MENA news

A roundup of tower news across MENA

Afghanistan, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen: MTN to exit ‘conflict markets’?

MTN CEO, Rob Shuter hinted in the MNO’s 2017 results presentation that MTN may look to exit markets which are not “self-funding”. The most likely markets to come under review are Afghanistan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Bahrain: Regulator outlines new framework to promote tower sharing

Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has outlined a new regulatory framework to encourage passive infrastructure sharing in the Kingdom. The government was previously reported to be looking to rationalise the country’s 1500 sites down to a core network of 400, addressing environmental and aesthetic concerns raised by the towers. The TRA is now developing an automated system through which to process applications for new towers.

Egypt: Vodafone to provide Telecom Egypt with transmission and infrastructure services

As Egypt’s newest MNO, Telecom Egypt has reached a wholesale agreement with Vodafone to utilise its transmission and infrastructure services for a three year period.

Iraq: Major investment in telecommunications to begin

On 14 February, international investors and donors gathering for a summit in Kuwait pledged $30bn towards rebuilding Iraq’s economy and infrastructure with telecommunications a key component of the work ahead. An estimated 25% of Iraq’s towers sustained damage as a result of three years of conflict and major investment is required to rebuild and expand the country’s networks.

Kuwait: Zain tower sale expected to complete in April 2018

Zain’s sale of its 1,600 Kuwaiti towers to IHS Towers is expected to complete in April of this year. When completed, the deal will mark the Middle East’s first tower transaction of scale. Zain Group has also reached an agreement to sell their Saudi Arabian towers to IHS Towers, although the transaction is still awaiting clearance from the regulator.

Qatar: Vodafone completes sale of Qatari opco 

Vodafone Group has completed the sale of Vodafone Qatar to Qatar Foundation. Qatar Foundation acquired the 51% stake for US$367mn.

Tunisia: Speculation on potential tower sale as Abraaj Investment Fund acquires stake in Tunisie Telecom

Abraaj Group’s acquisition of a 35% stake in Tunisie Telecom from Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT), for a reported US$300mn, is expected to close in mid-February. Once the transaction is completed Tunisie Telecom are reportedly considering the sale of their portfolio of c. 2000 towers in a bid to raise capital.

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