Having bought off the tower portfolios of Millicom (Tigo) in 2012 and a bigger part of Vodacom in 2014, Helios through its local subsidiary, Helios Towers Tanzania Limited, bought Zantel’s towers in 2015. It also has a stake in Barti Airtel’s towers in Africa bought in 2014.
After the latest Vodacom buy out, Helios has now over 3,700 towers in the country making it the second largest owners of such infrastructure after Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited, the state owned telecom.
In a statement, the company said the latest deal will expand its Africa tower coverage to over 4,700 in Ghana, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Former Chief Executive of Helios Africa, Chuck Green, said then that there were a number of deals in the pipeline, underscoring the interest among the region’s mobile operators to strike partnership agreements with companies such as Helios as well as rivals IHS and America Towers.
Green said that in total there was about 18,000 towers that could be acquired in the next year, representing deals valued at about $2bn.
Helios had adequate financial resource to cover the Tanzanian transaction, according to the group, and at least one other acquisition. The group has raised money through private equity groups in the past, although it could also consider raising money through a public listing in the future depending on the relative costs of capital to fund future deals.
HTA will be providing close to 2,700 points of service to Vodacom and affiliates across Africa when the deal is concluded.
The acquisitions made since 2012, reaffirms HTA’s commitment to drive increased infrastructure sharing, thereby reducing the costs incurred by mobile operators to deliver vital telecoms services that support economic growth, social development and job creation in local communities.
HTA’s decommissioning of the duplicate towers will also help to reduce the environmental impact of delivering telecoms services as well as improve operational efficiencies.
HTA has built a leading position in Tanzania, one of the largest and fastest growing telecommunications markets in Africa with 37 percent expected growth by 2020, the company said.
The acquisition, which has received regulatory approval from the Tanzanian authorities, highlights the economic benefits of a telecoms towers company working with multiple operators to combine multiple legacy networks.
The acquisition will enable HTT’s customers to enhance their network coverage and increase the quality of service provided to the end user, through the additional sites. It will also facilitate lower consumer prices, in addition to the better coverage, whilst reducing capital, maintenance and operating costs for mobile services providers.
Current HTA CEO, Kash Pandya said Helios Towers Africa is proud to announce the successful acquisition of Zantel’s mainland tower portfolio, which enables us to deliver expanded coverage and network capacity in an efficient and cost-effective way.
“The acquisition and the decommissioning of duplicate infrastructure will help operators meet growing consumer demand whist ensuring network expansion is done in a sustainable and responsible way,” Pandya noted.
Sherif El-Barbary, CEO of Zantel said also hailed the deal saying the sale of its mainland tower portfolio is part of a wide set of transformational initiatives that Zantel has carried out since its acquisition by Millicom group in 2015.
“With this sale and ongoing relationship with Helios Towers, Zantel will streamline its infrastructure costs and improve the overall efficiency of the market,” El-Barbary said.