SSA News

A roundup of tower news across SSA

Regional: IPOs and M&A in the African tower industry

On 2 March, Helios Towers which owns a portfolio of over 6,500 sites across Tanzania, DRC, Ghana and Congo Brazzaville announced plans to list on the London Stock Exchange and Johannesburg Stock Exchange. On 15 March, announced that in spite of high interest from institutional investors they had decided to not proceed with the listing at this time. Speculation has arisen as to whether the company may merge with Eaton Towers who is also targeting an IPO. Further rumours have emerged as to whether American Tower may make an offer to acquire either party.

Regional: MTN eyes up monetisation of stake in IHS Towers

MTN CFO Ralph Mupita told reporters that its 29% stake in IHS Towers has been earmarked as an asset for sale, adding that it was not strategic to lock up so much capital. IHS Towers is expected to be gearing up for an IPO in the latter part of 2018 and should the share sale go ahead at an appropriate valuation, MTN may look to monetise its stake.

Angola: Offers starting for fourth mobile license

Offers for Angola’s telecoms license are expected in the coming weeks, with the license covering broadband, fixed line and pay-TV as well as mobile operations. The country currently has two MNOs; Unitel and Movitel with fixed line incumbent, Angola Telecom having been awarded a third license at the end of 2017. The government has been keen to increase competition in the market, with infrastructure sharing being pushed in order to reduce the required investment.

Kenya: Airtel and Telkom Kenya to merge? 

Rumours have circulated that Telkom Kenya may acquire Airtel’s Kenyan opco in a bid to create a stronger challenger to Safaricom which dominates the market with 75% market share. The reports suggest that Airtel and Telkom may look to share infrastructure. Airtel has previously sold its assets to Eaton Towers in the country with Telkom’s portfolio of 1000 sites currently up for sale. Eaton is widely expected to be the likely acquirer of such assets, but American Tower’s name has also been linked with the process.

Namibia: MTC announces plans to rollout 500+ rural towers

Namibia’s leading MNO, MTC has announced that it has plans to rollout 524 new towers in rural areas in a bid to improve coverage as part of the compay’s ‘081 Every1’ project. 40 contractors have been appointed for the project with 17 different companies selected for the supply, delivery and installation of the base stations.

Niger: Orange inks ESCO contract with Camusat’s Aktivco

Orange has signed its second ESCO contract in sub-Saharan Africa, reaching an agreement with Camusat’s Aktivco in Niger. Orange had previously signed a deal with Greenwish Partners in the DRC and has four further live tenders which it expects to award in the first half of 2018. The contract will mark Aktivco’s second ESCO contract, having signed a deal with Millicom in Chad in 2017.

Nigeria: Teleology pays US$50mn deposit for 9mobile

It has been reported that Teleology has paid a US$50mn deposit for 9mobile. Conflicting reports had emerged from Nigeria on who was the winning party in the bidding process, with both Smile Communications and Teleology Holdings being mooted. A statement from Teleology’s CEO, Adrian Wood (the former CEO of MTN Nigeria) announcing that the company expected to have paid off half of the loan due by 9mobile by the time that it was taken over, appears to have put speculation to rest.

Nigeria: MTN and Huawei complete deployment of rural solutions 

MTN and Huawei have completed the deployment of Huawei’s RuralStar 2.0 solution in remote and rural areas across Nigeria. The solution allows antenna to be deployed on 12m poles instead of the usual high towers and is said to reduce infrastructure construction costs by 70% 

Rwanda: Airtel’s acquisition of Tigo Rwanda approved by the regulator

The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority has approved the acquisition of Tigo Rwanda by Airtel. The acquisition will reduce the number of MNOs in the market from three to two, with Airtel Rwanda leapfrogging MTN to become the country’s largest player.

South Africa: Atlas Tower passes 500 tower mark in South Africa

The tower count of Atlas Tower, South Africa’s fastest growing towerco has surpassed the 500 site tower mark. Atlas has more than 550 additional tower sites in development in three African Countries and expects to reach 1000 towers in Africa by mid 2020

Zambia: Unitel acquires 4th MNO license 

MNO Unitel (which has operations in Angola, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde and Portugal) has been awarded Angola’s fourth mobile license. The operator joins Airtel, MTN and Zamtel in the country. Unitel has pledged to invest over US$350mn in the market.

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