Airtel divests African telecom tower assets to Eaton Towers

Bharti Airtel has divested 3,500 telecom towers to Eaton Towers in six countries across Africa, which it will lease back under a 10-year contract.

This agreement, which follows Airtel's and Eaton Towers' strategies to drive cost efficiencies through shared passive infrastructure, expands Eaton Towers' coverage in Africa to seven countries with over 5,000 towers, Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

The agreements will allow Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, enable it to deleverage through debt reduction, and will significantly reduce its on-going capital expenditure on passive infrastructure.

Airtel said in  statement, "We are the pioneers and strong proponents of telecoms infrastructure sharing, which results in industry-wide cost efficiencies."

Manoj Kohli, chairman, Bharti Airtel International Netherlands BV (BAIN), said, "The agreement with Eaton Towers is an extension of this philosophy and will lead to far superior utilisation of passive infrastructure and help drive the proliferation of affordable mobile services across Africa.''

For Eaton Towers, the acquisition is a step towards acquiring the scale it needs to provide shared telecoms infrastructure, with its customers benefiting from lower operating costs, expanded network coverage and capacity and improved quality of service.

The agreements are subject to statutory and regulatory approvals in the respective countries.

''This is a transformational deal which gives Eaton Towers the most diversified tower portfolio across Africa,'' said Alan Harper, CEO of Eaton Towers.