Etisalat Nigeria has completed the transfer of 555 telecom towers to Africa’s IHS, the second tranche of a sale and leaseback deal announced last year.
The deal, for which no financial value was given, is part of Etisalat’s strategy to improve the quality of its network and to accelerate the roll-out of 2G, 3G and 4G coverage in Nigeria, Etisalat said in a statement.
Following the deal, IHS, the biggest tower company in Africa, will own and manage more than 15,500 of the installations in Nigeria and more than 23,100 in Africa as a whole.
Last August, Etisalat Nigeria signed a deal to sell 2,136 of its towers to privately-held IHS and lease them back as part of plans to expand its coverage in Africa’s biggest economy.
Mobile phone operators have been selling or leasing towers to specialist companies, to reduce building and maintenance, associated with security costs and electricity shortages, as revenue per user falls.
India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd said it will sell more than 4,800 mobile phone masts in Nigeria to American Tower Corp for $1.05 billion, as part of its plan to cut costs and pare debt.
By Pita Ochai