate entity created by Airtel and run by passive infrastructure experts was in line with our corporate strategy, emulating what we had done in India with the successful creation of Bharti Infratel.